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PSE halts trade on Manila Bulletin stocks as corporate life ‘expires’

/ 12:16 AM September 30, 2016

The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) indefinitely suspended trading on Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp. (MB) starting on Thursday amid questions about the validity of the long-running broadsheet’s corporate life.

In a memorandum dated Sept. 29, the PSE noted the company’s amended articles of incorporation (AOI) approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Dec. 16, 2014 had not indicated any extension of its 50-year corporate term.

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PSE noted amendments were made between 1989 and 2014 in several sections of Manila Bulletin’s bylaws. Yet, it found no indications that the article pertaining to the newspaper’s 50-year corporate term had been amended since its incorporation in 1959.

The supposed extension of MB’s corporate term that was approved by the SEC on June 22, 1989 was also not reflected in the amended AOI, the PSE said.

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“Under the law, the company’s corporate term automatically expired 50 years after its incorporation on Sept. 25, 1959, unless it was able to have such term extended through an amendment of its articles of incorporation. In this respect, the company has not been able to submit to the Exchange any AOI that indicates that its corporate term was indeed extended,” the PSE said.

After careful consideration of its rules, the Corporation Code and the requirements of the SEC, the PSE said it has decided to suspend trading on MB shares starting at 9 a.m. on Thursday (Sept. 29) pending the submission of an amended AOI showing an extension of its corporate term.

The second most widely read broadsheet in the country, MB was founded as the Daily Bulletin in 1900, incorporated in 1912 as Bulletin Publishing Co. and re-incorporated in 1959 as Bulletin Publishing Corp. for a term of 50 years. In 1989, the corporate name was amended to Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation.

Led by the heirs of the late business magnate Emilio Yap, MB is valued by the stock market at around P2 billion. About 22 percent of its shares are held by the public.

In its reply to the PSE, MB said it was exerting efforts to comply with the order.  It said it had already launched an active search of its corporate reports for copies of the filings with the SEC.

The company added it had encountered various events since its incorporation, including a fire on May 30, 2007 that destroyed various corporate records and other documents.

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