Working in partnership with the government, Metro Pacific Investment Corp.
) is at the forefront of the nation’s infrastructure development. The new administration has sought to develop public-private partnerships to jump start infrastructure development. “MPIC is in a good position to facilitate the government’s goals,” says president and CEO of MPIC Jose Ma. K. Lim.
At the helm of one of the country’s most recognized companies for delivering basic services, Mr. Lim explains: “MPIC has a track record of securing its contractual regulatory returns from the government and delivering to the public the service they deserve. At our portfolio companies, we have improved service delivery by any reasonable metric with more effective management. That is MPIC’s claim to fame: we take problematic companies, turn them around and raise the level of service. These are objectives that we continue to meet on a daily basis.”
Maynilad was in rehabilitation and unable to provide water to 3 million people in its concession. In a little over two years, it has reduced the number of un-served people in its concession by 1 million and recorded a profit of $111 million in 2010. It is investing nearly $1 billion over the next five years to ensure most of the remaining 2 million people are connected while working closely with its regulator to ensure money is spent effectively and prices are not unduly raised for the public.
At Meralco, the largest electricity distributor in the country, the progress can be seen in its financial returns. Under previous ownership, it had been unable to secure its regulatory mandated returns – earning only $61 million in 2008. With the change in ownership, its tariff has now been adjusted to a point that provides it with the financial flexibility to provide an adequate return – earning $283 million in 2010 – while allocating a significant amount for an entry into power generation. Power generation is the largest component of the power bill, at 58%, for consumers. Meralco is best placed to provide consumers with relief from high power costs with its ability to predict the optimum time to invest given its extensive knowledge of consumption patterns.
At the parent company level, MPIC has a five-year investment plan which includes Php25-26 billion ($610 million) for roads and Php3.7 billion for hospitals.
MPIC is extending its road network to improve commerce and convenience. Its flagship project is the connection of the Northern and Southern toll road systems in Luzon, the main island grouping in the country, through the heart of Metro Manila, the country’s largest urban area. It will improve travel from over an hour and a half to less than 20 minutes and, more importantly, allow commercial vehicles to avoid the truck-ban on public roads during certain times of the day, facilitating access to the country’s major ports located within the metropolis.
MPIC develops world-class medical facilities with the acquisition of existing hospitals that are then improved with capital expenditures and professional management. Over three years MPIC acquired five hospitals. Its hospital network is now the largest in the Philippines, present all over the country. The company is looking forward to adding more hospitals to this network with a target of approximately 10 hospitals and a total of 3,000 beds around the country.
MPIC is constantly seeking new areas for development outside an already impressive portfolio. Amongst these new areas are an airport and railway system, both of which service Metro Manila and are in need of investment.
“It is essential for the country to have basic services at a high standard for it to be competitive. If water is not potable, if electricity is too expensive, or if it takes too long to transport goods, we will never be able to compete in an international market,” says Mr. Lim. It is with the expertise of MPIC and the support of government that dreams for change and development will become a reality.
MPIC has a 45% float and a predominantly institutional shareholder base spread globally.