Harbour Centre Eyes IPO in 2nd Half of ’08

Harbour Centre Eyes IPO in 2nd Half of ’08

Philippines Daily Inquirer

By Elizabeth Sanchez-Lacson

Raising P3B for expansion

Filed Under: Financing, Stock Offerings, Stock Activity

MANILA, Philippines–Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc., the country’s biggest non-containerized port operator, said it was looking at a possible initial public offering (IPO) of stock to generate some P3 billion for a plan to acquire port contracts in the Philippines and elsewhere in Asia.

The company is looking at ports in Indonesia and the Middle East and remains interested in the privatization of the Manila North Harbour, Harbour Centre chief executive officer Michael Romero told reporters.

He added that it was bidding for the 25-year concession contract of the Mindanao Container Terminal at the Phividec Industrial Authority MCT Complex in the southern province of Misamis Oriental.

Harbour Centre has partnered with the group of Singapore-based Overseas Port Management Pte. Ltd. (OPM), a group of former Port of Singapore Authority executives that operates two container ports in the Middle East.harbour front port terminal 2

Romero said Harbour Centre might make a public offer of its shares in the second half of the year.

Last August, Harbour Centre and its bidding partner, Metro Pacific Investment Corp., asked the Manila Regional Trial Court to compel the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to proceed with and complete an auction for the contract to operate Manila North Harbor. The bidding process started in July.

Several other companies had expressed interest in the bidding for the contract, among them Asian Terminals Inc., Magsaysay Maritime Corp., Pier 8 Arrastre and Stevedoring Services, and Prudential Customs Brokerage.

Only Harbour Centre, the main bidder, was declared qualified to bid.

Asian Terminals and Prudential were disqualified for lack of eligibility, Magsaysay Maritime backed out, and Pier 8 was a no-show. The situation prompted the PPA to declare the bidding a failure.

Instead of proceeding with the auction or entering into a negotiated sale with the remaining qualified bidder, the PPA decided to hold a new round of bidding, but the schedule has yet to be set.

The case is still pending with the Manila Regional Trial Court. Edited by INQUIRER.net