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Metro Tollways to sell more shares to the public

Saturday, August 01, 2009 [ manilatimes.net ]

By Darwin G Amojelar, Senior Reporter

METRO Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) plans to sell more shares to the public next year to raise money to finance its projects.

On the sidelines of the company’s stockholders’ meeting, Manuel Pangilinan, MPTC chairman, told reporters that “most likely we will need to raise our equity” when the company decided to expand its tollway system.

“Right now, the public float is very small. I think Metro Pacific owns 99 percent [of MPTC]. We want to make it [MPTC] a genuine public [company],” Pangilinan said.

At present, the publicly held shares stood at 0.15 percent.

“Certainly, we would like to see a public float of at least 40 percent,” Pangilinan said, without disclosing the schedule of the public float.

He said a number of local and foreign investors are interested to subscribe to the company’s shares. “But nothing definite this year. Maybe next year. But the discussions are ongoing,” he said.

Ramon Fernandez, president and chief executive of MPTC said the company has programmed about P36 billion in capital expenditures for over five years.

Fernandez said the project would be funded through a combination of equity and debt.

He said the company would spend P16.3 billion to construct a 13-kilometer expressway on top of the railroad of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) that will link the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

The NLEX-SLEX Skyway, which is expected to start next year will connect C3 in Caloocan City and the end of the Skyway in Buendia in Makati City.

Fernandez also said that MPTC has budgeted about P10 billion to fund an expressway connecting NLEX to the Port Area and C3.

In addition, the construction of a 2.3-kilometer road that will connect Mindanao Avenue to NLEX, south of the existing Valenzuela interchange, will cost about P2.1 billion.

Pangilian said the company’s core and reported net income in the second half of the year should be ahead of last year on higher volume of traffic.

For the full year, “MPTC is doing well. We would be ahead of last year, whether core or net income,” he said.

The company reported a net income of P607.6 million in the first half of the year from P446.5 million in the same period last year.

Its core income rose 6 percent to P636.4 million from P600.5 million in the same six-month period last year.

The tollway company attributed the improvement to the higher than expected traffic reported by Manila Tollways Corp. (MNTC) and the higher contribution of Tollways Management Corp. (TMC).

“Favorable fuel prices together with aggressive marketing strategies to increase electronic tag penetration rates and the promotion of tourism destinations in the North contributed to higher traffic revenues,” Fernandez said.

He said the improvement in the operational performance of MNTC and TMC was further enhanced by internally initiated programs relating to performance-driven culture, better cost management and system automation development.

MNTC reported a net income of P769.5 million in the first half of the year, higher by 36.1 percent from P572.3 million last year, due to higher non-recurring foreign exchange losses realized in 2008.

Toll revenues during the period amounted to P2.76 billion, up by 2.3 percent compared with P1.70 billion last year due to increase in traffic volume.

The company’s average daily traffic volume for the period was 151,653, higher by 4.8 percent compared with last year’s 144,643.

TMC’s reported profit rose to P155.9 million from P107.3 million in 2008.

MNTC holds the concession to operate and maintain the NLEX and is 67.1 percent owned by MPTC.

TMC, owned 46 percent by MPTC, operates and maintains NLEX for MNTC and has an interim agreement to operate and maintain the Sublic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), which state-run Bases Coversion Development Authority owns.

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