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MPIC eyes partners in toll road, hospital businesses

Metro Pacific Investments Corp. plans to take in strategic partners in the toll road and health care businesses to raise funds for expansion projects.

“I think we’ve indicated that we might do a partial divestment of our hospital. And I think it’s time to get in a new strategic partner for the tollways but that would be small, maybe up to 20 percent will be available,” said MPIC chairman Manuel Pangilinan at the sidelines of the annual stockholder’s meeting Monday.

MPIC owns 60 percent of Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings Inc. while Singapore-owned GIC Private Ltd. holds 40 percent. MPH is the largest operator in the country with 14 hospitals nationwide. It also operates a network of primary care clinics and cancer centers.

“They know we’re planning to do it. GIC, I believe they’re staying. We don’t know whether they’ll sell down with us for the 40 percent,” Pangilinan said.

He said talks were ongoing with potential investors and that MPIC was hoping to close a deal in the hospital business within the year.

“Already in talks, investment banks have been engaged for the hospital. There have been some preliminary talks with potential strategic partners for the tollway, but nothing definite,” Pangilinan said.

MPIC owns Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., which operates and maintains 212 kilometers of expressways across three major Philippine tollroads system. MPTC will be further adding 84 km of expressway at a cost of P104 billion.

“So far those who have expressed are mostly private equity funds. There have been indications from hospital operators down the road as well,” Pangilinan said.

He said proceeds from the sell-down would depend on the percentage to be offered to the new investors.

“Depends on the percentage, it will be a significant sum. Because for the hospital it has been earning and the growth prospect is good,” Pangilinan said.

MPIC president and chief executive officer Jose Ma. Lim said the management was committed to exploring various combinations of “crystallizing value in some of our existing assets to raise funds for our expansion projects.”

“The targeted asset sell-down, together with maximum safe use of leverage should see us through the next wave of growth we are pursuing,” Lim said.

Topics: Metro Pacific Investments Corp. , Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings Inc. , Manuel Pangilinan
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