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Business

First Holdings extends P6-B share buyback program

Neil Jerome C. Morales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Lopez-led First Philippine Holdings Corp. (FPHC) has extended anew its P6-billion share buyback program to support its stock price in the coming years.

In a regulatory filing, FPHC said its board of directors approved the extension of the share repurchase program to July 2016, allowing the holding firm to acquire up to P2.65 billion worth of shares.

The original buyback program was approved by the board of directors in July 2010 and was extended for another two years effective July 2012.

“The program is intended to strike a balance between enhancing the company’s capital structure and maintaining the ability to fund future growth and investments,” FPHC said.

“Buyback transactions will be triggered if the company stock is substantially undervalued, when there is high volatility in share prices or in any instance where a buyback should serve to improve shareholder value,” it added.

Previous share repurchase transactions allowed FPHC to secure P3.34 billion worth of shares from the public. Shares of FPHC closed at P75 apiece on Friday, posting a 52-week high of P88.50 and a 52-week low of P48.90.

The buyback program will not involve active and widespread solicitation from stockholders in general, the firm said.

“The program will be executed through the open market by means of the trading facilities of the Philippine Stock Exchange,” FPHC said, adding that it will be implemented by the company’s top executives.

Last year, FPHC recorded substantially lower profits on the absence of non-recurring income from an asset sale and a consolidation program.

Net income sank to P2.4 billion from P9.2 billion. In 2012, FPHC recognized a P6.08-billion gain from the sale of Manila Electric Co. shares to Pangilinan-led Beacon Electric Asset Holdings Inc.

As of end-2012, FPHC, one of the top power producers in the country, had a total installed capacity of 2,763 megawatts (MW), of which natural gas accounts for 54 percent, followed by geothermal at 41 percent and hydropower at five percent.

FPHC, through its power generating units, is looking at increasing its capacity by 400-500 MW in the next few years.

It operates the power business through units Energy Development Corp. and renewable energy firm First Gen Corp. It is also into economic zones through First Philippine Industrial Park, and property through Rockwell Land Corp.

BEACON ELECTRIC ASSET HOLDINGS INC

ENERGY DEVELOPMENT CORP

FIRST GEN CORP

FIRST PHILIPPINE HOLDINGS CORP

FIRST PHILIPPINE INDUSTRIAL PARK

FPHC

MANILA ELECTRIC CO

PHILIPPINE STOCK EXCHANGE

PROGRAM

ROCKWELL LAND CORP

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