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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Macquarie unit, others to invest in $600-M PHL infra fund

A unit of Australia's Macquarie Group will invest in a Philippine infrastructure fund that may hold around $600 million, and two more institutional investors are expected to follow, Manila's biggest state pension fund said on Monday.
Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) intends to pay $50 million into the previously-announced fund, called the Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure, which is due for launch in July, said Robert Vergara, president of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
MIRA was also appointed manager of the fund after a nine-month selection process, Vergara said.
GSIS, which will be the lead investor in the fund, said in February it would put in $300 million for financing public-private partnership (PPP) initiatives in transport, energy, power, water, environment and communications.
"We are looking at power, roads, potentially water, and few social infrastructure like school buildings," Vergara said.
The balance of the fund will be taken up by other foreign institutional investors, which Vergara did not name, adding the full amount may rise to $600-$625 million.
"A 25 billion pesos ($575 million) fund is at stake here, the biggest fund set aside for infrastructure in the country," President Benigno Aquino said in a speech at the state pension fund's anniversary.
"Apart from the service that this will deliver, this will spur further growth of the economy and will create more jobs," he said.
Manila is aiming to roll out at least eight PPP projects this year worth around P130 billion, including new airports, an expressway, and a water supply project.
The PPP program is the centerpiece of the government's plan to improve its decrepit infrastructure, promote growth, and attract more investment.
The Philippines is targeting growth of 5-6 percent this year after a 3.7 percent expansion last year, according to the government.
"We are pleased to partner with GSIS... particularly at a time of strong economic growth in the country," Frank Kwok, senior managing director of MIRA, was quoted as saying in a statement released by GSIS.  —Reuters

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