UBS buying shares in Purefoods

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MANILA, Philippines–European investment bank UBS AG is buying 2.5 million shares of San Miguel Pure Foods Co. Inc. in exercise of the “overallotment” option provided under the food company’s recent equity offering.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Friday, UBS said it had recently exercised the option to take up more shares in Purefoods, which a month ago placed out 25 million secondary common shares erstwhile held by parent company San Miguel Corp. at P240 per share to boost its public ownership.

The P6-billion equity deal widened PureFoods’ public ownership to 15.08 percent from a meager 0.08 percent, meeting the requirement for continuing listing on the local stock exchange. The share sale was arranged by Maybank ATR Kim Eng Financial Corp., Standard Chartered and UBS.

UBS was given the option to take up more shares as the “stabilization agent,” which is mandated to temper price fluctuations. The 2.5 million “overallotment” shares account for about 1.5 percent of the food company’s total oustanding shares.

In line with this, UBS said it had so far purchased 752,780 shares pursuant to price stabilization.

Apart from eliminating the risk of trading suspension and eventual delisting from the PSE for Purefoods, the transaction allowed parent SMC to unlock fresh funds for its expansion.

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