Manila-listed Metro Pacific planning to sell stake in $2b hospital unit

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Metro Pacific Investments Corp., the Philippine venture of billionaire Anthoni Salim’s First Pacific Co., is preparing to kick off the sale of a stake in its hospital unit that could value the business at more than $2 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Manila-listed conglomerate plans to formally start a sale process next month, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. It is working with Bank of America Corp. to gauge interest from potential investors, which could include buyout firms and regional health-care companies, the people said.

Metro Pacific is separately working with UBS Group AG on preparations for a possible IPO of the business as part of a so-called dual track process, one of the people said. The unit runs about 15 hospitals and clinics in the Philippines, according to its website.

“The selldown process will start soon,” Metro Pacific Chairman Manuel Pangilinan said in a mobile-phone message. The company hasn’t yet set an asking price, he said. Representatives for Bank of America and UBS declined to comment.

Metro Pacific Chief Financial Officer David Nicol said in March the conglomerate may raise 15 billion pesos ($288 million) to 20 billion pesos from selling a stake in the hospital business. The company was still evaluating if the fundraising would come from a private placement or IPO, and a deal could come late this year or early 2020, Nicol said at the time.

Besides hospitals, Metro Pacific has interests in power, toll roads and water with holdings in Manila Electric Co., Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Philippine Hydro Inc., according to its website.