Metro Pacific Investments Corp.

NLEX flags high oil prices as concern

THE OPERATOR of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) is hoping to sustain its first quarter income and revenue growth for the full year, but flagged rising fuel prices as a concern.

“We’re hopeful, kaya lang mas maraming constraints na tumataas ang petroleum prices (but there are many constraints before of the rising prices of petroleum). That’s of course a concern for us not only as operators. It’s a concern for the motorists, baka mahirapan [they might find it difficult],” NLEX Corp. President Rodrigo E. Franco told reporters recently.

The Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) tollways unit saw a net income of P1.29 billion in the January to March period, 20% higher than the P1.07 billion it earned in the same period last year.

In May, there was a series of price increases from oil firms across gasoline, diesel and kerosene.

“If the trend continues, sino ba naman ang gusto byumahe kung napapamahal na ang gasolina? (who would want to travel when the price of fuel is high?) People are going to at least reduce their travel frequency kung mahal ang traveling costs [if traveling costs are high],” Mr. Franco added.

In a regulatory filing, NLEX Corp. said its average daily vehicle entries grew by 9% at 250,989 in the January to March period, up from the 229,633 it posted in the same period last year.

“Increases in traffic on all domestic roads are attributable to the integration of the NLEx and SLEx (South Luzon Expressway), the opening of additional lanes in the NLEx in 2017, and the growth in residential communities in Cavite and tourism in Batangas,” the company said.

Mr. Franco said the 9% traffic growth recorded in the first quarter might be affected if oil prices will keep rising.

He said the company’s traffic growth target for the full year is 5-6%.

The other tollways units of MPIC also saw an increase in traffic in the first quarter. The Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway posted a 17% traffic growth, and Manila-Cavite Expressway 8%.


MPIC logistics unit to build warehouses in Cavite

THE logistics unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) will be setting aside P8 billion for the development of warehouses in Cavite, as it aims to become a leading player in the logistics space.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Monday, MPIC said its wholly-owned subsidiary Metropac Movers, Inc. (MMI) has signed the deal with Property Company of Friends (ProFriends) to buy 202,000 square meters (sq.m.) of land worth P1.2 billion in General Trias.

ProFriends is one of the property firms under tycoon George S.K. Ty’s conglomerate, GT Capital Holdings, Inc., which in turn is the second largest shareholder of MPIC.

MMI has allocated P8 billion “to develop the property into 141,000 square meters of covered warehouse space and purchase the equipment to service its clients.”

“The property… will be used by MMI to develop and manage distribution centers for its existing and potential clients in the fast moving consumer goods, consumer durables, automotive and e-commerce spaces,” MPIC said.

In addition, MMI plans to purchase another 300,000 sq.m. of land in Bulacan.

MPIC said the completion of the warehouses can provide employment to around 7,000 residents of Cavite and Bulacan. To-date, MMI employs about 2,400 people under its existing warehouses and owned trucks.

The company currently has 207,000 sq.m. of leased warehouse space across the country.

These warehouses will complement the 522 new trucks acquired by MMI in the fourth quarter of 2017.

“These resources…will be utilized by MMI to build the leading logistics firm in the Country, the first choice of existing and future clients for their logistics needs — “the ONE logistics company”. It will fulfill a much needed function in today’s fragmented logistics market where resources to efficiently track and deliver goods to all parts of the Philippine Archipelago are still lacking,” MPIC said.

The listed conglomerate has been ramping up its investments in the logistics industry, announcing earlier this year that it is on the look out for two to three logistics firms this year. It is currently in the closing stages of acquiring transport and logistics solutions provider Air21.

MPIC grew its core profit by 16% to P3.6 billion during the first quarter of 2018, following a 68% jump in gross revenues to P19.4 billion.


MPTC subsidiary gains control of Indonesian firm

METRO Pacific Tollways Corp. operates three major tollways in the Philippines. — MPIC.COM.PH
A UNIT of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) gained control of Indonesian infrastructure firm PT Nusantara Infrastructure Tbk after increasing its stake to more than 50%.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Tuesday, MPTC’s parent Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) said PT Metro Pacific Tollways Indonesia (PT MPTI) acquired an additional 760 million shares in PT Nusantara, or 4.99% of the company’s total issued capital stock on a fully diluted basis.

The transaction, valued at a total of P597.33 million, or 79 centavos per share, was executed through a cross sale on the Indonesian Stock Exchange.

This brings PT MPTI’s stake in PT Nusantara to 53.26%, solidifying its control of the company that has interests in tollroads, water, energy, port operations, and telecommunications.

“The transaction is expected to enhance profitability and strengthen the balance sheet of MPTC,” the listed parent company said.

Since PT MPTI now holds a majority of PT Nusantara’s shares, the company is required to conduct a mandatory tender offer to its minority stockholders. The minority shareholders collectively own 44.21% of PT Nusantara’s outstanding capital stock, with the balance of 2.53% held as treasury shares.

The company expects the tender offer price to be at around 79 centavos per share or 211 Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). With this, the entire tender offer size could reach IDR 1,421 billion or around P5.29 billion. The final tender offer price will require approval from the Indonesian Financial Services Authority.

