MPIC plans to list units, ‘aggressive’ farm foray

METRO Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) is considering a market listing for some of its subsidiaries after their projects’ completion while aggressively investing in agribusiness in the next five years.

“Yes, for Maynilad [Water Services, Inc.], specifically because it’s part of their franchise,” MPIC Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer Cheryl A. Cabal-Revilla told reporters last week when asked about units that are about ready for an initial public offering (IPO).

“[For] toll roads, we’re just trying to finish all of the capex (capital expenditure) projects that we are working on now,” she said. “For the hospital group, the [IPO] timing is largely driven by KKR & Co. because they own more of MPPHI (Metro Pacific Hospitals Holdings, Inc.) versus us.”

Maynilad, MPIC’s water business, submitted its notices of acceptance of its 25-year legislative franchise on March 21, 2022.

As part of its franchise under the Republic Act No. 11601, Maynilad is required to offer at least 30% of its outstanding capital stock to Filipino citizens within five years of the law’s effectivity. The law was approved by former President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Dec. 10, 2021.

Meanwhile, Ms. Cabal-Revilla said that MPIC is planning to make its agribusiness, Metro Pacific Agro Ventures, Inc. (MPAV), its fourth core business.

“The plan of MVP is to make agri a core pillar of the MPIC group. Over time, it will be as big as Maynilad or the hospital group,” she said, referring to the conglomerate’s chairman, Manuel V. Pangilinan.

“It will depend on the success of the acquisitions that we will make,” she said. “It depends on how fast the acquisitions will be in the next few years. But the target is to aggressively invest in agri in the next five years.”

Ms. Cabal-Revilla said MPIC is investing up to P8 billion this year in the two acquisitions of MPAV.

In June 2022, the unit marked its foray into agribusiness by acquiring Carmen’s Best Group, which is known for its premium ice cream offerings.

In February this year, MPAV acquired a 34.76% stake in listed coconut products maker Axelum Resources Corp. for P5.32 billion.

MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of First Pacific, the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Justine Irish D. Tabile

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