MPIC unit bags Dumaguete deal

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A WATER unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) is partnering with the Dumaguete City Water District (DCWD) to rehabilitate and expand its existing facilities for P1.62 billion.

In a stock filing Wednesday, MPIC said MetroPac Water Investments Corp. (MPW) has signed a joint venture agreement with DCWD for the rehabilitation, operation, maintenance, and expansion of the latter’s existing water distribution system and the development of wastewater facilities.

MPIC pegged the initial equity investment at P700 million. The two parties will establish a joint venture corporation to implement the 25-year project. It will also be given the right to bill and collect tariff for the water supply and wastewater services provided to customers in DCWD’s service area.

DCWD supplies 38 million liters of water per day (MLD) of potable water to over 32,000 customers in Dumaguete City and parts of the Municipalities of Valencia, Sibulan, and Bacong. The population of DCWD’s service area is about 165,984, and is seen to rise to more than 242,000 by 2044.

This project will be added to MPW’s installed capacity of up to 393 MLD in the Philippines and up to 660 MLD in Vietnam. These projects have yet to be completed.

MPW also said it has another 430 MLD of projects under negotiation and awaiting final award in the country.

While MPW’s contribution to MPIC’s earnings is still immaterial, it expects to become a major profit contributor once they are completed.

So far, MPW has started operations for Metro Iloilo Water, its joint venture with city’s water district, last July. The 25-year project aims to improve the delivery of treated water in the service area, reduce non-revenue water to 35% from 50%, and upgrade the billing and collection systems.

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.

The infrastructure conglomerate’s net income attributable to the parent dropped 9% to P8.11 billion in the first half of 2019, amid an 11% uptick in gross revenues to P44.62 billion.

Shares in MPIC rose 1.84% or nine centavos to close at P4.99 each at the stock exchange on Wednesday. — Arra B. Francia