PT MPTI said it will secure bank loans to finance the acquisition of the additional shares as well as the tender offer.

The listed infrastructure conglomerate initially owned 42.25% of PT Nusantara through a partnership with MPT Asia Corp. and PT MPTI. It further increased its interest in PT Nusantara to about 47.08% last November.

PT Nusantara operates a total of 34.47 kilometers in toll roads in Indonesia. The investment in the firm forms part of MPIC’s plan to expand its tollway business in Southeast Asia.

MPIC currently has a presence in Thailand through a 29.45% stake in Don Muang Tollway Public Company Limited in Bangkok. In Vietnam, it also holds a 44.9% stake in CII Bridges and Roads in Ho Chi Minh City.

Locally, MPIC operates three major tollways under MPTC, namely the North Luzon Expresssway (NLEx), Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway, and Cavite Expressway. MPTC has three other toll roads under construction: Cavite-Laguna Expressway, the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway, and the NLEx-South Luzon Expressway Connector Road.

The conglomerate booked a consolidated core net income of P3.6 billion in the first quarter of 2018, 16% higher year on year on the back of better than expected volume growth in its business units.

MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., with 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.

...ayus! pagkatapos ng bagong airport, bagong bridge naman Smile

MPTC starts work on Cebu-Cordova expressway

CEBU CITY — A Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) unit began on Thursday the construction of a toll bridge that will connect Mactan island to mainland Cebu.

“It’s a project that will take three years to construct, so we expect completion in 2021,” MPTC President Rodrigo E. Franco told reporters on the sidelines of the ceremony here.

The 8.5-kilometer Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEx) have a two-lane road, a main bridge, a viaduct at Cordova, an eight-lane toll plaza and a causeway. MPTC unit Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corp. (CCLEC) is in charge of the project.

Mr. Franco said the company is looking to charge a maximum P89 toll fee at the CCLEx.

He said the total project cost is estimated at P26 billion to P29 billion, taking into consideration “indirect project costs” that may arise.

Mr. Franco said the company is raising funds of around P18 billion to P19 billion through syndicated loans from local banks.

The MPTC official said the toll bridge could cut travel time from Mactan to Cebu by half as the Mactan-Mandaue and Marcelo Fernan bridges are connected to the northern part of Cebu, while CCLEx would end in the south.

“Before if you’re coming from, let’s say, the business district of Cebu City, you still have to go to northern Cebu. You have to go to Mandaue before you can cross the bridge. So it takes time. Now, those coming from the business district, coming from southern Cebu City, you just cross the bridge then you’ll be in Mactan,” Mr. Franco said.

An initial traffic of 40,000 vehicles a day is expected on the CCLEx.

Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark A. Villar said the government is also looking to construct a fourth Mactan-Cebu bridge, which is subject of a feasibility study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

“Meron po kaming ginagawang plano ngayon sa fourth bridge. Well, we’re hoping to start pag natapos na ’yung mga ginagawa ng JICA. We’re hoping na we could finish the feasibility and the engineering design by this year para next year makapagsimula na [We’re planning a fourth bridge. We’re hoping to start when JICA finishes its feasibility study. We’re hoping to finish the feasibility study and engineering design by this year so the project could start next year],” he told reporters on the sidelines of the event.

Based on the JICA study, he said one more bridge is needed to decongest the Metro Cebu traffic, even when the CCLEx opens.

While details of the fourth bridge project have yet to be finalized, Mr. Villar is confident the project could be finished before 2022.

For Mr. Franco, the proposed fourth bridge is no threat to its business because its landing will likely be in northern Cebu, while CCLEx is in south.

CCLEx is MPTC’s first project outside of Luzon done in cooperation with the local government of Cebu. In the future, the tollways company said it may still pursue projects in Cebu again.



P23.3-billion expressway connector  project on track–Metro Pacific

Metro Pacific Investments Corp. is mobilizing initial civil works for the P23.3-billion Connector Road, in time for the full-blast construction of the said highway in the first half of 2019.

Rodrigo E. Franco, who sits as president at Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., said the company aims to start building the link road for the North and South Luzon Expressways (Nlex-Slex) within the first three months next year.

He noted, however, that his group is implementing advance works for the said thoroughfare section.

“We would want to be able to mobilize construction toward  the fourth quarter and full-blast construction is for the first quarter of 2019,” Franco said in an interview in Cebu last week.

He noted that right-of-way acquisition and delivery are “moving.”

“The government’s deadline is to deliver the first section in the second quarter of next year,” he said. “So were working within the timetable.”

The Connector Road is envisioned to be an 8-kilometer (km), four-lane elevated toll road that will connect the Nlex and Slex.

It will extend the southward portion of Nlex from the end of Segment 10 in C-3 Road Caloocan City to PUP Santa Mesa, Manila and connecting to the Skyway Stage 3, and mostly traversing the PNR rail track.

The project, which has a price tag of P23.3 billion, includes two interchanges at C-3 Road, Caloocan and España, Manila.

Franco earlier said his group is keen on tapping the bond market to fund the P16 billion in construction costs for the Connector Road.

The Connector Road will be operated by Nlex Corp.

Infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific is the largest toll road company in the Philippines. It also has interests in expressway operators in Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia.


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