Landbank move to buy nearly half of PH bond market platform stalled
The state-run Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) has failed to buy up to 49 percent of bond trading platform Philippine Dealing System Holdings Corp. (PDS) in 2019 as it lacked the green-light from several regulatory agencies.
Asked by the Inquirer on Friday (Jan. 3) if there will be a new timetable to acquire the biggest share in PDS, Landbank president and chief executive Cecilia C. Borromeo replied: “The timetable depends on the timing of the regulatory approvals.”
In an interview last November, Borromeo expressed optimism that Landbank could still seal the deal before 2019 ended, even as clearances from a number of regulatory agencies remained pending.
Borromeo declined to disclose which regulatory agency is holding up the deal.
Borromeo had said the offer price to buy PDS shares from other shareholders had been kept at P215 per share, based on Landbank’s updated valuation in 2018.
Borromeo earlier said that Landbank was seeking to secure a maximum stake of 49 percent “because we don’t want it [PDS] to become a GOCC [government-owned and/or -controlled corporation].”
She had explained that if PDS becomes a GOCC, “the regulations will be very different—COA [the Commission of Audit] will audit it.”
According to Borromeo, Landbank wanted PDS to remain private “but we are a shareholder of that private entity.”
Since 2018, former Landbank chief Alex V. Buenaventura extended thrice the deadline to buy PDS shares, until Borromeo took over last year.
At present, Landbank owns 1.56 percent of PDS through the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP).
Landbank’s plan to acquire a majority stake in PDS ran counter to the PDS’ planned but long-delayed merger with the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE).
As the PDS-PSE merger dragged, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, who also chairs Landbank, had floated the possibility of the government establishing its own bond exchange to move forward with developing the capital market.
Edited by TSB
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