AC acquires P14 billion ACEN shares

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Ayala Corp. (AC) acquired P14 billion worth of shares in ACEN Corp. from its wholly owned unit AC Energy and Infrastructure Corp. (ACEIC) to issue property dividends to shareholders and to raise the energy platform’s public float.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange yesterday, the company said it purchased 1.861 billion ACEN common shares via a block sale at P7.60 per share for a total of P14.14 billion.

This follows AC’s board approval last month to declare property dividends consisting of the ACEN shares acquired from ACEIC to its common shareholders at a ratio of three ACEN shares per one AC common share.

“The declaration of property dividends provides the opportunity for AC’s shareholders to directly benefit in one of its recent successful business-building initiatives,” the Ayala conglomerate said.

AC said the record date for the declaration of dividends is on May 27 with payment date to be determined, subject to applicable regulatory approvals.

The shares acquisition will also raise ACEN’s public float post-transaction.

“(T)he property dividend declaration enables ACEN to meet the 20 percent minimum public ownership requirement for companies included in the Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi),” AC said.

Currently, ACEN’s free float level is at 15.9 percent.

The transaction will also reduce ACEIC’s ownership level in ACEN from 62.5 percent to 57.8 percent.

ACEN joined the prestigious 30-member PSEi in August last year following a review by the local bourse.

While companies that qualify for inclusion in the PSEi are those with a free float level of at least 15 percent, this will be raised to 20 percent effective December this year.

Apart from meeting the free float level, other criteria include companies that rank among the top 25 percent by median daily value per month for at least nine out of 12 months, and rank among the highest in market capitalization.

The PSE also takes into consideration relevant financial criteria when conducting the index review.

ACEN currently has a market capitalization of P291.2 billion.

The company is eyeing to become the largest listed renewables platform in Southeast Asia.

To date, ACEN has 3,800 MW of attributable capacity both in the Philippines and internationally. Of the total, 3,300 MW are from renewable sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal energy.

This puts the company in a position to reach its 5,000-MW goal one or two years ahead of the 2025 target.

To develop its massive pipeline of 18,000 MW renewables projects, ACEN raised P48 billion from various capital raising activities last year.

For this year, ACEN earlier announced plans to invest P55.5 billion to fund its renewables portfolio expansion, a significant 68 percent increase from P33.1 billion last year.

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