Infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. is actively evaluating investment opportunities in logistics, agriculture, real estate and tourism sectors despite the volatile business environment, its top executive said Wednesday.
Metro Pacific chairman Manuel Pangilinan said in a news briefing the group is expected to finalize three deals within the year. He said it has enough funds to make the significant acquisitions.
“Our focus over the near to medium term is to continue to deliver on our commitments to support infrastructure development in the country,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan did not specify the details on the planned acquisitions, but said the company was interested in acquiring Ayala Corp.’s stake in Light Railway Transit line 1. Metro Pacific and Ayala are joint venture partners in the company operating and expanding LRT 1.
Pangilinan said the final decision would depend on the outcome of the elections.
“We are looking at it a great deal, but it will depend on outcome of elections because we need to understand what the new president might do with respect to LRT 1,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan said the company is particularly interested if the new president will be more open or sympathetic to tariff adjustments on LRT 1.
“We have pending applications for tariff adjustments which have not been given under the concession since 2015, and we have spent quite a bit of money to rehab the existing system of LRT 1,” Pangilinan said.
LRT 1 is operated by Light Rail Manila Corp., a joint venture company of MPIC’s Metro Pacific Light Rail Corp., Ayala Corp.’s AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Sumitomo Corp. and the Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure’s Macquarie Investments Holdings (Philippines) Pte. Ltd.
The group took over the operations and maintenance of LRT-1 in September 2015 through a P65-billion 32-year concession agreement with the Department of Transportation and the Light Rail Transit Authority.
LRMC has since replaced existing rail tracks, upgraded the signaling system and deployed new trains along the 19.6-kilometer line from Monumento to Baclaran.
The group is extending the LRT 1 to Bacoor, Cavite under a P65-billion expansion project that is now 60-percent completed.
LRMC said it plans to commercially deploy the first 4th generation train sets by the end of May.
“We would like to inform our passengers that they will now start seeing brand-new Gen-4 trains along the LRT line 1, but they still cannot ride these Gen-4 trains yet. We are conducting these trial runs to simulate regular commercial operations and to make sure that these trains are safe for the passengers once we put them to commercial service soon,” LRMC chief operating officer Enrico Benipayo said.
Metro Pacific said core net income grew 23 percent in the first quarter to P3.1 billion from P2.5 billion a year ago, boosted by the steady performance of power and toll road businesses.
Power accounted for 58 percent of total net income at P4.3 billion, followed by toll roads with P2.5 billion and water with P600 million.
Reported net income went down by 19 percent to P5.7 billion from P8.5 billion a year earlier because of the one-time gain from the sale of Global Business Power and Don Muang Tollways in the first quarter of 2021.