Government to divest from Metro Pacific tollways unit

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Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) logo

THE government is divesting its stake in a tollway subsidiaries of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), disposing of the shares in an auction next month.

In a bulletin published in a newspaper on Tuesday, the Privatization and Management Office (PMO) of the Department of Finance (DoF) invited bidders to participate in an auction for 76,000 common shares in MPIC’s Tollways Management Corp. (TMC).

The shares, which are currently held by the government, have a minimum base price of P2.578 billion. Interested participants must submit a financial bid not less than the indicated price.

While the competitive auction is open to all parties, shareholders of TMC have right of first refusal in the auction. TMC is a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), the tollways unit of MPIC.

MPTC President Rodrigo E. Franco said in a text message that the group has not yet decided what action to take in the auction.

“No position yet on bidding for the shares. We have right of first refusal anyway,” he said, adding that the group has been advised of the auction by the DoF.

TMC is the MPTC subsidiary in charge of the operations and maintenance at the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).

Mr. Franco noted that the government is only selling its stake in TMC and continues to hold shares directly in NLEX Corp., another subsidiary of MPTC.

The pre-qualification stage of the auction is March 15. Participants are required to submit a letter of intent, a notarized confidentiality undertaking and a P100,000 non-refundable participation fee to the PMO TMC shares disposition committee.

MPIC is one of 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 stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Denise A. Valdez