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Biz Buzz: Countdown to delisting

/ 12:04 AM August 15, 2014

The notice hasn’t been officially served, but the board of the Philippine Stock Exchange has made a decision in a meeting on Wednesday to delist Alphaland Corp., the property development arm of former Trade Minister Roberto V. Ongpin, aka “RVO,” from the bourse.

But the consolation to RVO’s group, and for minority shareholders and British fund Ashmore, is that the process will take a hybrid form.

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While the delisting is technically deemed “involuntary,” industry sources said the PSE and RVO’s camp will discuss a potential exit mechanism for minority shareholders, as well as the transfer of shares to allow the consummation of the settlement deal between RVO and Ashmore.

This what PSE chief Hans Sicat is expected to iron out in the next few days before setting the delisting date and making the official announcement.

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To recall, the process for involuntary delisting was initiated by the PSE for a number of violations (including noncompliance with the listing agreement and repeated failure to make “timely, adequate and accurate” disclosures of information). But in the end, all those with interest in Ashmore pleaded for voluntary delisting instead, to better plan an orderly exit by shareholders, especially the minority.

But one consequence of involuntary delisting is that all directors of the delisted company cannot hold a position in any listed firm for five years afterwards. If strictly enforced, this will bar a lot of VIPs from a lot of boardrooms.  Doris C. Dumlao

Banking vet exits Veterans

Less than a year after assuming his post, long-time banker Joey Bermudez has signaled his desire to resign as president of Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB).

Bermudez, former president of Chinatrust, will leave the company to join his family in Canada.

A few hours before the bank made the official announcement, Bermudez took to Facebook and posted: “For one year, it was my home as a professional. My stint was short but full. There was no dull moment, no slack, no room for hesitation. I will miss the place, but it is now time to catch up with my family and my social enterprise. Thank you, PVB, for the rich experience.”

According to Veterans Bank chair Roberto “Bobby” de Ocampo, when he invited Bermudez to be bank president, they were both “aware … that his personal circumstances could pose a challenge.”

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Despite his short stint, Bermudez’s time with the bank was apparently well spent. De Ocampo said Bermudez played a vital role in laying down the foundations that would allow the bank to return to position of “financial strength.”

This, in turn, would help the company regain “the respect of the community,” de Ocampo said.

Bermudez’s term as president ends at the end of next month, or just two weeks after his employment anniversary.

Bermudez has three decades of experience in the banking industry. Apart from Chinatrust, he held key positions at Philippine Savings Bank, Standard Chartered, and Philippine Commercial International Bank (now part of BDO) under the tutelage of the late banker and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Rafael Buenaventura.  Paolo Montecillo and Doris C. Dumlao

Another BDO harvest

The Philippines’ largest financial institution, BDO Unibank Inc. (BDO) has reaped more awards, these include its fifth consecutive “Best Bank” plum, at the recently concluded FinanceAsia Country Awards for Achievement 2014.

BDO maintained its position as the country’s largest bank in terms of gross customer loans, total deposits and assets under management. It recorded its highest earnings ever in 2013 and continues to expand by a robust pace.

Hong Kong-based FinanceAsia said in a statement that BDO’s past 12 months have been characterized by a boost in business lending and project finance, leading to loan growth of 19 percent, compared with the industry average of 16 percent.

“Our judges particularly like the bank’s financing of power and energy-related projects, which aim to help the country solve its looming power crisis,” FinanceAsia said.

BDO was also named the Philippines’ best foreign exchange bank for continuing to top all other competitors in the dollar-peso spot and forward markets.

Subsidiary BDO Capital & Investment Corp., meanwhile, was awarded its ninth straight “Best Investment Bank” accolade for completing major debt capital markets and equity transactions.

BDO Private Bank, a subsidiary that serves the affluent market, was also named “Best Private Bank” in the Philippines, its seventh consecutive award from FinanceAsia.

The international recognition is an amazing feat considering the many doubters the bank had had when it was just beginning its aggressive acquisition drive not too long ago.  Daxim L. Lucas

Mighty at BAT

Word on the street is that a mighty alliance is forming between … well … Mighty Corp. and cigarette manufacturing powerhouse British American Tobacco Philippines.

According to our source, the terms of reference for the Mighty-BAT partnership has already taken form, and that the deal may be formalized within the third quarter of this year.

More importantly, the partnership has the support of an influential Cabinet official, who may have acted as broker to bring both sides together, we’re told.

BAT will supposedly leverage off the distribution network and manufacturing facility of Mighty. In return, BAT will help Mighty upgrade its facilities. Both firms will retain separate management teams. Daxim L. Lucas

E-mail us at [email protected] Get business alerts and a preview of Biz Buzz the evening before it comes out. Text ON INQ BUSINESS to 4467 (P2.50/alert).

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TAGS: alliance, alphaland corp., ashmore, bdo unibank inc., best bank award, Biz Buzz, british American tobacco philippines, Business, column, delisting, Joey Bermudez, Mighty Corp., Philippine veterans bank, resignation
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