Biz Buzz: Chinoys vs CastilaloysBy the staff
Philippine Daily Inquirer
“Fluid” is how a source describes the state of affairs in Ortigas Holdings, whose shareholders are mulling over a buyout offer by tycoon Henry Sy. The source, who is affiliated with family members who are lukewarm to SM Investments’ package, tells Biz Buzz that the basic argument not to sell is the fact that the current offer on the table does not fully capture the value of the Ortigases’ vast urban landbanking.
These family members are outnumbered for now but they are armed with the right to match the Sys’ offer or get a white knight of their own. Getting external financial muscle is indeed an option, our source says, especially as some in the clan seem to think that if it is inevitable to lose their crown jewel, the least they could accept is to make sure it falls into the hands of fellow Castilaloys. Whether this is for sentimental, practical or cultural reasons, what’s clear is that all eyes are now set on whether the most “suitable” Castilaloys will rise to the challenge.
Our other sources say the opposition party’s best bet, Ayala Land Inc., indicated interest in Ortigas Holdings late last year but has not made any firm commitment. On the other hand, people from the other side of the fence are confident that the deal with SM will still push through. Will the Ayalas get into the picture? That’s the next chapter to watch out for in this multibillion-peso saga.—Doris C. Dumlao
Dumping ahead of Greek vote
During the last trading day ahead of the much-awaited Greek elections last weekend, this foreign broker raised eyebrows in the stock market due to the large volume of stocks it unloaded.
With the same intensity on days when it was on a buying binge, the foreign broker dumped shares of mostly index stocks like Aboitiz Equity, Aboitiz Power, PLDT, Globe and URC that other brokers (who were betting on a favorable Greek vote) were only willing to pick up. Come Monday when it turned out that the pro-bailout Greek party won although by a slim margin, market players said the clients who ordered last Friday’s stock dumping must have regretted not putting their faith in the Greeks. Ouch.—Doris C. Dumlao
Agri chief stays
Businessmen watching the agriculture scene are curious to see how things will play out at the Department of Agriculture with all this talk about a Cabinet reshuffle. No less than President Aquino has indicated, of course, that some changes would be made in the near future, possibly including the bringing in of Sen. Kiko Pangilinan into his official family.
Biz Buzz sources say, however, that the idea of giving the agriculture portfolio to “Sen. Megastar” is not foremost on P-Noy’s mind. Instead, the idea was supposedly floated by the senator’s political allies in the Liberal Party (aka the Balay group). One source tells us that P-Noy is actually quite pleased with the performance of agriculture chief Proceso “Procy” Alcala that he will almost certainly be retained. And what will happen to Pangilinan? Supposedly, the portfolio being considered for him is some sort of “adviser for agriculture” similar to the one that former congressman Neric Acosta now holds at the environment portfolio (yet another ally who was supposed to get the Environment and Natural Resources portfolio last year).
Apparently, there’s nothing to worry about on the business and economic front. We’re still on our way to rice self-sufficiency.—Daxim L. Lucas
Speaking of which…
The other subject of the Cabinet reshuffle news is Sen. Ping Lacson whose term will end next year.
President Aquino has indicated his desire to appoint Lacson to head the Department of the Interior and Local Government, a post that uniquely seems to suit the former police chief. Apparently, however, it won’t be smooth sailing for Senator Lacson since some of the president’s advisers are lobbying against his appointment as DILG head. Why? Not because of a lack of skill, we’re told, but because they’re worried about the role he can potentially play in next year’s national and local elections. The DILG chief is, of course, the nominal head of all governors, mayors and barangay captains nationwide—people who will be key to any election campaign.
We are told that some of the president’s advisers opposing Lacson’s appointment are urging P-Noy to give the former police chief a less sensitive portfolio. Of course, other posts being suggested for Lacson include heading the Bureau of Customs (an important post suited to his skills, but somewhat of a demotion) and the idea of making him anti-crime czar.
It doesn’t matter much to Lacson, we hear, since he’s apparently confident he can ably handle any portfolio given to him.—Daxim L. Lucas
Top equities research team
If CLSA Asia Pacific Philippines’ head of research Alfred Dy is in cloud nine these days, it’s because his team was–for the fourth straight year–named the No. 1 research team in the Philippines by international finance publication Institutional Investor.
CLSA, Asia’s leading and longest-running independent brokerage and investment group, established a presence in Manila in March 1997 and has a team of five dedicated research analysts providing coverage on more than 40 companies across the following sectors—banks, conglomerates, consumer products, media, mining, oil and gas, power, property, telecom, transport and utilities.
Part of the team headed by Dy are analysts Hazel Tañedo, Raf Mercado, Jacqui Evangelista, Daniel Marogy and research assistant Ignacio Gonzalez. For the 19th annual All-Asia Research Team rankings, Institutional Investor solicited the opinions of 3,270 analysts and investment professionals from more than 980 institutions managing an estimated $1.67 trillion in non-Japanese Asian equities.—Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Stock Exchange president Hans Sicat was put on the spot on Monday during a forum jointly organized by The Asset Magazine and the Financial Executives of the Philippines when he was asked about what the PSE was doing about Calata Corp., a distributor of agricultural products whose share prices have seen wild swings at the stock market soon after listing on the second board.
Sicat offered a safe answer that the PSE “noticed” this stock but it would be up to the surveillance unit Capital Markets Integrity Corp. (CMIC) to make any conclusion. This was taken as an official confirmation that Calata was under probe given the erratic trading of its stocks. “We know who did it,” a veteran broker said, noting that it was a pity that Calata’s jockey had compromised credibility for the sake of short-term gain.—Doris C. Dumlao
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Tags: Business , Cabinet reshuffle , Castilaloys , Chinoys , Department of Agriculture , Hans Sicat , Markets and Exchanges , Ortigas Holdings , Philippine Stock Exchange , Ping Lacson , stock trading