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Metro Pacific keen on acquiring Ayala’s 35% stake in LRT 1 firm

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Metro Pacific Investments Corp. said Tuesday it is keen on acquiring the 35-percent stake of Ayala Corp. in Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC), the private operator of Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1.

“I think in principle, we are [interested] for a number of reasons. One is the possibility of being able to bid for the MRT-3. I understand that the government wants to do what they did with NAIA, because we submitted an original proposal,” MPIC chairman Manuel Pangilinan told reporters. 

“I think they are taking a similar path to NAIA [Ninoy Aquino International Airport] where there was an open bidding. That’s likely to be made in 2025,” Pangilinan said.

MPIC has the right of first refusal on Ayala Corp.’s stake.

“They [Ayala] have signified their intention publicly to divest. And I think it is easier for us to move if it were majority-owned, fully under the control of MPIC,” Pangilinan said.

MPIC owns 35.8 percent of LRMC, while Sumitomo  Corp. and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings Philippines have 19.2 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

LRMC won the bidding for the 11.7-kilometer Cavite extension project and took over the operation of LRT Line 1 on Sept. 12, 2015. LRT Line 1 runs from Baclaran in Pasay City to Munoz in Quezon City.

The company earlier said Phase 1 of the LRT Line 1 Cavite extension was expected to be operational before end of 2024.

Phase 1 covers 7 kilometers of the 11-km. LRT-1 Cavite Extension, including the Redemptorist Station, MIA Station, Asiaworld Station, Ninoy Aquino Station and Dr. Santos Station.

The remaining stations are between Las Piñas and Niog.

Ayala earlier said it expects to raise up to $400 million from the planned divestment of its 35-percent stake in LRMC and remaining 20-percent interest in Manila Water Company Inc.

Sources said the group’s existing partners in these projects are the potential buyers. For LRMC, Metro Pacific has the right of first refusal on Ayala Corp.’s stake.

More strategic investors and private equity funds expressed interest in acquiring Ayala’s shares in the company with the recent fare adjustment at LRT1.


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