MPIC to increase stake in Thai toll road operator

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MPIC to increase stake in Thai toll road operator

Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd. and its Philippine listed infrastructure subsidiary Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) are seeking to increase its stake in a toll road operator in Thailand, Don Muang Tollway Public Co. Ltd (DMT).

According to sources, Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. President and CEO Ramoncito Fernandez said that First Pacific and MPIC aim to start negotiations to increase their interest in the firm to about 50% by the first half of the next year. Mr Fernandez added that they are waiting for the new government in Thailand to settle down before they start negotiations.

This announcement comes after First Pacific and MPIC recently acquired a 29.45 % stake in the company from the 50-50 joint venture between Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and South East Asian Strategic Assets Fund. First Pacific spent P4.4 billion (US$98.2 million) for a 26.2% stake in the firm and MPIC invested P1.4 billion (US$31.2 million) for the remaining 3.25% interest in DMT.

Other major shareholders of DMT include the Phanichewa Group with 37.1 % and Thailand's Ministry of Finance with 25.1 %.

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 grown 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.

The 27-year road concession ends in 2034.

First Pacific and MPIC are also looking at participating in the first PPP project in Vietnam the Dau Giay - Phan Thiet Expressway. The project includes the design, finance, construction, operation and maintenance of a 100 km four lane expressway from Dau Giay to Phan Thiet. The total project investment is estimated at US$757 million. At the moment the project is on hold indefinitely due to ownership disputes.

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