First Pacific reviews operations

First Pacific Co. Ltd., a Hong Kong-based investment management and holding company with investments in Indonesia, Australia and the Philippines, is reviewing its regional portfolio to dispose assets that failed to meet target returns.

First Pacific managing director and chief executive Manuel Pangilinan said the conglomerate expected to complete the portfolio review by the end of the year.

“There are some transactions under in discussions already. Hopefully by the end of the year, we will have something,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan did not provide additional details, saying most First Pacific’s assets were listed firms. He said the review would involve all assets of the company including those in the Philippines.

First Pacific has controlling investments in telecom giant PLDT Inc., infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp., mining company Philex Mining Corp. and sugar producer Roxas Holdings Inc.

Metro Pacific controls several firms engaged in tollways, water distribution, power distribution and hospital business.

Pangilinan said there were pressures on First Pacific not only to pay down debts but also to buy back shares to improve boost investor confidence.

“There is also pressure on First Pacific not so much on debt, but to buy back shares since we have a big discount on our underlying NAV [net asset value],” Pangilinan said.

The performance of Philippine companies owned by First Pacific was mixed, with Metro Pacific posting strong growth on robust performance of core subsidiaries in tollways, water distribution, power distribution and hospital.

PLDT is progressing steadily, after posting a 21-percent decline in core profits in 2016, as it continued to invest heavily to improve services.

Philex continues to gear up on the Silangan mining project, while  Roxas Holdings is focused on improving sugar and ethanol production.

First Pacific’s Infofood is the biggest vertically-integrated food company in Indonesia and is one of Australia’s and New Zealand’s biggest food companies.

First Pacific reported recurring profit of $168.7 million in the first half, up by 7 percent from $157.8 million recorded in the same period a year ago.

Net income also rose 4 percent in January to June to $133.1 million from P127.6 million a year earlier, as contributions from operations rose 2 percent to $231.8 million.


Topics: First Pacific Co. Ltd
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