MPIC to keep 30% stake in property unit

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 20 2009 07:25 PM | Updated as of Feb 21 2009 03:29 AM

Publicly listed Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) has decided to stay in the real estate business by keeping a 30 percent stake in Landco Pacific Corp.

During a special stockholders meeting on Friday, MPIC shareholders approved the sale of only 21 percent of Landco to partner AB Holdings Corp., which currently owns 49 percent of the property firm.

MPIC earlier wanted to dispose of its entire 51 percent Landco stake to formally leave the real estate business and focus on infrastructure, utilities and healthcare.

In an interview, however, MPIC chairman Manual Pangilinan said they just decided to give control over the property firm to their partners and retain a minority stake since this would still allow them to concentrate on their other businesses.

As part of the new deal, AB Holdings will buy P230 million worth of assets from Landco through the settlement of P63 million in receivables and a promissory note of P167 million. On the other hand, Landco will partially settle a loan from MPIC worth P368 million.

Landco president Alfred Xerez-Burgos Jr. said: "We are confident of Landco's viability," adding that “our various prospects, including our joint ventures with MPIC, will continue as planned."

While many companies are anticipating challenges in 2009, Xerez-Burgos noted, "we are quite optimistic that our product portfolio can address the needs of the market.  Landco's financial standing has weathered much greater challenges like the Asian currency crisis, and we are confident that the company will stay on a path for steady growth."