Manila Water extends losses on non-extension of supply agreement

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 12 2019 12:15 PM | Updated as of Dec 12 2019 12:56 PM

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MANILA -- Manila Water shares fell for the 8th straight day on Thursday, after regulators revoked the extension of its agreement with government to supply water to the Philippine capital's east zone.

The Ayala-led utility fell by as much as 7.9 percent, its longest losing streak since February 2014, according to Bloomberg. Parent Ayala Corp fell 1.6 percent.

Metro Pacific, which controls Maynilad Water Services Inc, recovered from a 4.1-percent fall, rising 1.9 percent. The extension of Maynilad's concession for Metro Manila's west zone was also revoked.

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System revoked its earlier decision extending the concessions of the two firms after President Rodrigo Duterte publicly criticized the terms of the deal.

The President said the public was being "milked by billions" after a Singapore-based arbitration court said Manila should compensate the two utilities by a total P10.8 billion over denied rate hike petitions. Both companies dropped the compensation claims.

One of the lawmakers who investigated the water concessions, Deputy Speaker Prospero Pichay, said Maynilad and Manila Water now have a window to renegotiate their concession agreements.

A longer concession period will help reduce water rates by as much as 50 percent, said Deputy Speaker Prospero Pichay. The concessions of Manila Water Co and Maynilad Water Services Inc will expire in 2022.

"The scrapping of the extension to 2022 is for them to renegotiate. And now is their chance to renegotiate with the end view of lowering the rates and assuring the people of enough supply of water," told ANC's Headstart.

"We don't want to go back to the 1995 situation wherein there will be a crisis. But of course we have to regulate really the rates. What is important is we have low rates and safe and potable water available anytime," he said.