'Metro Pacific not keen on buying Ayala LRT stake until Halalan 2022 winner seen'

Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 04 2022 08:23 PM

MANILA - Metro Pacific Investments Corp is holding off on a possible buyout of the Ayala Group's stake in LRT-1 while waiting for the results of Halalan 2022, its top official said on Wednesday. 

MPIC chairman and president Manny Pangilinan also said the conglomerate's plans will depend on who will win the presidency next week. 

There were talks that Ayala was willing to divest its share in LRT-1. But Pangilinan said, MPIC, which is a shareholder of LRT 1, has no plans yet to expand its shares for now.

"We're looking at it. A great deal of it would depend on the outcome of the elections because we need to understand what the new president might do with respect to LRT 1 because we have pending applications for tariff adjustments," Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan said, some of their plans may be put on hold for now as they wanted to know first who will be the next president and what will be his or her economic plans.

This is also his response when asked if MPIC will invest in airports, particularly in Sangley.

"I think we would probably make a more serious assessment of what the likely direction would be once we see it, this particular individual who will be the next president of the country," he said.

But one thing he is looking for in the next administration is how it will treat the private sector. 

"Does government really consider the private sector as a useful partner in economic development?"

Pangilinan said he hopes that government will really help the private sector. For Public-Private Partnership, for example, the private sector is shelling out a huge amount of money, it also needs to earn money, he said.

"If you use private sector money, that money is entrusted to a corporation like us by shareholders and we have to earn money, funds that have been entrusted to us. We have to earn something for that."

Though Pangilinan didn't give details or cited any examples, he said that government must practice what they say in terms of helping the private sector. 

He added, they will abide by policies if the government said one can't invest in a particular industry, but if the government allows investment in such, then businesses who want to invest must also get adequate returns on their investment. 

MPIC has been involved in many PPP projects including the P32 billion Cebu Cordova Link Expressway, which opened just last week. MPIC also has interests in toll roads, and hospitals, as well as in Meralco and Maynilad.

Maynilad was earlier threatened with a "military takeover" by President Rodrigo Duterte during a water shortage in 2019 partly caused by the El Niño phenomenon. 


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