• MPIC hospital group puts IPO plan on hold

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    METRO Pacific Hospital Holdings Inc. (MPHHI), the hospital arm of infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), is putting its initial public offering (IPO) plans on hold in order to strengthen its portfolio of hospitals and clinics before debuting on the market.

    “We have put that on hold because we are trying to develop the expansion projects of the hospital group so when we offer it to the public, it is a better story. It is a more complete hospital and healthcare group,” Jose Ma. K. Lim, MPIC president, told reporters last week.

    The group had announced plans to conduct an IPO back in 2015, setting a tentative share sale after the May 2016 elections.

    The company’s current expansion program involves building a network of 25 to 30 hospitals over the next decade and opening 30 more primary care clinics in the five years.

    Building hospitals from scratch veers from the group’s original strategy of acquiring hospitals for expansion. Lim said this is because of the limited number of hospitals that are up for sale.

    Lim said the company is considering building two hospital towers in Manila — a general hospital and a children’s hospital with about 100 beds each.

    He said the expansion will be financed mostly by their Singaporean stakeholder GIC.

    “I know they will continue to have funding from GIC’s entry so they do have some available funds for the expansion projects,” the MPIC president said.

    MPIC: No near-term capital raising

    Meanwhile, MPIC on Thursday debunked market speculation of a near-term capital raising, citing its capability to finance its projects.

    “It has come to our attention that there is increasing speculation in the market that MPIC will conduct a capital raising exercise in the near term,” MPIC said in a disclosure to the PSE on Thursday.

    “Please be informed that the MPIC management has decided that it is not necessary for MPIC to conduct a capital raising exercise in the near future. The continued expansion of MPIC is to be funded through a combination of internal resources and external borrowing,” it said.

    MPIC, which earlier announced a capital expenditure budget of P79 billion for this year, has extensive expansion plans across its business segments.

    It plans to add 800 buses to its current network of 80 point-to-point buses in the next few months.

    It is also looking for a new foreign partner to bid for the unbundled regional airport projects under the government’s public-private partnership (PPP) scheme after its former partner Aeroports de Paris pulled out. The company said it is “still interested” in bidding for the regional airport projects but only for the Davao and Iloilo airports.

    MPIC is also currently working on its unsolicited proposal to develop Clark International Airport as an alternative gateway.

    Manny V. Pangilinan-led MPIC is the investment holding company of First Pacific Company Ltd. and has investments in water utilities (Maynilad Water Services Inc.), toll roads (Metro Pacific Tollways Corp and Manila North Tollways Corp.), power and electricity distribution (Beacon Electric, Global Business Power Corp. and Meralco), healthcare services (MPHHI), and railway, logistics and ticketing (Light Rail Manila Corp. and MetroPac Movers Inc.).

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