China Merchants Holdings International's (CMHI) disposal of its mainland toll-road assets has helped its parent form the groundwork for a wider streamlining of business units to raise competitiveness. Details of the restructuring were announced at the weekend. Hong Kong-listed CMHI agreed to inject its interest in five mainland toll roads into Singapore-listed China Merchants Holdings Pacific (CMHP) in exchange for the latter's shares and port investment. The deal brings state-owned China Merchants Group closer to consolidating its toll-road operations. 'The parent company still has a six billion yuan toll-road business. We won't rule out the possibility of putting them into China Merchants Holdings Pacific if the market condition is right,' said Pu Xueqian, CMHI's general manager for strategy and development. 'China Merchants Holdings Pacific may also look to acquire other toll-road business in the market.' Mr Pu stressed that all three parties - CMHI, CMHP and the parent - benefited from the deal. For instance, CMHI will strengthen its port portfolio with a bigger stake in Shenzhen Haixing Harbour Development, which runs Mawan port in Shenzhen West, while CMHP will be given a core business to develop. 'The back-door listing is a well-calculated move,' said Geoffrey Cheng, director of equity research, Daiwa Institute of Research (HK). At the same time, CMHI would be able to retain earnings from the toll-road operation in the immediate term by taking some shares in CMHP, he said. 'It's possible for CMHP to take up more toll-road operations from China Merchants Group by issuing new shares in the market,' Mr Cheng said. On Sunday, CMHI said it would transfer full ownership of Successful Road Corp - which holds the interests of Guiliu Expressway in Guangxi; Guihuang Highway in Guizhou; Luomei Highway in Guangdong; and Ningzhenlou Highway and Yuyao Highway in Zhejiang - valued at HK$2.59 billion, to CMHP. In return, CMHP will issue new shares and transfer its 33 per cent equity interest in Shenzhen Haixing Harbour Development to CMHI.