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BIZ BUZZ: MVP’s bets

/ 05:24 AM November 12, 2021

Two key operating units of infrastructure holding firm Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) may be up for initial public offering (IPO) in the coming years.

The first is toll road arm Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), which will soon get a big bump in revenues from new projects, including the Cebu-Cordova bridge, which is expected to start generating revenues in March. The North-Luzon Expressway connector road is likewise nearing completion.

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MPIC chair Manuel V. Pangilinan, aka MVP, said the group may consider getting a strategic partner to buy into MPTC “to anchor the IPO.”

Many parties have expressed interest, but MPTC has not decided yet because its priority is to await the new earnings stream from its big-ticket projects. MPTC president Rodrigo Franco said the group wouldn’t want to be “undervalued.”

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Asked whether Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings Inc. would revive a previously shelved IPO plan, MVP said while this wasn’t likely to happen in 2022, “there’s possibility of that happening in 2023.”

He has been quite impressed with the recovery of the hospital group, with revenues from its chain of 18 hospitals possibly ending at over P30 billion this year. After Manila Electric Co., this unit is now becoming the biggest revenue contributor, even ahead of MPTC and Maynilad Water Services.

“When they hit the full throttle, hopefully, in their profitability, they should be okay for IPO in 2023, at the earliest,” MVP said.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Targets surpassed

It said it would do it, and it is delivering … ahead of schedule.

We’re talking about San Miguel Corp., which recently announced that its river cleanup initiatives at the Pasig River and Tullahan River have exceeded initial targets even as it prepares to ramp up efforts in the coming months with the easing of quarantine restrictions.

San Miguel chief Ramon S. Ang said the company would aim to steadily increase the daily extraction output from the two rivers. This is in anticipation of potential monsoon rains that usually cause heavy floods in Metro Manila cities near the Pasig River, and the cities of Navotas, Malabon, Valenzuela and Caloocan alongside the Tullahan River.

Both rivers, which receive untreated sewage from households and nearby industries, empty out to the Manila Bay.

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With the Pasig River’s waste and silt extraction output at 90,000 metric tons as of last week, San Miguel expects to hit the 100,000-MT mark by the middle of November, as daily output has been increased from 1,400 to 1,700 MT per day.

The Pasig River rehabilitation initiative is a P2-billion project which aims to extract at least 600,000 MT of silt and solid waste per year, in order to clean up the waterway, help improve water quality and reduce flooding in several cities in Metro Manila. Now that’s money well spent.

—Daxim L. Lucas

Jaza at Temasek

When business tycoon Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, aka Jaza, passed on last April the responsibility as CEO of Ayala Corp. to younger brother, Fernando, he was never expected to disappear into the sunset. With day-to-day responsibilities off his hands, Jaza had vowed to use this greater bandwidth to study the fast-changing world and gain fresh perspectives.

Armed with a wealth of business insights and institutional memory after his 26-year service as Ayala CEO, Jaza has more to contribute to the global business community. Recently, investment giant Temasek Holdings, which is owned by the Singaporean government, enlisted Jaza to be part of its board of directors effective Jan. 1, 2022.

This is part of a series of appointments announced by Temasek to “continue a planned process of transition and renewal of the board, following a number of retirements over the last two years.”

Temasek, which has a portfolio of about $282 billion (US dollars as of end-March), sees itself as a “generational investor, seeking to make a difference always with tomorrow in mind.”

That a Filipino businessman was invited to its board is a vote of confidence in Filipino talent.

The Harvard-educated businessman served as chair and CEO of Ayala from April 2006 to April 2021. He is also a distinguished member of various business and civic organizations in the Philippines and beyond, including the JP Morgan International Council, JP Morgan Asia Pacific Council, Mitsubishi Corp. International Advisory Council, LeapFrog Investments’ Global Leadership Council and the board of the Singapore Management University.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
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TAGS: Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, MPIC chair Manuel V. Pangilinan, San Miguel Corp., Temasek Holdings
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