Alphaland seeks lifting of trading suspension

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MANILA, Philippines—Upscale property developer Alphaland Corp. has beefed up its public ownership to meet the 10-percent minimum requirement of the Philippine Stock Exchange for continued listing.

Alphaland—the property arm of former Trade Minister Roberto Ongpin and British fund Ashmore —has asked the PSE to allow the resumption of trading of the firm’s shares.

“We have complied and we have written the PSE to lift the suspension,” company president Mario Oreta said in a phone interview.

Alphaland was among the seven companies suspended by the PSE last week for failing to meet the minimum public ownership requirement as of Dec. 31, 2012, the deadline set by the bourse. Alphaland then had a public float of only 8.03 percent.

Shortly after the holidays, Alphaland’s key shareholders placed out additional shares to comply with the requirement. Singapore-based holding firm Alphaland Holdings sold the stake, Oreta said.

The others covered by the PSE suspension are Southeast Asia Cement Holdings Inc., PAL Holdings Inc., Allied Banking Corp., San Miguel Brewery Inc., PNOC Exploration Corp. and San Miguel Properties Inc.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue earlier issued a revenue regulation lifting the preferential tax rates on trades of companies under suspension, even if they remained listed. In contrast to the 5-10 percent capital gains tax imposed on stock trades of companies outside the exchange, trades coursed through the PSE are subject to stock transaction tax of only 0.50 percent of the transaction value.

Meanwhile, a group advocating the rights of minority investors has urged the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Bureau of Internal Revenue to recall the orders that led to the trading suspension.

Shareholders’ Association of the Philippines (SharePHIL), in a Dec. 28 letter, asked the SEC to reconsider its “blanket denial” of applications for the extension of the grace period by noncompliant companies.

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