By: Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo, as seen on, January 17, 2018 12:13 am

METRO PACIFIC Investments Corp. (MPIC) is looking to close an agreement for a tollways venture in Malaysia this year.

“We hope we could close something within the year,” MPIC Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan told reporters on the sidelines of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines anniversary gala on Jan. 15.

Mr. Pangilinan said MPIC sees Malaysia as the next viable country for an investment in tollways business, after entering the Indonesian market in November. Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) has increased its stake in Indonesia infrastructure holding company PT Nusantara Infrastructure Tbk.

In 2016, MPIC’s talks with a Malaysian company for a 50-kilometer tollway project fell through.

The conglomerate aims to continue its expansion into Southeast Asia and create a “pan-ASEAN” tollway network.

It currently has stakes in in Don Muang Tollway Public Company Limited, a major toll road operator in Bangkok, Thailand, and in CII Bridges and Roads, a firm with road and bridges projects in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

After Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and possibly Malaysia, MPIC is eyeing opportunities in Myanmar, although there are no “visible” opportunities for now, Mr. Pangilinan said.

MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of Hong-Kong based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls.