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Mitsubishi further slashes stake in Ayala group

/ 05:18 AM January 17, 2019

Japanese trading giant Mitsubishi Corp. further reduced its stake in the Philippines’ oldest conglomerate, Ayala Corp., with some P11.7  billion worth of shares unloaded to the open market.

The sale of 13 million shares of Ayala is seen as part of Mitsubishi’s portfolio rebalancing.  The stake in the conglomerate is one of Mitsubishi’s largest passive overseas investment.

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Industry sources said the nine million secondary shares were originally  offered by Mitsubishi P898 to P922 a share.  After an accelerated book-building, the block was sold at P900 a share, marking a discount of 7.26 percent from Tuesday’s closing price of P970.50 a share. The deal was also upsized to 13 million shares.

After this transaction, Mitsubishi is still left with some 24.7  million common shares in Ayala, equivalent to 3.9 percent of outstanding shares. Back in 1973 when Mitsubishi first invested in Ayala, the Japanese firm held a much bigger interest of 20 percent.

The sale of secondary shares held by Mitsubishi was arranged by Swiss investment house UBS.

In March last year, UBS likewise arranged Mitsubishi’s sale of P7.94 billion worth of Ayala shares equivalent to 8.5 million common shares priced at P934 per share.

The sale of Mitsubishi’s stake in Ayala weighed down the stock market on Wednesday. Ayala has a 6.61-percent weight on the main stock barometer Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi).

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