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PSE to delist PNOC-EC

Jerome C. Morales (The Philippine Star) - June 30, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Almost two years since giving 45 listed firms leeway to increase their public ownership level, the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) is delisting a public company for continuous non-compliance.

State-led Philippine National Oil Co.-Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC) will be the first firm to be removed from the local bourse for failing to sell more shares to the public.

In a memorandum, PSE said PNOC-EC remains non-compliant with the 10 percent minimum public ownership level amid the end-June deadline.

“They have the distinction of being the only (company) to be involuntarily delisted by the PSE,” said PSE president and CEO Hans B. Sicat.

Sicat said PNOC-EC owns the “unfortunate label” of not being able to jack up its public ownership despite 18 months of leeway starting November 2011.

Hence, PNOC-EC would be deleted from the official registry of the PSE starting July 1.

Sicat said involuntarily delisted companies are not allowed to go back to the local bourse for five years.

“They said they wanted to comply originally...There are no other extraordinary circumstances that will exempt a company that is in violation (of the public float rule),” Sicat said.

In May last year, the government’s oil exploration arm appointed Swiss banking giant UBS Ag to facilitate a planned P7 to P10-billion follow-on offering.

PNOC-EC, which has a minority stake in the profitable Malampaya deep water-to-gas project offshore in Palawan, had a public float of just 0.21 percent.

Meanwhile, three other listed firms were given another month to comply.

“The Securities and Exchange Commission gave Nextstage Inc., PAL Holdings Inc. and Philcomsat Holdings Corp. an extension of one month to comply with the minimum public ownership requirement,” PSE said.

“The data we have is (the three firms) already complied but we are awaiting the certificate from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR),” Sicat said.

Documents from the BIR will certify that the shares were transferred to public investors.

In January, PSE suspended the trading of numerous firms following their failure to meet the required minimum public ownership requirement.

This prompted several companies like Alphaland Corp. and Southeast Asia Cement Holdings Inc. to sell shares to the public while companies like Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. and San Miguel Brewery Inc. opted to exit the local bourse.

“The whole program is a resounding success. Out of 45 names a year and a half ago, everyone complied,” Sicat said.

ALPHALAND CORP BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE EXPLORATION CORP HANS B HOLDINGS INC IN JANUARY IN MAY METRO PACIFIC TOLLWAYS CORP PUBLIC SICAT
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