VEHICLES approach the NLEX Balintawak toll plaza, May 18, 2021. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

PANGILINAN-LED Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) is hoping to complete and publicly list its planned joint venture with San Miguel Corp. (SMC) within the year. 

“We are at the stage where we are exchanging information about our tollways. [It is] looking good, in combination, it will be a significant company in the Philippines with starting EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) of around P50 billion,” MPIC Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer Manuel V. Pangilinan told reporters on Monday.

Last year, Mr. Pangilinan described the possible joint venture as a potential candidate for listing on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE).

“This is doable. It is not a very complex business. So, with the commitment of both parties, I do not see why we cannot do it within the year,” he said on Monday.

The valuation of the planned joint venture company also includes Metro Pacific Tollways Corp.’s (MPTC) Indonesian assets. 

“That assumes it includes at least our Indonesian assets. That still will be discussed with them,” he said. 

MPIC’s tollways unit MPTC, through Metro Pacific Tollways Asia, holds 76.31% share in PT Nusantara Infrastructure in Indonesia. 

Aside from securing the approval of its foreign shareholders, Mr. Pangilinan has said that among the issues that need to be addressed for the possible merger is that both companies will have to go to Congress to apply for a franchise for their operations.

MPTC had earlier announced that it would defer its initial public offering to 2025, citing the company’s intention to weigh its options amid a plan to form a joint venture company with SMC.

To recall, MPIC said it was planning to list its tollways unit MPTC on the stock market after the parent firm’s delisting from the PSE in October.

“We look forward to what regulatory approvals may be needed from Indonesia and the Philippines. We are simply exchanging information now so we will have an idea of the tollways. It is good to have significant companies for listing,” he said. 

MPIC is one of the three key Philippine units of Hong-Kong based First Pacific Co. Ltd., 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 share in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Ashley Erika O. Jose with a report from Sheldeen Joy Talavera