initial public offerings

Manny Pangilinan’s businesses eye IPOs, toll company most ready

Ralf Rivas
Manny Pangilinan’s businesses eye IPOs, toll company most ready

TYCOON. Manny Pangilinan.

Rappler

Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation is the most prepared for an IPO. It just has to assess the impact of rising oil prices and earnings from newly completed projects.

MANILA, Philippines – Three subsidiaries of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) are considering going public, but these plans depend on the pace of the country’s economic recovery and global developments.

In a briefing on Wednesday, March 9, Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) president and chief executive officer Rod Franco said they are the most ready for an initial public offering (IPO), which may occur as early as 2023.

“We’re waiting for our performance to stabilize a bit. We’ve been affected by the Omicron surge in January. The projects – we are waiting [for them] to be completed,” Franco said.

Franco said MPTC is also closely monitoring Russia’s attack on Ukraine, as skyrocketing oil prices may impact traffic volume passing through its tollways.

MPTC is also monitoring earnings from its new and soon-to-be-completed projects.

“We’ll see until the first or second half [of the year] on how our business will perform…but we have funding options in case we need money for other projects,” Franco said.

“[There has to be] sensible use for the funds [or] it will just dilute our existing shareholders. We want to time it well, determine how much money we need.”

Hospitals

Meanwhile, Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings Incorporated (MPHHI) is not in a rush to go public, but is still considering the option.

MPHHI CEO Harish Pillai said going public is a matter of “strategy” at this point, as the company focuses on expanding its network in the next five years and works toward being an integrated healthcare provider.

“We still have some time ahead of us before public offering can be made,” Pillai said.

MPHHI eyed an IPO years back, most recently in 2019, but shelved it eventually after getting fresh capital from a global investment firm.

MPHHI currently has 19 hospitals in its portfolio.

Water

Maynilad Water Services is required to list on the stock exchange, as specified in its revised concession agreement.

However, Maynilad president and CEO Ramoncito Fernandez said they first have to ensure that the implementation of rate rebasing is stable.

Rate rebasing determines the level of water rates that concessionaires can recover.

For 2021, Maynilad’s capital expenditure stood at P10 billion. The company intends to invest as much as P14 billion for 2022.

Outlook

MPIC chairman and president Manny Pangilinan is closely looking at the war between Russia and Ukraine, as it may impact the Philippines’ economic recovery.

“I do hope that the economy could still grow despite impact of cost-push inflation. Slow growth with inflation is not the ideal scenario,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan, so far, sees the gepolitical conflict having minimal impact on Maynilad and Manila Electric Company (Meralco).

Inflation, however, remains a key risk for Meralco, as it may erode household income. 

PLDT is also seen to be insulated from the effects, with Pangilinan noting that most of its revenues are domestically-driven.

Pangilinan said they are looking at the toll business facing some headwinds, as high oil prices may discourage people from driving despite eased pandemic restrictions.

For Philex Mining, Pangilinan sees the company as a “beneficiary,” with metal prices shooting up amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

MPIC’s net income rose 20% to P12.3 billion in 2021 from P10.2 billion a year earlier. This substantial improvement from the 13% growth in the first half of 2021 was largely driven by improved traffic on its toll roads and higher volume of electricity sold by Meralco. – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.