First Pacific coy on listing rumours
DUSTY CLAYTON and GARETH HEWETT
FIRST Pacific came in with some bumper results on Monday, ahead of analysts' expectations.
Profit attributable was up 38 per cent to $1.02 billion.
In general, analysts and investors were complimentary about the figures.
We were told everything appeared to be on track - the group's strategy was sound with steady steps being taken in four areas: marketing and distribution, property services, banking, and telecommunications.
Then on Wednesday, group managing director Manuel Pagilinan let slip the group was planning, or at least considering, the listing of property group First Pacific Davies.
He said this might not happen for more than a year but the news stunned more than a few brokers who had been keenly watching this conglomerate emerge from the problems of over-expansion about three years ago.
The group had said it would not or was not considering such a listing.
Yesterday group vice-president Derek Murphy re-iterated that First Pacific Davies might be listed at some stage, but that the group had no plans to float it this year.
'It is not on the horizon at present,' he said.
He said there was a greater chance of other parts of the group being listed before First Pacific Davies, but he would not reveal which parts those might be.
He said that the group may decide at some future time to float the company to raise capital or to realise its intrinsic worth.
But for now, he was satisfied with First Pacific Davies' position within the First Pacific group.
'It's a very significant contributor to group profits,' he said.
'It also gives us a high degree of visibility, not only in Hong Kong but throughout Asia.' Now it has to be said that these comments taken together have done very little to clarify anything.
What else might be listed? Why are the listings needed anyway, or is the group going to be strapped for cash on the back of developments at Metro Pacific?