MPIC revives plan to sell MPTC stake
MANILA, Philippines–Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. plans to restart talks with either a prospective strategic partner or a financial investor for the sale of up to 20 percent of its tollroad arm, Metro Pacific Tollways Corp.
Ramoncito Fernandez, president of Metro Pacific Tollways, said discussions launched in 2014 were postponed as regulatory issues, including uncertainties over tollroad projects like Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway and a Metro Manila “connector “tollroad, affected the company’s valuation.
Another thorny issue is the lack of clarity on the rate hike petitions of tollroad operators here.
Fernandez said Metro Pacific Tollways, which operates North Luzon Expressway and Manila Cavite Expressway, and is expected to gain control of the concession of SCTEx, should be valued at about P75 billion. This means a 20-percent stake is worth at least P15 billion.
He said investors last year valued the company at about P50 billion.
“There was some overhang. Hopefully (we can start talking to investors) this year once we get the approval for the connector road,” Fernandez said.
Metro Pacific Tollways, which delisted from the Philippine Stock Exchange in 2012, preferred to get a foreign fund or strategic partner since that would maximize its valuation, Fernandez said.
The tollroad operator has been making significant investments overseas. It acquired stakes in expressways in Thailand, Vietnam and is now considering projects in Indonesia, Fernandez said.
“The (20-percent stake) is to address the needs of the investor, for them to consolidate. For us, it’s a manageable chunk to [sell] ,” Fernandez said.
One of the company’s biggest upcoming projects at home is the proposed P18-billion elevated connector road, which would link NLEx with South Luzon Expressway, which is operated by San Miguel Corp. and Indonesia’s Citra Group.
The project has been delayed mainly due to disagreements within the government on how it should be implemented.
Fernandez said the Metro Pacific group was hoping to get the go-ahead from the National Economic and Development Authority board in the coming weeks.
The connector road, which is expected to start at the C-3 in Caloocan City and end in PUP Sta. Mesa area in Manila, was initially submitted as an unsolicited proposal under the previous administration.
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