Firms rush to meet rule on public floatBy Paolo G. Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MORE listed firms have moved to comply with the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) requirement that 10 percent of shares be in the hands of small investors to avoid being delisted from the local bourse.
In a statement Friday, the country’s largest shipping firm 2GO Group Inc. said it had sold about 10 percent of its shares to new investors.
The company said 119 million common shares were sold to RAL Holdings and Equities Corp., 80 million to BIVI Realty Development Corp., and 41 million to East Asian BBB Realty Corp.
The shares were sold at P1.65 each via a regular block sale through the PSE. The company has 2.48 billion shares listed on the PSE. Prior to the sale of shares to new investors, 2GO had a public float of 1.85 percent.
The shipping firm is owned by Negros Navigation.
In a separate disclosure, Ayala-led semiconductor chip maker Integrated Micro-Electronics Inc. said it had complied with the 10-percent requirement. This was after AYC Holdings Ltd. and Arthur Tan, the company’s parent firm and CEO, respectively, sold some of their shares to the public.
Meanwhile, Lucio Tan’s ETON Properties Philippines Inc. said its board had approved its voluntary delisting from the local bourse, rather than be delisted forcibly by the bourse when the public ownership rule takes effect next month.
Trading of ETON’s shares will be suspended on Dec. 26, and subsequently delisted on Jan. 2, the PSE said in a public memo.
ETON follows in the footsteps of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. and First Metro Investments Corp., whose shares were delisted on Friday.
In a separate disclosure, Atok-Big Wedge said a total of 180 million of its common shares were sold by Boerstar Corp. to two offshore private equity funds. An initial 150 million were sold to the first while 30 million were sold to the second.
“Both of these buyers are not related to the company or to any member of the company’s management,” the disclosure read.
The sale of shares led to an increase in the firm’s public float to 10.5 percent.
Energy firm Synergy Grid & Development Phils. Inc. likewise increased its public float from 7.44 percent to 12.49 percent through the sale of shares to existing stockholders, led by Henry Sy. Jr., who owns the company through East Fleming Holdings Corp.
Companies that fail to meet the PSE’s public ownership requirement stand to lose tax perks afforded to other listed firms.
These include a capital gains tax of 5 percent for the sale of shares worth under P100,000, and 10 percent for higher transactions. A documentary stamp tax will also be imposed on these transactions. This will cost investors 75 centavos for every P200-worth of shares sold.