MPIC hospital unit plans to raise up to P20B in fresh capital

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THE hospital unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) is looking to raise P15-20 billion in fresh capital in the next two years, to support its plan of having 30 to 40 hospitals in the future.

MPIC Chief Finance Officer David J. Nicol said the parent company is evaluating whether Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings, Inc. (MPHHI) should pursue an initial public offering (IPO) or private placement to secure the funds.

“We are still looking at some idea of bringing in some external money into the hospital’s portfolio. Whether we do that with a private placement or IPO — we’re evaluating,” Mr. Nicol said in a press briefing in Makati on Tuesday.

“We could bring in somewhere between P15-20 billion,” he added.

The company has been assessing whether to proceed with an IPO as early as 2015. Mr. Nicol noted that there are advantages to an IPO, such as tax efficiencies and the amount they could raise.

“But it brings certain drawbacks in team dynamics, and the way the relationships work with the doctor partners and the hospitals. We’re examining both,” Mr. Nicol explained.

MPHHI currently has 14 hospitals offering about 3,200 beds under its network. The company targets to further increase this network to 5,000 beds.

“We are now invested in the larger hospitals. So that means we will now be acquiring smaller hospitals. Two thousand beds could mean about 15 to 20 hospitals,” MPHHI President and Chief Executive Officer Augusto P. Palisoc, Jr. said in the same briefing.

The hospitals under MPHHI’s portfolio include Makati Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Asian Hospital, De Los Santos Medical Center, Manila Doctors Hospital, Marikina Valley Medical Center, Inc., and Dr. Jesus C. Delgado Memorial Hospital.

The company also has interest in Davao Doctors Hospital, Riverside Medical Center in Bacolod, Central Luzon Doctors Hospital in Tarlac, West Metro Medical Center in Zamboanga, Sacred Heart Hospital of Malolos, Inc. in Bulacan and St. Elizabeth Hospital, Inc. in General Santos City.

MPIC Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said the group is also interested in acquiring Ortigas-based hospital The Medical City, which is currently having ownership disputes between its chief executive officer, Alfredo R.A. Bengzon, and director and treasurer, Jose Xavier B. Gonzales.

“We’re just waiting for the circumstances to unfold so we can pursue that aggressively,” Mr. Palisoc said.

MPHHI said revenues grew by 14% in 2018, following an 8% uptick in out-patient visits to 3.32 million and 11% increase in in-patient admissions to 193,824. — Arra B. Francia