BIZ BUZZ: Spotlight on the President
If plans don’t miscarry, President Marcos will have his moment in the spotlight during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Leaders’ Meeting that will run from Nov. 12 to Nov. 18 this year in San Francisco, California.
Informed sources tell Biz Buzz that the President will be one of the main speakers during the high-level meeting hosted by the United States that is expected to be attended by leaders of the 21 member-economies of Apec.
These economies account for nearly 40 percent of the global population and nearly half of global trade.
Apec was set up to “realize a vision for an open, resilient, dynamic and peaceful Asia-Pacific community 2040 for the prosperity of all our people and future generations.”
This it wants to achieve through trade and investment; innovation and digitalization and strong, balanced, secure, sustainable and inclusive growth.
Mr. Marcos’ anticipated starring role at the coming meeting is another indication of the Philippines’ welcome return to the global stage, which was largely shunned during the time of former President Rodrigo Duterte.
Hopes are high that Mr. Marcos’ active participation at the Apec meet will translate to more investments and trade for the Philippines.
Holcim won’t budge after all
Despite what many believe to be the only solution that will give minority shareholders a reasonable exit—that is for Holcim Philippines to seek Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) exemption from the 2012 ruling that slaps capital gains on trades of shares of listed companies that fall below the minimum public ownership requirement —the latest indication is that the cement giant is no longer considering to take this route.
Why can’t just Holcim give it a try to appease irate minority shareholders and stockbrokers when in 2018, San Miguel Food and Beverage was able to do obtain such BIR exemption in relation to the share-swap deal with parent conglomerate San Miguel Corp.?
According to the grapevine, Holcim may be reluctant to approach the BIR because it may affect its position in other pending tax issues.
Based on “commitments and contingencies” disclosed by Holcim in its latest annual report, indeed there are “contingent liabilities for tax assessments occurring in the ordinary course of business” albeit its management believes that “none of these will materially affect the group’s financial position and financial performance.”
As such, the minority shareholders now have no choice but to follow the procedures and bite the bullet in the form of capital gains when they tender their Holcim shares at the offer price of P5.33 per share (deadline is on Aug. 30).
Unless the trading suspension is lifted (but the Philippine Stock Exchange is constrained by that BIR ruling), those who will sell their shares have to pay 15 percent net capital gains tax and documentary stamp tax equivalent to 0.75 percent of par value.
Aside from the higher tax burden, as the shares will be transferred outside the facilities of the PSE, expect a tedious process of transferring the shares.
About 326 million shares or 5 percent of the company’s outstanding stocks are still held by the public following the completion of the Sumitomo block sale (9.22 percent stake was sold to Holderfin BV) that caused Holcim to fall below the 10 percent minimum public float and obliged the PSE to suspend trading on its shares.
While Sumitomo was able to divest at preferential tax rate, it’s unfortunate that the remaining minority shareholders have no other choice.