Marcventures sells 34.5% interest to new investor

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MANILA, Philippines—A new mining investor, through the trust unit of newly listed Philippine Business Bank, has bought 34.5 percent of Marcventures Holdings Inc., becoming the single largest investor in the publicly listed nickel mining firm.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange yesterday, Marcventures said PBB Trust and Investment Center had acquired 600 million shares of the company on June 20.

Industry sources said the block was sold to the trust unit of PBB—the banking arm of Zest-O group founder Alfredo Yao—by the group of Mario Vijungco, the current chairman of Marcventures and the single biggest stockholder.

Vijungco is an entrepreneur previously with business interests in logging, prawn culture, copra trading, and retail/wholesale of heavy equipment spare parts. He owned and operated a logging concession under Ventura Timber Corp., the original holder of the MPSA used by Marcventures.

The buyer is an existing investor and mining operator but no other details were made available, industry sources said. As such, it remains to be seen whether this transaction would result in a merger and acquisition activity or whether there would be any change in Marcventures’ management control.

Through its subsidiary Marcventures Mining & Development Corp. (MMDC), Marcventures holds a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) covering an area of 4,799 hectares in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur. MMDC has identified nickel ore as the primary mineral that will be extracted and sold to third parties, citing the abundance and favorable characteristics of nickel within the mineral property.

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