MetroPac’s hospital unit eyes IPO in 2016

Infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. said Friday it may consider listing its hospital business through initial public offering, after next year’s national elections.

Metro Pacific president and chief executive Jose Ma. Lim said the conglomerate received offers from local and foreign banks to underwrite the IPO of the hospital business of the group.

Lim said because of the upcoming elections and current volatility in the equities market, the group might consider doing the IPO after the May elections.

“It [hospital group] has reached a scale that has attracted financial advisors because they are the ones that came to us. We certainly didn’t go out to ask for them,” Lim said.

“But we are not convinced this is the right time because of the election, but we’ve received offers from some banks,” he said.

Metro Pacific, under unit Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings Inc., operates a chain of private hospitals with a combined 2,244 beds.

The conglomerate targets to expand this to 5,000 hospital beds over the next couple of years through acquisition and expansion of existing hospital facilities, with an annual net income of P1.5 billion.

Under the plan, Metro Pacific’s hospital group plans to acquire two hospitals annually and  expand existing hospital facilities by another 700 to 800 beds.

Metro Pacific took in  Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund as its strategic partner for its hospital business in 2014.

The partnership saw GIC acquiring 14.4-percent stake in Metro Pacific’s hospital business worth P3.7 billion.

Lim said GIC was aware of Metro Pacific’s direction to list its hospital business.

Metro Pacific currently operates and manages nine hospitals under its portfolio, including Davao Doctors Holdings Inc., Western Mindanao Medical Center in Zamboanga City, Makati Medical Center, Asian Hospital & Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, De Los Santos Medical Center, Riverside Medical Center in Bacolod and Central Luzon Doctors Hospital in Tarlac.

Metro Pacific Hospital might be the first subsidiary of Metro Pacific to be listed with stock exchange.

Metro Pacific’s tollway group Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., which was previously listed with the local bourse, was delisted in 2013 after it failed to comply with the 10-percent minimum public ownership requirement.

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