Metro Pacific falls after P8.6-B share sale

Reuters

Posted at Jul 08 2011 11:48 AM | Updated as of Jul 08 2011 07:48 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Metro Pacific Investments Corp., the Philippine flagship of Hong Kong's First Pacific Co. Ltd., fell as much as 6.6% in early trade on Friday after it announced a share sale of P8.64 billion via private placement.

The placement by existing and new investors, aimed at raising funds for more infrastructure investments, was priced at P3.60 apiece, lower than its close at P3.79 on Thursday and a two-month high of P3.89 hit on Tuesday.

The company said the placement, managed by CLSA Ltd. and J.P. Morgan Securities Ltd., was priced at a premium of 1.1% to its 30-day volume weighted average share price as of Thursday.

It sold 2.4 billion shares to investors in Asia, Europe and the United States. Based on the company's prospectus, its major shareholder Metro Pacific Holdings Inc, a firm indirectly owned by First Pacific, was to buy more than half of the shares on offer.

Trading in Metro Pacific was suspended for 30 minutes on Friday to allow investors time to digest news on the private placement. It immediately fell after the suspension was lifted, and later pared its losses to P3.63, down 4.2% at mid-session. The broader market gained 0.4%.

Metro Pacific said in a statement it would use the proceeds primarily in its toll road businesses in the Philippines. It has submitted an unsolicited bid to the government for a project connecting the two main expressways linking the capital to northern and southern provinces.

"This undertaking prepares us for the planned expansion of our toll roads businesses that will bring us closer to realizing our vision of connecting the North Expressway to the South into one seamless highway," Metro Pacific president and CEO Jose Ma. Lim said.

The company is also looking to get state contracts for the development of road and rail networks and airports across the country which the government wants to pursue under a public-private partnership scheme.