Oil Mills Group seeks clarification on SMC shares

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CONCERNED whether it could still count San Miguel Corp. (SMC) shares as part of its assets, the government-owned CIIF Oil Mills Group (OMG) is seeking clarification on a court decision declaring such equity as government-owned.

In a letter to Solicitor General Francis H. Jardeleza, CIIF-OMG president and CEO Jesus L. Arranza asked whether the Supreme Court ruling of Jan. 24 (modified in a resolution dated Sept. 5) was final and ready for implementation.

In the ruling, the high tribunal sustained an earlier decision declaring the government the owner of CIIF-OMG, 14 holding companies and roughly 750 million SMC preferred shares.

The ruling enables the government to decide on how to utilize the assets for the development of the coconut industry and for the benefit of coconut farmers, whose levies funded the purchase of SMC shares.

Assets used to buy SMC stocks were wholly owned by 14 holding companies under CIIF-OMG which, in turn, is composed of six firms: Legaspi Oil Company Inc., San Pablo Manufacturing Corp., Cagayan de Oro Oil Co. Inc., Southern Luzon Coconut Oil Mill Inc., Granexport Manufacturing Corp. and Iligan Coconut Industries Inc.

Last Oct. 5, CIIF-OMG redeemed the dividends for the SMC shares amounting to about P56 billion.

On the same day, CIIF-OMG turned over the checks to the Bureau of Treasury on orders from the Presidential Commission on Good Government, which controls the sequestered companies.

Arranza also sought the Solicitor General’s opinion on whether the 14 holding companies should continue to recognize the cash dividends and redemption proceeds as their assets.

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