GMA buying back PDRs
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - August 12, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — GMA Network Inc. is buying back its Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) from foreign holders in a move to protect these investments.

In a stock exchange  filing, GMA Network said that it would purchase and acquire PDRs issued by GMA Holdings Inc. which are held by non-Filipinos at P4.55 per share or lower up to Oct 31.

The company said the move is being undertaken as a measure of protection of the investments held by non-Filipinos in the PDRs “as might be affected by the findings and recommendations of the technical working group as adopted by the Congressional Committee on Legislative Franchises on the application for a new franchise of ABS-CBN Corp.”

GMA said it would convert the PDRs into common shares after the purchase and acquisition are completed.

The purchase and acquisition of the PDRs were approved by GMA Network’s board of directors in a special meeting yesterday.

PDRs are investment instruments that allow foreign investors to put in capital in a local corporation.

The PDRs that ABS-CBN issued in 1999 was among the issues raised against the Lopez-led network during the hearing of its franchise renewal, which was eventually denied.

GMA Holdings for its part, issued its own PDRs in 2007.

GMA Network last June maintained the legality of its issuance of PDRs, saying that it was done in compliance with the regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and of the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has renewed its call for immediate government support to ensure survival, as it continues to face headwinds due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said PAL has managed to operate more than 600 international cargo flights and more than 200 repatriation flights from March to July despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic.

“Philippine Airlines’s survival is the goal. Our stakeholders share the same goal. Internal cost control measures are being carried out, but government support is crucial,” Villaluna said in a social media post yesterday.

“We look forward to securing support – be it in the form of  long-term credit facility, or working capital credit lines. Just like other heavily impacted industries due to this pandemic, we need a lifeline to allow us to sail-through or rather, fly through this difficult period,” she said.

PAL, together with the other members of the Air Carriers Association of the Philippines, has been appealing for government support to sustainably operate given the catastrophic impact of the COVID-19 on the aviation industry.

PAL reported a total comprehensive loss of P10.72 billion in the first quarter, up from P60.81 million in the same period last year.

The airline's president and COO Gilbert Santa Maria said last May that the airline is not in immediate danger of bankruptcy, but may be forced to lay off more employees, depending on how its recovery goes once commercial flights are allowed to resume.

PAL has laid off 300 ground-based administrative and management personnel so far as a result of the pandemic.

But while challenges persist, Villaluna said PAL’s mindset remains focused on serving “the needs of the season.”

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