MANILA - Metro Pacific Investments Corp Chairman, President and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan playfully said goodbye to the media Wednesday during the first press conference of the company since it announced a voluntary delisting.
"We will be missing you," he said.
The voluntary delisting will relieve MPI of all of the reportorial requirements that come with being public, such as strict disclosure rules and close scrutiny by the media and the investing public.
But Pangilinan also hinted at another reason for pushing the company to exit the stock exchange.
"I'm also getting frankly quite tired of being 'Pangilinan-led' that sort of thing. I want to be identified as an owner as well," said Pangilinan.
The move to delist has also been criticized by some, particularly the tender offer made to facilitate the buyout of minority shareholders. Many analysts have said that while the tender offer of P4.63 per share might be better than the company’s recent stock price quotes, it is well below the true value of the company. Some value the company at double the tender offer price.
But Pangilinan said this is precisely why they are taking the company private.
"Wala naman nangyayari sa share price-- P3.80, 4, 4.10, wala eh. Why are we a public company if we can't raise public money. Diba?," Pangilinan said.
"Your only recourse is to go private or borrow money or sell some of your assets or demand dividends from your investing companies. In this case, you cannot grow."
Metro Pacific said parts of the conglomerate may yet go public. Maynilad’s franchise as a water service provider requires it to go public with a float of at least 30 percent of its outstanding capital stock. IPOs for MPI’s other businesses however still need to be studied.
The consortium that issued a tender offer includes Metro Pacific Holdings Inc, GT Capital Holdings Inc, Mit-Pacific Infrastructure Holdings Inc and MIG Holdings Inc who partnered with Japanese firm Mitsui. They will all end up with a larger share of the business depending on how the tender offer goes. Pangilinan shares there are others who are interested in having a stake in MPI.
“Maraming nanliligaw before, we check compatability, chemistry. You can be wrong in marrying somebody.”
In spite of shying away from scrutiny, Pangilinan said privatization does not mean the firm will drop its goal of “developing a proper infra company.”
“It gives us a chance to do things behind the curtain that we may not be able to do if we were public."
The delisting and privatization of MPIC will still have to go through a process, and the tender offer will start this month and run until June.
MPIC has a stake in various businesses like Meralco, Maynilad, tollways, hospitals, agriculture and more.