PHILIPPINE-listed infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) has forayed into the Vietnamese water market thru a P615-million deal that gives it a 45% stake in a contractor at one of Vietnam’s economic zones.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange, Metro Pacific said its subsidiary MetroPac Water Investments Corp. is buying into Vietnamese water company BOO Phu Ninh Water Treatment Plant Joint Stock Company (PNW).

The purchase agreement covers 9.9 million shares each priced at 27.52 thousand Vietnamese dong so that the deal is valued at 272.4 billion dong or P615 million, “subject to price adjustment through an escrow mechanism depending on the fulfillment of certain conditions,” MPIC said in its disclosure.

PNW has been granted a license to serve clean water in the Chu Lai Open Economic Zone, as well as urban areas, industrial zones, and nearby rural areas in Quang Nam province in Vietnam. The company is also close to completing the construction of a water treatment plant with a capacity of 25 million liters per day (MLD), with a potential to increase capacity to 300 MLD.

MPIC, with the expertise of its unit Maynilad Water Services, Inc., has been looking to expand its water venture in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.

For the long term, MPIC is looking to develop a pan-ASEAN water company, company Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan had said in August.

The expansion beyond its water concession is part of the continuing plan of MPIC to expand its business units in the region. Earlier this week, MPIC tollways arm Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) said it is acquiring 6.6 billion shares in Indonesian infrastructure firm, PT Nusantara Infrastructure Tbk, for $132 million.

MPIC is one of three Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being PLDT, Inc. and Philex Mining Corp. Hastings Holdings, Inc. — a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc. — maintains interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — P. P. C. Marcelo