[ manilastandardtoday.com] February 21-22, 2009
By Jenniffer B. Austria
Metro Pacific Investment Corp., the flagship unit of Hong Kong’s First Pacific Co. Ltd., will keep a minority stake in high-end property developer Landco Pacific Corp.
Metro Pacific chairman Manuel Pangilinan told reporters following the company’s special stockholders’ meeting that the unit of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd. would sell just its 21 percent stake in Landco to joint venture partner AB Holdings Inc. and retain 30 percent.
Landco is 51 percent owned by Metro Pacific and 49 percent by AB Holdings of businessman Alfred Xerez Burgos.
“We felt we have to give Landco a fresh good start by maintaining Metro Pacific’s presence in Landco,” Pangilinan said.
Metro Pacific will sell a 21 percent stake in Landco to AB Holdings in exchange for certain real estate assets, including three shopping malls owned by the company worth P208 million.
The three shopping malls, called Pacific Mall, are located in Cabanatuan, Legaspi and Lucena. The three, which are profitable and generate revenues of P200 million annually, have a combined gross leasable area of 130,000 square meters.
Pangilinan said while the company had no plans of venturing into shopping malls, the three malls were expected to provide the company with a recurring income.
He said Metro Pacific decided to sell the Landco shares at a discount as most property firms were trading below their book value due to the current financial crisis.
Metro Pacific’s 21 percent stake in Landco had a book value of P283 million.
Metro Pacific earlier expressed interest in selling its entire stake in Landco to enable the company to focus on its core businesses and venture into new businesses.
Metro Pacific is primarily into infrastructure after acquiring in First Philippine Infrastructure Inc., the tollways arm of the Lopezes, for more than P12 billion.