Asiatrust seeks new investors, ventures as holdings company

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MANILA, Philippines – After selling its banking operations to the Asia United Bank, the publicly listed shell company that once held thrift bank Asiatrust Development Bank is in search of new investors and business ventures.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday, Asiatrust said its board has approved the issuance of new shares of not more than 10 percent of outstanding capital stock “in anticipation of new business ventures as a holdings company.”

The board also approved prospective investments in new business ventures with new or existing companies, opening the possibility of backdoor listing.

Asiatrust ceased to be a banking entity last year after AUB acquired its banking assets and liabilities excluding the trust business. The deal was structured this way – via the purchase of assets rather than company shares – so that Asiatrust’s shareholders would still be left with the shell company.  Asiatrust shareholders thus kept the publicly listed holding company but gave up the banking license.

Asiatrust’s shareholders can now unlock some values out of the listed holding company by either selling it to new investors that are searching for a backdoor listing ticket on the local stock exchange or infusing non-banking-related businesses into it.

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