Ramos holding firm open to sale of MRT stake
MANILA - The Ramos family’s investment holding firm, Anglo Philippine Holdings Corp., is willing to unload its minority stake in the company behind the Metro Rail Transit (MRT).
The firm will join a government-planned takeover of the mass transit at the right price, company executives said.
“Anglo Holdings still has its residual ownership in the holding firm company that owns the operating company,” said Anglo Holdings director Adrian Ramos, adding that the company is open to all possibilities.
“If the price is right, we sell. And also if it’s a reasonable compensation,” said Anglo Holdings executive vice president Adrian Arias.
Anglo Holdings owns 18.6 percent of consortium MRT Holdings Inc. (MRTH), the owner of MRT Holdings II Inc. that controls operating firm MRT Corp. (MRTC).
Last week, Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said the government plans to start buying out at least 20 percent of the economic interest in MRT next year. He valued the private sector stake at $200 million.
Anglo Holdings has yet to peg the value of its shares in the mass transit system.
“That’s what we are talking about with the government, how to value our residual interest,” Arias said.
Anglo Holdings is one of the stockholders in MRTH, along with Fil-Estate Corp., Railco Investments Inc., Sheridan LRT Holdings Inc. and DBH Inc.
“We’d like to believe we can negotiate (for the price),” Arias said.
In February, President Aquino signed Executive Order 126 to formalize the government’s plan of a complete buyout of the mass transit’s operator MRTC.
Arias said the takeover program will include the exit of private stockholders as the government will retire the MRT bonds and buy out existing stockholders for a complete control of MRT’s facilities and economic benefits.
The government owns roughly 80 percent of the economic interest in the MRT operator although without voting rights. However, the government needs to buy out these interests from the banks for around $800 million as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has ordered Landbank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines to unload them.
Anglo Holdings, for its part, will focus on natural resources and the property sector in the medium term.
In the next three to five years, majority of the income will come from oil production, followed by the property business, Ramos said.