THE MAHARLIKA Investment Fund (MIF) is looking to deploy a portion of its capital to invest in airports and power projects that will bring long-term profits, its top official said on Wednesday.
Rafael Jose D. Consing, Jr., the newly appointed president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Maharlika Investment Corp. (MIC), said the sovereign wealth fund will not be investing in the stock market and instead will focus on building real assets.
“The Maharlika Investment Fund will play a pivotal role in shaping the Philippines’ future, fostering sustainable growth and development across key sectors: tourism infrastructure, agro-urbanism, energy security, and digital infrastructure,” he said during his first press conference.
“Through these strategic investments, the MIF will transform the Philippines into a thriving hub of tourism, agriculture, energy, and digital innovation, driving economic prosperity, social progress, and environmental sustainability for generations to come.”
President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Monday appointed Mr. Consing, the executive director of the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Investment and Economic Affairs, as MIC president and CEO. Under this role, he will manage and invest the initial and future contributions to the Philippines’ first sovereign strategic development fund.
He will have to establish a diversified portfolio of investments and other assets that align with the Maharlika fund’s objectives.
Mr. Consing, a former chief financial officer and compliance officer at International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI), said the MIC will be looking at investing in 38 infrastructure projects that have been approved by the NEDA.
He also said four airports have been identified as potential projects of the MIC. These airports include the Bulacan International Airport, Laoag International Airport, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and the Laguindingan International Airport.
The MIC is also looking at investing in roads, bridges and tollroad projects.
“We will have to undertake those studies and see which of those would deliver the most immediate impact, the one that’s immediately needed, and third, the one that’s actually going to have the most impact in terms of socioeconomic development and generating, hopefully, commerce in those areas,” Mr. Consing said.
He said the MIC also intends to raise more capital from foreign investors, sovereign wealth funds, and other pension funds through roadshows.
Under the law creating the MIF, state banks Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) are required to contribute PHP 50 billion and PHP 25 billion, respectively, to the initial capital of the fund. The MIC has an authorized capital stock of PHP 500 billion.
“The way to be able to (raise a capital stock of PHP 500 billion) is through government contributions, which they have done, and for us to be able to identify which other assets they can contribute to the fund,” Mr. Consing said.
He cited the Agus Pulangi Hydropower Plants Rehabilitation Project (APRP) and the Caliraya-Botocan-Kalayaan (CBK) hydroelectric power plant as government assets that can be rehabilitated and redeveloped before being sold.
“What we’d like to do is to be able to convince the government to allow us for (those assets) to be contributed into Maharlika. We will assist in its rehabilitation through a technical partner, perhaps,” he said. “Once you have been able to achieve that level of optimal capacity, then we will start monetizing these assets.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Consing hopes the MIC Board positions will be filled in the next 30 to 60 days.
“First is we will hire a world-class professional and management team hired on the basis of what they call three Is: integrity, intelligence, and initiative. In that order,” he said.
Mr. Consing also said the board members must also be “rigorous and transparent.”
Mr. Marcos and Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno have both assured that the fund will be operational before yearend. — Keisha B. Ta-asan