METRO PACIFIC Investments Corp. (MPIC) is expanding into Indonesia, as its toll road unit raised its stake in infrastructure holding company PT Nusantara Infrastructure Tbk (PT Nusantara).

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday, the infrastructure conglomerate said Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) has agreed to buy 6.6 billion PT Nusantara shares from PT Matahari Kapital Indonesia for $132 million.

The acquisition will raise MPTC’s indirect holdings in PT Nusantara. Prior to the deal, MPTC’s wholly owned unit MPT Asia Corp. and its Indonesian subsidiary PT Metro Pacific Tollways Indonesia (PT MPTI) already owned around 42.25% of the total capital stock of PT Nusantara on a fully diluted basis.

“Together with PT MPTI’s earlier share acquisitions, PT MPTI will now hold a total of about 47.08% of the total issued capital stock of PT Nusantara on a fully diluted basis,” the company said.

PT Nusantara is involved in toll roads, water, energy, port operations and telecommunications. It operates a total of 34.47 kilometers in toll roads in Indonesia.

“MPTC will support the existing management of PT Nusantara by sharing our brand of service and helping the Indonesian firm realize its growth potential, especially in the toll road sector,” MPTC President and CEO Rodrigo E. Franco was quoted as saying in a statement.

Muhammad Ramdani Basri, CEO of PT Nusantara, said MPTC’s entry in the company strengthens its market position and “accelerates its growth strides in the tollway business.”

“Our tie-up with MPTC blends the expansive management style of Metro Pacific with PT Nusantara’s geographic reach and expertise in managing Indonesian projects,” Mr. Basri was quoted as saying.

MPTC created PT MPTI to establish its presence in Jakarta, as well as “demonstrate MPTC’s commitment to fortify the strategic partnership with PT Nusantara’s management.”

The partnership between MPTC and PT Nusantara comes as the former looks to expand its toll road business in Southeast Asia.

MPIC currently has a 29.45% stake in Don Muang Tollway Public Company Limited, a major toll road operator in Bangkok, Thailand, and 44.9% in CII Bridges and Roads, a firm with road and bridges projects in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

MPIC Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan earlier said the company is expecting to close a deal with a Malaysian firm next year.

Last year, MPIC was shortlisted for an Indonesian 100-kilometer toll way project but the deal did not push through. Its talks with a Malaysian company for a 50-kilometer toll way project also fell through.

Domestically, MPIC is seeking to expand its tollway business in the Visayas.

MPTC currently operates the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway, and Cavite Expressway. It also has three toll road concessions under construction, namely the Cavite-Laguna Expressway, the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway, and the NLEx-South Luzon Expressway Connector Road.

MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the investment management and holding company of Indonesia’s Salim family.

MPIC’s other units are 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. — Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo