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Economy

Water unit of Philippines' Ayala eyes Thailand

Conglomerate looks to Southeast Asia to drive growth

MANILA -- Ayala Corp.'s water distribution unit is working on a project in Thailand, a senior company official told the Nikkei Asian Review on Friday, as the group continues its drive into foreign markets.

Listed Manila Water Co. is eyeing a bulk water distribution contract in eastern Thailand, according to the official, who declined to be named because talks are still ongoing.

Thailand could be the fourth foreign market for Manila Water, which earlier clinched water leakage reduction projects in Indonesia and Myanmar, as well as a bulk water supply project in Vietnam. In the Philippines, Manila Water Co. has aggressively pursued projects outside its main concession in the capital, where growth is limited.

Ayala Corp., one of the Philippines most established conglomerates, with interests in financial services, real estate, telecommunications and electronics manufacturing, is counting on the Southeast Asian regional market to drive growth.

Last year, its energy unit and partners acquired Chevron's geothermal assets in Indonesia and in the Philippines. Ayala Land, for its part, is evaluating real estate projects in Myanmar.

Ayala aims to double its net income to 50 billion pesos ($977 million) by 2020 from 2015. Over that period, the company hopes the earnings contribution of its foreign businesses will rise to 10% from 4%.

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