Zest-O Group founder buys Maybank unit for P3.2B
Neil Jerome C. Morales (The Philippine Star) - September 26, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - An investor group led by businessman and former ambassador Alfredo Yao is acquiring a majority stake in listed Maybank ATR Kim Eng Financial Corp. for more than P3 billion.

The takeover stirred market speculations that Maybank ATR would become a backdoor listing vehicle of the Yao family’s Zest-O Group.

“Maybank Kim Eng Holdings Ltd. (MKEHL) and Mazy’s Capital Inc. have entered into a share purchase agreement [yesterday] whereby MKEHL agreed to sell to the buyer a total of 958.923 million of its issued and outstanding common shares in Maybank ATR,” the company said in a disclosure.

MKEHL unloaded all its stake in Maybank ATR at P3.3298 per share for a total transaction value of P3.19 billion. Prior to the takeover, MKEHL owned 89.75 percent of the outstanding capital stock of Maybank ATR.

Mazy’s Capital is a Philippine holding company owned and controlled by an investor group led Zest-O chairman Yao.

“There are speculations it will be a backdoor listing vehicle of the Yao family,” Freya B. Natividad, investment analyst at Papa Securities Corp., said in a phone interview.

“The timing is okay since the stock market is stable,” Natividad said.

Early this year, Zest-O Group expressed its intent to list Asiawide Refreshments Corp. (ARC), the exclusive manufacturer and distributor of RC Cola in the Philippines. The initial public offering will support ARC’s plan to tap other markets in Southeast Asia, one of the emerging regions in the global economic scene.

The closing date for the investor group’s acquisition of Maybank ATR is on Oct. 25 subject to certain conditions. For instance, Maybank ATR has to sell substantially all of of its assets to Maybank ATR Kim Eng Capital Partners Inc. (MATRKECP), which will also assume all of the liabilities of the listed company.

“The assets of the company to be transferred to MATRKECP shall include the company’s shareholdings in its subsidiaries AsianLife and General Assurance Corp. and ATR Kim Eng Land Inc.,” Maybank ATR said.

Hence, all business units of Maybank ATR will be consolidated under MATRKECP, which is 100-percent owned by MKEHL.

ALFREDO YAO ASIAWIDE REFRESHMENTS CORP ATR CAPITAL INC FREYA B GENERAL ASSURANCE CORP KIM ENG CAPITAL PARTNERS INC MAYBANK YAO ZEST-O GROUP
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