San Miguel buys busiest Philippine toll road thanks to joint venture bid


MANILA — San Miguel Corp., one of the Philippines’ top conglomerates, said Wednesday it had taken control of the country’s busiest toll road system after buying into Malaysian and Indonesian operators. The company told the stock exchange that it had bought a majority interest in the firm that owns the concession to the South Luzon tollway as well as the firm that operates and maintains the road. It said its wholly owned unit San Miguel Holdings Corp. and its joint venture with Citra Group of Indonesia, Atlantic Aurum, had acquired 80 percent of South Luzon Tollway Corp and 60 percent of Manila Tollway Express Systems.

The 36-kilometer (22.4-mile) tollway connects Manila to the southern provinces of the main island of Luzon. The Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper said Wednesday that the transactions were worth 20 billion pesos (US$454.5 million), but San Miguel did not disclose the cost of the deal. San Miguel also holds a stake in an elevated 15-kilometer toll road called Skyway that is controlled by Citra Group and which runs above part of the South Luzon tollway. San Miguel, which is diversifying into infrastructure and energy investments from its brewing roots, earlier said it was contemplating raising its stake in Atlantic Aurum to acquire majority control of the Skyway concession.