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Henry Sy’s son buys into National Grid

March 18, 2010 10:04am
Onetaipan Holdings, controlled by the son of mall tycoon Henry Sy, on Wednesday said it would pay about $350 million to buy a 30-percent interest in the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.

OneTaipan said it would buy Monte Oro Grid Resources, which holds the National Grid stake, using equity and debt arranged by a foreign financial institution that it did not identify.

"The investment represents our commitment to be a part of the power sector, which is a critical engine to the country’s development and growth," Henry Sy Jr. said in a statement.

The National Grid Corp. was formed after the government sold a 25-year license to a consortium led by China’s State Grid Corp to run the country’s power grid for $3.95 billion, the Philippines’ biggest privatization deal.

The consortium paid 25 percent of its winning bid, or about $1 billion, in January 2009, and will pay the balance over the next 15 years. The Chinese firm holds 40 percent of National Grid and local firm Calaca High Power Corp owns 30 percent.

Last year Sy Jr.’s group, Triratna Holdings Corp., made a surprise offer to buy a 13.4-percent stake in top power distributor Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) at a premium of nearly 60 percent. But his offer was matched by the PLDT group, a key shareholder that had priority rights over the shares.

Triratna had also qualified to bid for the National Grid but did not submit an offer.

Sy Jr.’s father is one of the country’s richest men. He controls SM Investments Corp. which has interests in retail, property development, mall operations and banking. — BusinessWorld with Reuters