Trading on Berjaya suspended following buy-in deal into UK car distribution firm

By: Doris C. Dumlao, June 17th, 2013 04:22 PM

MANILA, Philippines–The Philippine Stock Exchange suspended trading on Berjaya Philippines Inc. on Monday following the acquisition by the local unit of Malaysian conglomerate Berjaya of a 29.81 percent stake in London-listed luxury car distribution firm H.R. Owen Group.

Berjaya acquired 7.04 million shares of H.R. Owen, a corporation registered in England and Wales and listed on the London Stock Exchange, for 8.33 million British pounds or an equivalent of about P540.36 million.

H.R. Owen operates a number of vehicle franchises in the prestige and specialist car market such as Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Bugatti, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lotus, Maserati, Mini, Pagani and Rolls-Royce for both sales and after-sales support, predominantly in the London area.

The transaction boosts the car distribution portfolio of Berjaya’s Philippine unit. Earlier, the local firm hatched a deal with Japanese car giant Mazda Motor Corp. to set up a Mazda vehicle distribution business in the Philippines.

The PSE said that after its review of Berjaya’s disclosure, the transaction was deemed to be covered by the rule on substantial acquisitions and reverse takeovers.  This rule states that when an issuer or its subsidiary has merged or consolidation or otherwise acquired an interest in another company whereby such interest is 10 percent or more of the book value of the issuer, trading will be suspended until the terms and conditions of the transaction had been disclosed.

The PSE also requires the submission of details pertaining to the business or project acquired and if applicable, the latest audited financial statements of the acquired company.

The trading suspension was thus sanctioned starting 9 a.m. on Monday pending compliance with the disclosure requirements.

Berjaya Philippines had a market capitalization of P17.36 billion based on its last traded price of P20 per share on June 13.

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