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Enrique Razon Jr, the billionaire behind casino and port investments, has increased his stake in Manila Water by purchasing an additional 14.5 billion pesos ($252 million) worth of shares from Ayala Corp. Razon, through his investment vehicle Trident Water, acquired a 23.6% stake in Manila Water common shares and will also purchase 1.6 billion pesos of preference shares over the next five years. This move aligns with Ayala Corp’s strategy to raise 50 billion pesos from portfolio rationalization initiatives.

After the completion of the transaction, Ayala Corp will no longer hold common shares in Manila Water, but will still have a 12% economic stake through preferred shares until it drops to zero by 2029. As one of the oldest conglomerates in the Philippines with interests in banking, property, and telecommunications, Ayala Corp has been divesting its stake in Manila Water in recent years. Razon took control of the water utility in 2021 when Trident acquired part of Ayala’s shares.

Razon, whose wealth comes from International Container Terminal Services Inc and Bloomberry casino operator, has been expanding his infrastructure portfolio. Through Prime Capital Infrastructure, he is working on a dam project that could increase Manila Water’s capacity by 30% and developing new deepwater wells in the Malampaya gas fields. With a net worth of $10.3 billion, Razon is one of the wealthiest individuals in the Philippines.

The transactions with Ayala Corp are part of Razon’s continued investment in Manila Water, which supplies water to seven million residents in Metro Manila’s eastern region. The purchase of additional shares reflects Razon’s confidence in the utility company’s potential for growth and expansion. By increasing his stake in Manila Water, Razon is solidifying his position as a major player in the water infrastructure sector in the Philippines.

As Razon strengthens his hold on Manila Water, he is also contributing to the country’s water infrastructure development. The projects he is undertaking, such as the dam and deepwater wells, are aimed at improving water supply and distribution in Metro Manila. Razon’s investments in Manila Water not only benefit his business interests but also have a positive impact on the community by ensuring access to clean and reliable water services for residents in the region.

With Razon’s increased involvement in Manila Water, the utility company is poised for further growth and development under his leadership. By leveraging his expertise in infrastructure investments and strategic vision, Razon can drive Manila Water towards achieving its goals of expanding capacity, improving efficiency, and enhancing service quality. As a key player in the water sector, Razon’s commitment to investing in Manila Water demonstrates his dedication to supporting sustainable development and enhancing the quality of life for residents in Metro Manila.

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