Manila Water Plans to Widen Services in Southeast Asia

  • Expanding in region would help meet goal to double earnings
  • Company already distributes water in parts of Vietnam

Manila Water Co. plans to provide water to industrial parks and offer sanitation services in Southeast Asian countries as it expands to meet a target of doubling earnings in five years.

Manila Water has the expertise for industrial needs as it operates in two of the largest industrial parks in the Philippines, Virgilio “Perry” C. Rivera, chief operating officer for the company’s new business operations, said in an interview in Singapore. “We want to replicate in other Asean countries,” he said, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Entering markets outside the Philippines would help company President Gerardo Ablaza meet its goal to double earnings by 2020 from 2015, when net income rose 2 percent to 5.96 billion pesos ($126 million). The company, one of two main water suppliers in the greater Manila region, has branched out to other parts of the Philippines through six subsidiaries, which are all profitable, Rivera said July 13.

Manila Water fell 1.1 percent to 27.2 pesos at the midday break in Manila trading, paring its gain this year to 13 percent. The Philippine Stock Exchange PSEi Index has advanced 15 percent in the period.

Outside the Philippines, Manila Water distributes water in the Cu Chi district of Ho Chi Minh city. The company is also conducting pilot projects in Yangon, Myanmar, and Bandung in Indonesia, Rivera said.

“While initially the capital cities of Asean countries are attractive, they are also the most difficult to manage,” the executive said. “It is best to look at second-tier markets, prove you can make a difference and from there, you can look at other opportunities.”

(Company corrects to say it operates in industrial parks in second paragraph of story published Thursday.)
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