UBS buys 2.5M more shares of Pure Foods

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European investment bank UBS AG is buying 2.5 million shares of San Miguel Pure Foods Co. Inc., exercising 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 exercised the option to take up more shares in Purefoods, which placed out last month 25 million secondary common shares formerly held by parent 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 continued 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 outstanding shares.

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

Purefoods shares were last traded at P244 per share on the stock exchange on Friday (+0.99 percent), giving it a market capitalization of P40.27 billion.

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.

San Miguel Purefoods posted flat net profits in the first nine months due to high raw material and distribution costs but earnings picked up pace in third quarter given an improved operating environment and increased efficiency.

The company’s January to September net profit attributable to parent equity holders amounted to P2.96 billion, up from P2.94 billion in the same period last year. For the third quarter, alone, its net profit surged by 31.6 percent year-on-year to P1.23 billion. The company said the softening of certain raw material prices, improved production efficiencies and favorable supply-demand environment in hog meat and chicken boosted the bottomline.

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