By James Loyola
The Ayala group has taken tycoon Enrique K. Razon Jr. as a partner in its subsidiary Manila Water Company Inc. (MWC) through a strategic P10.66 billion subscription of new shares equivalent to a 25 percent stake.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Ayala said it remains a shareholder of MWC with a stake that is diluted to 38.6 percent.
MWC said Razon’s Prime Metroline Holdings Inc., on behalf of a company called Trident Water which will be incorporated, signed a subscription agreement for the acquisition of 820 million MWC common shares of Manila Water at P13 per share.
“The entry of Prime… as a strategic investor to Manila Water is expected to bolster Manila Water’s ability to provide reliable, efficient, and sustainable water and wastewater services in the East Zone and at the same time pursue growth initiatives both domestically and globally,” MWC said.
The P10.66 billion additional equity capital is expected to strengthen MWC’s balance sheet and allow it to be more agile to pursue its long-term strategic initiatives. Ayala said this will support MWC’s capital spending program to improve the water and wastewater distribution system in Metro Manila’s east zone concession.
“Our partnership with the Razon group will result in clear synergies to achieve Manila Water’s long-term goal of providing sustainable water and wastewater services to our customers in the East Zone of Metro Manila and in the other markets we serve,” Manila Water Chairman Fernando Zobel de Ayala said.
“We are excited to enter into this partnership with the Ayala group,” Razon said. “We will dedicate our efforts to further develop this unique business both here in the Philippines and abroad.
“We are confident that our collective experience, technical capabilities, and corporate synergies will be of great benefit to Manila Water, the people it serves, and its other stakeholders.”