BIZ BUZZ: Unpaid MPIC investors, unhappy PSE
Some retail investors who were hoping to receive their money from Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) sooner rather than later will now have to settle for “later” after the holding firm apparently ignored a suggestion by the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) to pay shareholders who had already tendered their shares ahead of the firm’s decision to extend its stock buyback period.
MPIC’s tender offer period ended last Sept. 7 and the consortium apparently managed to accumulate 96.7 percent of the required shares, which is way above the PSE rule of 95 percent for voluntary delisting. This includes the shares of the public or minority investors who make up 18.7 percent of outstanding shares.
Of the 3.13 percent of outstanding shares that did not tender, 2.26 percent belongs to the Social Security System and a smaller undetermined amount to Pag-Ibig Fund, both of which previously informed MPIC that they would not tender their shares because of an adverse opinion from government lawyers. In other words, the tender offer extension could get only an additional 0.87 percent or less, if at all.
But Biz Buzz heard that, contrary to the recommendation and urging of PSE, the consortium went ahead and extended the tender offer process which results in delaying the payment of P27.9 billion to the 18.7 percent of shareholders who already tendered their shares. This delay is supposedly to give the 0.87 percent or less of remaining shareholders that did not tender their shares a chance to do so.
Apparently, some in the PSE leadership felt that if such was really the noble intention of the consortium, it should already pay the 18.7 percent of shareholders on the promised date of Sept. 19 just the same.
“This was not accepted by the consortium to the detriment and prejudice of public or minority shareholders that tendered 18.7 percent of the outstanding shares,” one of the displeased PSE leaders said.
The official said the MPIC consortium cannot use as an excuse that they need more time to work on their financing of the deal, adding: “That should have been in place to begin with when they announced the original settlement date.”
Besides, with the purchase by the Government Service Insurance System of almost 2.5 billion shares in the open market during the tender offer period, the financing needed by the consortium to pay for the tendered shares is now significantly lower.
Biz Buzz hears that the PSE brass is now unhappy that the consortium “totally ignored and disregarded” the interest of minority investors “for no plausible or acceptable reason whatsoever, other than to delay their payment” of P27.9 billion to the tendering minority shareholders by nine days, from Sept. 19 to Sept. 28.
Of course, MPIC can still do right by their minority shareholders and pay them sooner rather than later, right? One can hope.
—Daxim L. Lucas
Know thy priorities
With the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 86 soon to open, various teams are again preparing their war chests. Given its popularity, UAAP is a magnet for corporate backers.
As an alumnus of De La Salle University (DLSU), business tycoon Hans Sy is obviously cheering for his alma mater. In men’s basketball, the Green Archers unfortunately hadn’t seen championship action in the last two years as the previously underfunded University of the Philippines team became Ateneo de Manila’s new rival. Supporters are hoping that this will be a better season for DLSU.
But what if DLSU is playing against National University, which is owned by the Sy family? Whenever he is asked about it, without batting an eyelash, the China Banking Corp. chair simply says, “Business comes first.”
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