Home » Customs & Trade » If it can’t get controlling share

Metro Pacific wants out of North Harbor venture

METRO Pacific Investments Corp (MPIC), the local unit of Hong Kong’s First Pacific Co, is looking at selling its stake in Manila North Harbour Port Inc (MNHPI) to the Romero family if it fails to secure a majority stake in the venture.

MPIC owns 35% of MNHPI while the Romeros’ Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc owns the balance. MNHPI holds a 25-year contract to operate, manage and modernize the North Harbor.

Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan who heads MPIC said the company is negotiating with the Romero family to gain a controlling stake in MNHPI, but the latter seems unwilling.

“That’s good for the business of Metro if it controls North Harbor. If we can’t achieve that, it’s best for us to withdraw from the business. It’s really quite simple. They could buy us out,” Pangilinan was quoted last week.

But earlier HCPTI president Michael Romero already said, “Our family has been in the ports operation business for more than a decade and giving a majority stake to MPIC will be against our commitment to modernize the dilapidated North Harbor port, which is the principal concern of Harbour Centre to the public.”

Romero added, “The group is exploring all available means to resolve the issue beneficial to both parties,” noting he hopes Pangilinan “stays in the port industry.”

Recently, the Romeros announced plans to form a new holding company — likely to be called Harbour Centre Holdings Inc — for all its port concerns that will be listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange by yearend. The family hopes to raise as much as P1.5 billion from the activity to fund overseas expansion.

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