Sore anti-mining groupsBy the staff
Philippine Daily Inquirer
It looks like Malacañang will no longer issue an executive order that will spell out the national policy on mining.
In its place, the Palace is set to issue broad guidelines under a “six-point agenda” that will outline—in broader terms—what it wants to happen.
According to our sources, a consultative meeting was held in Malacañang recently hosted by Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa. Of course, the anti-mining advocates came in full force. Many were not pleased with the proposed wording of the six-point agenda, we hear.
In particular, they were unhappy because they felt the new document was a step back for their cause (they almost had it in the bag with the original mining EO, we’re told).
One of the things they opposed was the concept of “responsible mining” which figures prominently in the document (no such thing as “responsible mining,” they said).
Surprisingly, DENR Secretary Ramon Paje was absent from the meeting (a signal in itself).
At one point, the anti-mining advocates had become so agitated that they had even threatened to withdraw support for President Aquino, if their request for a meeting with him would not be granted.
Their point? The policy framework was unacceptable to them. It looks like the end of cooperation from their side, if that’s the case. Daxim L. Lucas
The Calata dilemma
The Philippine Stock Exchange board spent a great deal of time during its board meeting last week discussing the “unique” situation of Calata Corp., a distributor of agricultural products led by 31-year-old Joseph Calata.
Although Calata’s initial public offering had been approved, the PSE was thrust in a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation when it allowed the IPO to push through sans the secondary portion.
There isn’t any ruling yet prohibiting companies from offering secondary shares (the policy is still under review), and it’s a rule of thumb that policies are not retroactively implemented. So, what more if there’s no policy to speak of in the first place?
Moreover, because Calata’s offering was halved from the originally planned size (when it was asked to drop the secondary offering portion), it won’t meet the 20-percent minimum public ownership required for a company of its size that’s listing on the second board of the stock exchange.
The PSE initially considered withdrawing its green light on Calata, but realized it was not the latter’s fault since it gained approval in the first place. The bourse chose to err on the side of investor protection.
In short, the PSE bent its own policy on minimum offer size requirement for the Calata IPO to push through.
Asked about this, PSE president Hans Sicat yesterday explained: “Because of their unique situation—they’re trying to build the company and have less of a track record—it’s better if you don’t have people exiting [upon listing]. Relative to the rule specific for second board [listing], I think it’s a well thought-of decision.” Doris C. Dumlao
Enter “The Flying B”
Robert Coyiuto Jr. is at it again.
After his PGA Cars last year bagged the dealership for luxury sports car brand Lamborghini, it’s now adding the venerable Bentley to its list of luxury car brands, becoming its sole authorized importer.
Soon, ultra luxurious and exclusive super limousine models such as the Continental Flying Spur and Mulsanne, as well the ultra-luxurious two-door coupe Continental GT will be plying our clogged city streets.
Bentley models are estimated to cost at least P20 million each. And there are buyers already waiting to get their hands on the first cars to arrive in the Philippines.
Bentley—together with other existing brands in its stable such as Audi, Porsche and Lamborghini—promises to make PGA Cars the most glamorous player in the local automotive scene. Tina Arceo-Dumlao
From RVO to EOR
A significant number of shares of the Philippine Bank of Communications changed hands at the bourse last week, signaling what could be the start of a new life for the storied bank.
According to our sources, the cross transaction effectively made Petron president Eric O. Recto the single biggest shareholder in PBCom, edging out the holdings of his uncle and mentor, Roberto V. Ongpin.
Expect some major changes at the bank, we’re told, as Recto and his new equity partners have some “bold ideas” for the financial institution.
Meanwhile, we hear that Ongpin was beaming with pride at his nephew’s equally bold move to take the helm of the bank. Daxim L. Lucas
With the strong appetite for Philippine equities and rising merger and acquisition deals involving the entry of foreign investors, there’s talk in town that an American firm will reopen an investment banking unit in the country.
As a starter, Merrill Lynch has started some sort of a reunion—at least on the research side—with its old brokerage unit that was sold via a local management buyout when Merrill exited the Philippines in the early 2000s.
But the Merrill guys are said to be hunting for someone to head a prospective investment banking unit and that UBS’ Philippine managing director Lauro Baja—who has a lot of ex-UBS colleagues now with Merrill—is a rumored candidate to join them.
However, industry sources said Baja, who had worked on the ground in the Philippines when others thought this country was the sick man of Asia, is staying with UBS after all to work on his robust pipeline of deals. Doris C. Dumlao
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