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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Metro Pacific eyes parent firm's stake in Thai tollway operator

Metro Pacific Investments Corp (MPIC) plans to acquire the stake of parent firm First Pacific Co Ltd in a Thai toll road operator.

In a briefing, MPIC chief financial officer David Nicol said the company will purchase First Pacific's 22 percent stake in Don Muang Tollway Public Co Ltd (DMT).

"We're looking at the idea at the moment," Nicol said.

In November, Hong Kong-based First Pacific and MPIC formed a 75-25 joint venture -- FPM Infrastructure Holdings Ltd -- which acquired a 29.45 percent stake in DMT valued at $100 million. This was the joint venture's maiden investment.

MPIC is also keen on buying the shares owned by Thailand's Ministry of Finance to wrest control of the toll road operator.

“We will in due course negotiate with the Ministry of Finance to acquire the 25 percent stake and we still aspire to do that. It's been difficult in Bangkok lately and we're waiting for that to calm down before we engage in discussions," Nicol said.

Working under a 27-year concession ending in 2034, DMT operates a 21.9-kilometer six-lane elevated toll road stretching from Din Daeng in central Bangkok past Don Muang Airport and on to the National Monument in the north of the capital.

Traffic on the toll road has increased since budget airlines began relocating to the airport in October 2012. In the first nine months of 2013, traffic averaged 77,000 vehicles per day on the original toll road.

Expansion is seen as a result of population and economic growth in Bangkok and the full reopening of Don Muang Airport’s Terminal 2 in 2016 as budget airlines continue relocating there.

MPIC has interests in power generation, water distribution, healthcare and tollway operations, the last through unit Metro Pacific Tollways Corp.

- Interaksyon

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