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Ayala Land gains edge over SM for Ortigas firm

Ayala Land president and CEO Antonino Aquino. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Property giant Ayala Land Inc., through its Ortigas allies, has gained the edge over the Henry Sy group’s SM Investments Corp. in their rivalry for control of the Ortigas clan’s flagship property firm following more than a year of legal conflict that has revealed deep divisions in one of the country’s oldest landed families.

According to Inquirer sources with direct knowledge of the matter, the Ayala Land-backed Rafael Ortigas group, with support from the Catholic Church, has cornered five out of nine seats on the board of the Ortigas clan’s OCLP (Ortigas & Company Limited Partnership) Holdings following a general meeting on Friday.

But the saga is far from over as more legal action is expected between the Rafael Ortigas group and the faction allied with SM Investments, the Fernando Ortigas group, as the latter zeroes in on alleged violations of binding agreements between the two family camps, the sources said.

At stake are at least 55 hectares of prime land owned by OCLP Holdings, the developer of the Greenhills Shopping Center and parts of the Ortigas Business District.

Ayala Land, a full-range builder and already one of the country’s most successful developers of mixed-use projects, is seeking to further cement its position as a leading developer of central business districts.

SM Investments, owner of the country’s biggest shopping mall operator and its largest bank, is also aggressively expanding its property holdings.

The situation has been in a stalemate for more than a year as neither of the two Ortigas factions owns a controlling stake in OCLP Holdings.

Based on the previous count, the Rafael Ortigas group has about 47 percent against more than 40 percent held by the Fernando Ortigas camp, not including the shares held by minority stockholders.

One source claimed that the Catholic Church, the single biggest non-Ortigas family member shareholder, had given its “full support” for the Rafael Ortigas group.

“These developments were set into motion early last year when SM Investments agreed to buy the 34-percent stake of exiting shareholder HSBC. The deal, worth about $1 billion, also included the shares of both Fernando and Rafael camps,” the source said.

However, the Rafael Ortigas group, which initially gave its consent, backed out of the deal and switched alliances to Ayala Land, which it took as its strategic partner in June.

Joselito Santos, general manager at OCLP Holdings, did not immediately return calls asking for comment.

SM Investments’ chief financial officer Jose Sio also did not comment.

“We understand the annual stockholder meeting elected directors representing all sides of the Ortigas family proportionate to their shareholdings,” Ayala Land president Antonino Aquino said in a text message.

Aquino did not confirm whether the Rafael Ortigas group, their strategic partner, had the backing of the Catholic Church.

Friday’s meeting, postponed at least two times this year by court orders, has been controversial as the Fernando Ortigas faction said it violated an existing shareholders’ agreement signed by the two camps on Oct. 23, 2010.

The meeting was allegedly in violation of the agreement, which requires that a common slate for the board, including the president, should have been agreed upon by both sides.

But during Friday’s meeting, a new president and treasurer were elected by the Rafael Ortigas camp without this prior agreement, one source said. The Fernando Ortigas group is set to take “legal action” because of this, the same source said.

The Fernando Ortigas camp wants both groups to enter into arbitration proceedings, which would be in line with the shareholders’ agreement.

This agreement was partly designed to prevent a scenario where one faction can gain control of OCLP Holdings without the other’s consent, meaning both parties have to come to an agreement first to break any impasse. Miguel R. Camus

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Tags: Ayala Land Inc. , Fernando Ortigas , Greenhills Shopping Center , Henry Sy , OCLP , Ortigas , Ortigas & Company Limited Partnership Holdings , Ortigas Business District , Ortigas clan , Rafael Ortigas , SM Investments Corp.

  • joboni96

    kastilaloys JUNTAR
    contra el intsik switik

    • osoconglo

      @joboni96 If the kastilaloys were really united against another race (and maybe racist like you), there wouldn’t be any fight over control of the Ortigas property firm. They would have just sold it to Ayala outright.

      • joboni96

        pro pilipino lang osoglo
        not racist

  • Chrisnadal19

    Church leaders = oligarchs?

  • Franzeline Perdubal

    Miguel Camus, Inquirer’s writer of this piece, has forgotten that a group of priest does not constitute the Catholic Church. This is a business transaction, Miguel Camus.

    THe article was used to malign the Catholics more than discuss the issues of the Ortigas clans. Camus has written a lot about SM and I will not be surprised if he is a paid hack.

    BUt again, I’d rather see more Ayala Land development than irresponsible development from SM that doesnt care about how it adversely impacts the people around their malls.

    • juan_luisjr

      well said. Thank you for your insights and reaction. Hope people understand it better. I also believe Ayala is hands down better than the SM group.

    • http://pinayshopper.blogspot.com/ PinayShopper2010

      why? they just noted who the major stockholders are… nothing wrong in there
      so the Catholic Church has shares… they do have properties and money too
      better spruce up your knowledge about the Catholic Chruch
      both SM and Ayala are good companies who gives jobs to more Filipinos than any of the government or the church combines. do you also have an issue with that?

  • damuhoka

    Sana ngyon maintindihan nang taong bayan kung bakit napaka-influential ng Simbahang Katoliko sa gobyerno. Hindi dahil sa ‘moral aristocracy’ na parating sagot ng cbcp whenever a press release is given, but the power of money. Money makes our politicians listen.

  • daniboy2012

    ang mga pareng kato-likos ay mga buwitre!!!

  • efriend



    >>>According to Inquirer sources with direct knowledge of the matter, the Ayala Land-backed Rafael Ortigas group, with support from the Catholic Church, has cornered five out of nine seats on the board of the Ortigas clan’s OCLP (Ortigas & Company Limited Partnership) Holdings following a general meeting on Friday.<<<

    GALING talaga ng catholic church sa NEGOSYO. Sa NEGO$YO talaga magaling ang catholic church. Yan ang pinakaaalagaan nilang a$$et…ang NEGO$YO….pagpapalago ng pera, salapi, at kwarta. Yong iba pang bagay? Barya na lang yon. :)

  • hustlergalore

    One source claimed that the Catholic Church, the single biggest non-Ortigas family member shareholder, had given its “full support” for the Rafael Ortigas group.

    - ang bongga bongga talaga ng simbahan na ito! money money money! simbahan ng money! mas tumatak sa isip ko ang pagkakasangkot ng catholic church kaysa dun sa away ng pamilya! hahahahahaha

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