First Pacific and MPIC acquire stake in Thailand's toll road

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First Pacific and MPIC acquire stake in Thailand's toll road

Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd. and its Philippine listed infrastructure subsidiary Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) are investing US$132 million to acquire a 29.45 % stake in a toll road operator in Thailand, Don Muang Tollway Public Co. Ltd.

For the Don Muang Tollway venture, First Pacific will finance US$100 million while Metro Pacific will use internal cash to fund its share of US$32 million.

Don Muang Tollway 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. The company's concession ends in 2034, the filing showed.

The vendor of the toll road stake is a 50-50 joint venture between Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and South East Asian Strategic Assets Fund. Other major shareholders of DMT include the Phanichewa Group with 37.1 % and Thailand's Ministry of Finance with 25.1 %.

Based on the statement, traffic on the toll road has risen 10 % in the year since budget airlines began relocating to the airport in October 2012. In the first nine months of 2013 traffic averaged 77,000 vehicles a day on the original toll road."Further growth 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," the statement said.

First Pacific managing director and chief executive officer Manuel V. Pangilinan said in a statement that the company is seeing more opportunities outside the infrastructure market of the Philippines. Pangilinan said:

"We welcome the prospect of diversifying our investments as we continue to seek strong and steady returns for our shareholders."

"We are strong believers in the growth potential for emerging Asia in the years ahead and we are hopeful of making further investments in the near term to enable our shareholders to take part in the region's growth."

Investment management and holding firm First Pacific has focused on the economies of emerging Asia. It has investments in telecommunications, infrastructure and mining companies in the Philippines, food in Indonesia, and gas-fired power plant in Singapore.

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