Manny Pangilinan sells 25% stake in Rockwell for P3 billionBy Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The group of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan sold on Thursday a 25 percent stake in newly listed Rockwell Land Corp. to the Lopez group for P3.06 billion, in line with the former’s thrust to exit from non-core property interests.
The deal allows the Lopezes to hike interest in Rockwell to about 76 percent from about 51 percent, thus consolidating their controlling interest in Rockwell at a muted cost relative to market prices.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and PLDT Communications and Energy Ventures said that their joint venture company Beacon Electric Asset Holdings (Beacon) had agreed to sell a total of 1.52 billion common shares in Rockwell to the Lopezes at P2.01 per share.
The shares were sold to the Lopez-led First Philippine Holdings Corp. and FPH Pension Fund at a 38 percent discount to Wednesday’s closing price of P3.25 per share. The block was scheduled for transfer via a special block sale on the PSE on Thursday.
When Manila Electric Co. declared as property dividend its 51 percent stake in Rockwell, shareholders of Meralco – including the Pangilinan-led Beacon – received such shares in the property company. But because property development is no longer among the Pangilinan-led group’s core interests in the Philippines, this divestment had been widely expected.
The Metro Pacific group was previously involved in the local property business after winning the bidding for the privatization of the sprawling Fort Bonifacio military camp in Taguig in the 1990s. In the 2000s when the principal stockholder, the Salim family of Indonesia, wanted to pull out investments from the Philippines, Pangilinan fought to keep control of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. but gave up Fort Bonifacio. The interest in Fort Bonifacio, now known as Bonifacio Global City, was sold to the Ayala-Campos group.
Pangilinan afterwards restructured the business of Metro Pacific to refocus on infrastructure businesses, picking up the assets divested by the Lopezes such as Manila North toll road and Maynilad Water concessions. The eventual sale by the Lopezes of most of their shares in Meralco also allowed Pangilinan’s group to become the single largest shareholder in the country’s largest electricity distributor.
Rockwell listed on the local stock exchange by way of introduction, or without any public offering, in May.
The property company started operations in 1995 by redeveloping the site of an old thermal power plant into an upscale mixed-use community known as Rockwell Center in Makati, which now has seven high-rise residential towers, a shopping mall, a leisure club, a graduate school and two office buildings (Nestle and Phinma). Rockwell also has an office complex in Ortigas and a new mixed-use community called “The Grove” in Ortigas. Most of Rockwell’s business comes from condominium development while recurring income including rental of shopping mall space at the Power Plant Mall and other office developments accounts for 40 percent.
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