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Ayala Boosts Manila Water Stake to Almost Half on Growth

Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Ayala Corp. bought 140 million shares in Manila Water Co. from Mitsubishi Corp., boosting its stake in the Philippines’s biggest water utility to almost half.

The 2.8 billion-peso ($63 million) purchase of 5.7 percent of the water company by the country’s oldest business group raises its total holding to almost 49 percent, Ayala said today in a statement. That equates to 20 pesos a share, according to Bloomberg calculations.

“We believe in the long-term growth potential of Manila Water as it continues to expand outside the East Zone of metro Manila into other areas here and abroad,” Ayala President and Chief Operating Officer Fernando Zobel de Ayala said in the statement. Mitsubishi will retain a 1.2 percent stake.

Manila Water shares climbed 3.3 percent to 22.05 pesos, the biggest gain since July 5, trimming this year’s loss to 31 percent. Ayala advanced 2.1 percent while the Philippine Stock Exchange Index rose 2 percent, the most since Oct. 2.

Manila Water, supplier of half the capital’s water, has four local water units and expanded to Vietnam, where it bought two bulk water-supply facilities. A company-led venture just won a 20-year contract to supply water for Cebu City, the country’s oldest city and part of the area struck by Typhoon Haiyan.

To contact the reporter on this story: Norman P. Aquino in Manila at naquino1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Randall Hackley at rhackley@bloomberg.net

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