Metro Pacific raises $200m from top-up

Metro Pacific takes advantage of a rising Manila stock market to raise capital via a share placement.

Metro Pacific Holdings raised $200 million by selling shares on Monday as it became the latest Philippine company to take advantage of the Manila stock market's sizzling start to the year.

The accelerated top-up offering comprised 1.8 billion shares in listed subsidiary Metro Pacific Investment Corp. priced at Ps4.90 per unit, towards the lower end of the indicative price range of Ps4.85 to Ps5.10 per unit, according to a term sheet seen by FinanceAsia.

The shares in Metro Pacific Investment Corp -- a company with a range of utility, real estate, and healthcare interests -- were priced at a 6.5% discount to their pre-weekend closing price.

The deal was well covered when books closed before 10pm on Monday night Hong Kong time, with over 40 lines participating in the deal.

A significant chunk was placed with domestic institutions but a couple of substantial orders were also received just before the close from large global funds in the US and Europe, according to a source close to the deal.

The final book was a mix of long-only institutional investors, hedge funds and domestic funds, skewed towards long-only investors, a second source said. 

The top five investors accounted for over 50% of the deal although allocations were still being finalised late on Monday.

UBS was the sole bookrunner on the deal.

Shares in Metro Pacific Investments are trading at 16.38 times the company's 2014 earnings and are up about 13.5% so far this year.

It is one of a handful of deals already seen in the Philippines this year. The country's benchmark PSE Composite Index is up 7% year-to-date, making it one of the region's strongest performers.

Investors and analysts expect the fuel import-dependant Philippine economy to receive a welcome boost from the slump in oil prices. Global crude oil prices have lost more than half their value in seven months, plummeting from more than $100 a barrel to less than $46 a barrel in January. Despite a rebound so far in February, the outlook for the market remains cautious.

Metro Pacific Investments, a unit of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Company Holdings, has controlling interests in the Manila Electric Company and Maynilad Water Services. 

It also has rail, road and real estate interests and aims to boost its presence in the healthcare industry by acquiring more than 10 hospitals in the Philippines, according to media reports.

Philippine issuers have recently been taking advantage of the country's stock market, one of the few bright spots in Asia.

Ayala Land, the Philippine property developer, raised $350 million from a top-up of shares on January 10, while First Gen Corp secured $57 million, also in January.

Conglomerate JG Summit followed suit by securing $200 million in an accelerated share placement on January 22. Then on February 2, Grand Titan Capital, which is controlled by the family of banking and automobile tycoon George SK Ty, secured $222 million after selling 8.715 million shares in GT Capital, another one of the country's conglomerates.

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