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Metro Pacific shares extend gains on deal speculation

MANILA – Philippines’ Metro Pacific Investments Corp said on Wednesday it had not entered into any “definitive” agreement with foreign investors, after shares in the infrastructure conglomerate were boosted by market rumors of a potential deal.

Metro Pacific shares rose by as much as 5% in early trade to reach the highest in nearly 14 months, extending a 7.8% surge on Tuesday.

The share rally came after speculation of the potential entry of a foreign investor or a plan to take the group private, said April Lee-Tan, head of research at online brokerage firm COL Financial in Manila. “After all, stock is super cheap”.

Philippine website Bilyonaryo reported on Tuesday that Japan’s Mitsui was interested in buying a state of up to 20% in Metro Pacific.

“We meet with many interested investors with our current portfolio given our strong and stable performance,” Metro Pacific said in a statement to Reuters. “But we have not entered into any definitive agreement with anyone.”

Metro Pacific, which has interests in power, water, hospitals and toll roads, is a unit of First Pacific Co Ltd, which is owned by Indonesian tycoon Anthoni Salim.

A Mitsui & Co spokesperson in Tokyo declined to comment on a reported deal.

“We are aware of the report, but we decline to comment,” he said. — Reuters

Note: MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of First Pacific, the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls.

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