Drama ends for MPIC as it clears major obstacle in split with bourse
MANILA -Utilities and infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) cleared a major hurdle before its planned exit from the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) as the consortium of buyers led by a group of tycoons and Japanese industrial giant Mitsui successfully met the requirements for voluntary delisting.
The buying consortium, which includes major stockholders such as the billionaire Ty family conglomerate GT Capital Holdings and Indonesian tycoon Anthoni Salim, said in a joint statement on Friday it had acquired 96.87 percent of Metro Pacific’s outstanding shares during a tender offer exercise.
This was above the current 95-percent threshold before a company can voluntarily delist from the PSE.
Others in the consortium were Mitsui and a private company controlled by tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan, the chair and CEO of Metro Pacific.
While the tender offer was supposed to end on Sept. 7, the consortium also announced on Friday it would extend the offer period by eight business days until Sept. 19 to scoop up holdouts that own the remaining 3 percent of the firm.
“The bidders decided to extend the tender offer period to provide MPIC shareholders, including a significant number of shareholders who missed the 7 September deadline, more time to fully appreciate the recent developments on the delisting of MPIC and make a decision to participate in the tender offer,” the company said on Friday.
The results indicated that most minority stockholders were satisfied with the improved tender offer price of P5.20 per share, despite the valuation still being far below most analysts’ estimates for the company.
The buying consortium earlier said they were taking Metro Pacific private because of its low market price even after the company held a series of share buybacks.
While not part of the buying consortium, state pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) made a last minute bid to increase its stake in the company from about 3 percent to nearly 12 percent days before the original tender offer deadline.
GSIS, led by veteran banker Jose Arnulfo “Wick” Veloso, later clarified it planned to remain a major shareholder in Metro Pacific even after it delists.
The sizeable stake would likely allow GSIS to take a board seat in the company, whose businesses include some of the country’s largest utilities and infrastructure assets such as Manila Electric Co., Maynilad Water Services, Metro Pacific Tollways, and the Light Rail Transit Line 1 in Metro Manila.
It was not clear how GSIS’ surprise play for the bigger stake in Metro Pacific would affect the final ownership structure of the buying consortium.
Under their original buyout proposal—assuming all minority stockholders tendered their shares—Salim’s First Pacific Group will end up with 50 percent of Metro Pacific, followed by 20 percent each for the Mitsui venture and GT Capital while Pangilinan will own 10 percent.
The company earlier announced the target date of delisting was on Oct. 9 this year. Once delisted, Metro Pacific will continue normal business operations but it will do so as a privately-held company.
Earlier this week, Pangilinan said they would continue to build up their infrastructure portfolio and would return to the stock market for the initial public offerings of its toll road and water businesses.
“[W]e have told the government that we will not stop there because we will be listing our subsidiaries … The first will be tollways that will be a significant listing,” Pangilinan said on Monday.