First Pacific raises P21.9B in equity

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The Hong Kong-based investment holding firm headed by businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan completed a fresh round of equity fundraising valued at HK$3.89 billion, about P21.9 billion, to partly finance its expansion plans in the region, a filing yesterday showed.

The added cash gave First Pacific Co. Ltd, which is controlled by Indonesia’s Salim family, additional firepower as it seeks to corner deals in emerging economies being considered by Filipino and global investors alike.

First Pacific, a major stockholder of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., announced yesterday the results of a rights issue involving 480.19 million shares at HK$8.10 a share.

The share offer, announced in May, saw healthy demand with subscriptions amounting to 110.2 percent of the total number of rights shares, First Pacific said in its filing.

First Pacific said it plans to use the net proceeds to strengthen its balance sheet and to finance potential acquisitions and general corporate expenses.

Pangilinan, CEO and managing director at First Pacific, noted previously that the group was looking at several deals in the Philippines as well as other areas in Southeast Asia like Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.

While based in Hong Kong, most of First Pacific’s assets are located in the Philippines, where it is involved in telecommunications, infrastructure and natural resources.

Apart from its stake in PLDT, the group owns publicly traded Metro Pacific Investments Corp., whose assets include North Luzon Expressway; Manila Electric Co., the country’s largest power distributor, Maynilad Water Services Inc. and eight hospitals including Makati Medical Center.

First Pacific, along with affiliates, is also the single-biggest shareholder of Philex Mining Corp., the country’s largest gold producer.

In Indonesia, First Pacific owns PT Indofood Sukses Makmur, a leading food producer.

Pangilinan last May said that the group is looking at developing 30,000 hectares of land in Davao Oriental for palm oil. First Pacific is likewise looking at other commodities, he said.

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