Infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. expects to complete the delisting process this year despite the delay in tender offer because of the need to select a new independent financial adviser.
MPIC chairman and chief executive Manuel Pangilinan said in an interview at the sidelines of the company’s annual stockholders meeting the MPIC bidders would have to select a new independent financial adviser after the Philippine Stock Exchange did not confirm the independence of the financial adviser earlier appointed to create the valuation report.
“The issue was the one that was hired is not independent enough. Because as I understand it, they have done work with other shareholders of MPIC, First Pacific and GT Capital,” Pangilinan said.
“The bidders will have to appoint a new independent financial adviser so it is back to square one,” he said.
The consortium of bidders that plan to take MPIC private earlier requested to defer the shareholders’ vote on its delisting to a later date as the valuation report had yet to be finalized.
The consortium consists of Metro Pacific Holdings Inc., GT Capital Holdings Inc., Mit-Pacific Infrastructure Holdings Inc. of Japan’s Mitsui and MIG Holdings Inc. of Pangilinan.
To qualify for delisting, 95 percent of all common shares of company including existing shareholders should accept the tender offer. If this threshold is not achieved, Pangilinan said MPIC would have to remain a public company unless the condition is waived by the PSE.
Pangilinan also reiterated that while MPIC is a publicly-listed firm, it was not able to raise public funds for many years now because its share price was undervalued.
“We have believed the intrinsic value of MPIC’s investments in infrastructure in Philippines has not been fully reflected in share price in many years,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan said MPIC was relying on debt to fund its expansion program for many years. However this strategy is not sustainable over the long term especially during the current high interest environment.
“We are really in a dilemma how to fund the growth in order to add more value to the company knowing that share price is undervalued,” Pangilinan said.