Seacem to sell shares in Lafarge
Cement manufacturing holding firm Southeast Asia Cement Holdings Inc. plans to trim its stake in Lafarge Republic Inc.—whether through a property dividend, share swap or other available options—to allow the latter to shore up its public float.
In separate disclosures to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Friday, the two companies announced Seacem’s plan to sell some of its shares in majority-owned Lafarge.
Based on the PSE’s latest data, LRI has a public ownership of only 3.7 percent, way below the PSE’s minimum 10 percent requirement for a company to remain listed on bourse.
LRI is one of 27 publicly listed companies facing suspension on the first trading day of 2013 for failing to meet the minimum public float requirement.
Trading on both Seacem and LRI was likewise suspended Friday by the PSE to allow the investing public to digest the disclosure on Seacem’s plan to unload some shares. Both companies voluntarily sought the trading suspension.
Seacem said that, in undertaking the sale of some of its shares in LRI, it would serve the “long-term benefit” of the company and its shareholders, apart from allowing Lafarge to comply with the minimum public ownership requirement.
“This action will be followed by either a property dividend, share swap, or such other option that will be deemed most cost effective and feasible, within the grace period allowed by the Philippine Stock Exchange, for LRI to meet the minimum 10 percent public float requirement,” Seacem said.
The specific action to be taken will be disclosed once plans have been firmed up by Seacem’s board, the companies added.
LRI is engaged in the manufacture, development and sale of cement, marble and other kinds of building materials. Also, it processes and manufactures materials for industrial or commercial purposes.
As of end-June, it has P28.9 billion in assets based on its balance sheet. Market capitalization stood at P54 billion.
Earlier, LRI announced plans to increase its production capacity by the first quarter of 2013, supplying an additional one million tons of cement a year after a set of investment projects has been completed. LRI has earmarked funds to revamp its Danao, Cebu grinding plant and ease bottlenecks at its Norzagaray, Bulacan mill.
Net profit attributable to equity holders of parent increased by 8.5 percent year-on-year to P1.53 billion in the first semester. This was on the back of net sales, which grew by 12 percent to P9.83 billion year-on-year on higher volume and recovery in average selling prices.