ABS-CBN to issue 1B voting, low-yield preferred shares

Sale to be restricted to Filipino shareholders

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The country’s biggest media conglomerate, ABS-CBN Corp., is selling one billion low-yield, voting preferred shares to raise as much as P200 million from existing shareholders.

The shares to be issued, which would not be listed on any public exchange, will be offered only to Filipino stockholders to comply with the Constitution’s restriction on foreign ownership in media.

The shares will have a fixed cumulative interest rate of 2 percent a year, payable on each anniversary of the issue date. Shareholders as of Dec. 26 will be eligible to buy the new preferred stocks from Jan. 7 to 25, 2013.

“The preferred shares, being voting, cannot be owned by non-Filipinos,” ABS-CBN said in a disclosure. “Any shares not subscribed during the offering shall be taken up by Lopez Inc.”

Melissa Ortiz, head of ABS-CBN’s investor relations group, said the issuance of preferred voting shares would give the company flexibility to raise funds. The company declined to give further details.

Earlier this week, ABS-CBN announced that Eugenio Lopez III would step down as the company’s CEO and would be replaced by current president Ma. Rosario “Charo” Santos-Concio.

Lopez, whose family owns ABS-CBN, would stay on as the media company’s chairman.

Last November, ABS-CBN reported a net income of P1.56 billion for the first nine months of 2012, down 31 percent compared with P2.24 billion in the same period last year.

Removing the effects of the  gain from the sale of Sky Cable PDRs recognized in the first nine months of 2011 amounting to P825 million, ABS-CBN’s net income increased by 10 percent. The growth in recurring income was fueled by strong advertising revenues and consumer sales in the third quarter.

ABS-CBN shares closed lower by 3.15 percent on Wednesday to P32.

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