Metro Pacific, GT Capital pool their infrastructure power

GT Tower International

MANILA — Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and GT Capital Holdings on Friday announced deals that bring two of the Philippines’ most powerful conglomerates into an infrastructure alliance.

GT Capital, the holding company of tycoon George Ty, will own 15.6% of MPIC after acquiring 3.6 billion new shares, plus another 1.3 billion shares owned by parent Metro Pacific Holdings, according to stock exchange disclosures.

The MPIC shares are valued at 6.10 pesos apiece, a 1.3% premium on the stock’s closing price of 6.02 pesos on Thursday. Metro Pacific Holdings will continue to control a 55% voting interest in MPIC.

Meanwhile, MPIC associate Beacon Electric Asset Holdings will, though a unit, acquire a 56% stake in Global Business Power for 22.06 billion pesos. Manila Electric, or Meralco — MPIC’s electricity retailing arm — already owns 20% of the GT Capital subsidiary.

“This investment has strengthened MPIC’s finances and together we will work to accelerate our investment in, and development of, the infrastructure of our country,” MPIC Chairman Manuel Pangilinan said.

“Significant milestone”

The arrangement gives the MPIC group control over Global Business Power’s 852 megawatts of coal and diesel power-generating capacity, at a time when the bulk of Meralco’s generation projects are still in the works or are facing delays. Also noteworthy: As a leading electricity supplier in the central Philippines, Global Business Power stands to benefit from incoming President Rodrigo Duterte’s pledge to stoke economic activity outside the capital and the main island of Luzon.

From the perspective of GT Capital — which owns major lender Metropolitan Bank & Trust, real estate company Federal Land, as well as insurance and auto retailing operations — the prize is a stake in MPIC’s vast infrastructure portfolio.

Apart from Meralco, the nation’s largest power retailer, MPIC owns the biggest network of toll roads and private hospitals in the Philippines, along with a major water distributor in Metro Manila. MPIC — the local arm of Hong Kong investment company First Pacific, which in turn falls under Indonesia’s Salim Group — also has interests in toll road operators in Thailand and Vietnam.

“This is a significant milestone for GT Capital, since it expands and strengthens our core sector coverage with an infrastructure platform ensuring sustainable growth,” GT Capital Vice Chairman Alfred Ty said.


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