Tycoon Manny Pangilinan sees great potential in investing in agriculture and nuclear energy
MANILA, Philippines – Tycoon Manny Pangilinan is looking at investments in priority sectors of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., particularly agriculture, infrastructure, and nuclear energy.
In a media briefing of Pangilinan’s Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) on Wednesday, August 3, he said the group is a “late bloomer” in agriculture, but is now realizing the potential of the sector.
Pangilinan already has business interests in sugar and has expanded into the dairy industry. Last June, MPIC acquired a majority stake in Carmen’s Best Group, which is known for dairy and ice cream products.
“Agriculture is a new business for us and offers a new frontier for investments,” Pangilinan said.
MPIC is also looking at business opportunities in other crops like coconut and corn, as well as greenhouse farming for vegetables.
Pangilinan said they are also considering investing more in tourism and tollways outside Metro Manila.
However, he is not so keen on railway projects, which is Marcos’ priority for transport infrastructure. MPIC has a stake in the Light Rail Transit Line 1 alongside the Ayala Group, but has faced financial issues amid fare hike proposals and arbitration.
In the same briefing, Manila Electric Company (Meralco) president and chief executive officer Ray Espinosa said the group is “seriously studying various technologies” in nuclear energy.
Espinosa noted that they are looking into the potential of “small” nuclear plants.
Meralco is aiming to be coal-free by 2050 and is looking at both renewables and nuclear power.
The power distributor committed some 1,500 megawatts of renewables over the next five years to bring renewable energy to a 29% share of its total supply mix.
Marcos is banking on private sector participation for costly infrastructure projects.
But with the current uncertainties in regulation and external shocks, what will it take for the private sector to invest more?
When asked about their wish list of reforms that Marcos should pursue, MPIC chief finance officer Chaye Cabal-Revilla said the group “would appreciate it if the government respects the agreements” in public-private partnerships.
Rodrigo Franco, Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation president and CEO, wishes for “more consistency in government policies.”
Franco noted that national budget allocation and private capital go hand in hand to prevent project delays. – Rappler.com