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Salim-Backed Metro Pacific Poised To Invest $427 Million In Philippine Solar Firm

Metro Pacific Investments—the Philippine unit of billionaire Anthoni Salim’s First Pacific—said Monday it will invest as much as 23.8 billion pesos ($427 million) to become the biggest shareholder of solar energy firm SP New Energy.

The company—which has investments in energy, water and toll roads in the Philippines—has completed the acquisition of 1.6 billion shares for 2 billion pesos, giving it an initial 16% stake in SP New Energy.

As part of the transaction, which was first announced in March, Metro Pacific signed options to buy up to 10 billion common shares and as much as 7.4 billion secondary shares at 1.25 pesos each, for an additional investment of 21.8 billion pesos. Once these options are fully exercised, Metro Pacific will become the largest shareholder of SP New Energy with an almost 43% stake.

Led by its chairman Leandro Leviste, a Forbes Asia 30 Under 30 alumnus, SP New Energy parent Solar Philippines aims to build 10 gigawatts of solar-generated electricity across the country by 2025. Besides Metro Pacific, the company has also partnered with Philippine ports and casino billionaire Enrique Razon’s Prime Infrastructure and Ayala Corp‘s ACEN to undertake some of these projects.

Metro Pacific—which has a stake in the Manila Electric Co., the largest electricity distributor in the country—has been investing in clean energy projects as the Philippines aims to source 35% of its electricity supply from renewables by 2030 . It has a separate partnership with Solar Philippines to build about 3 gigawatts of solar energy capacity over the next five years.

Its latest investment in SP New Energy comes as Metro Pacific’s main shareholders—Salim’s First Pacific and GT Capital, the holding company of the late Philippine banking tycoon George Ty—seeks to take the conglomerate private in a deal valuing Metro Pacific at 133 billion pesos.

Apart from Metro Pacific, Salim’s First Pacific also has an interest in Philippine telecommunications giant PLDT. With a net worth of $7.5 billion, Salim and his family are the fifth richest in Indonesia, according to the ranking published by Forbes Asia in December. The family also has stakes in Infofood—Indonesia’s largest noodle maker—banking, retail and coal mining.

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