MPIC not rushing to tap foreign partner

Posted at 07/29/14 7:22 PM

MANILA – Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) is taking its time in selling part of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) to foreign investors.

MPIC President Jose Ma. K. Lim said it is still waiting for Malacanang to resolve issues in the North and South Luzon Expressway connector road and the planned expansion of the Manila-Cavite Expressway (Cavitex).

“We’ve received expressions of interest from others but we are not in a particular hurry to dilute because we are still waiting for news on the connector road and the expansion plans of Cavitex which needs to be approved,” Lim said.

MPIC said in May that foreign investors are interested in buying at least a 20 percent stake in MPTC, which is the country’s largest toll road operator.

MPIC owns 99.8 percent of MPTC.

MPTC owns 71 percent of NLEX and SCTEX operator Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC); 100 percent of Cavitex Infrastructure Corp.; 46 percent of Tollways Management Corp (TMC); and 29.45 percent of Thailand’s Don Muang Tollway Public Company Ltd (DMT) via FPM Infrastructure Holdings Ltd.

Legal issues in the joint venture between Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp. (MPTDC) and Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC) in the NLEX-SLEX connector road have been raised, resulting to delays in the project.

Lim said the company hopes that the matter will be resolved soon with the intervention of President Aquino as the project has been pending with the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB).

“If there is any question, the government should take a position as to what is the correct process because we are only following directions of the government on which structure whether Swiss Challenge or not. The government should tell us clearly,” he said.

Lim added that MPIC is also waiting for the approval of the expansion of Cavitex.

He also noted that had MPIC won the bidding for the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) project, the company would have pursued the entry of a strategic partner.

“There is no real rush, but had we won CALAX, that would have been different,” he said.