LANDBANK: 43% of PDS shareholders accept offer

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Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK)
THE government wants to take a majority stake in the fixed-income bourse through Land Bank of the Philippines. — BW FILE PHOTO

THE LAND BANK of the Philippines (LANDBANK) said shareholders representing 43% of the fixed-income bourse have accepted its offer to buy their shares, with the share purchase agreement (SPA) expected to be signed this week.

“We can just say that 43% have already accepted our offer, and we are just finalizing now the share purchase agreement. So we hope that this share purchase agreement would be finalized within the week,” LANDBANK President and Chief Executive Officer Alex V. Buenaventura told reporters on the sidelines of the signing of the Pantawid Pasada program on Wednesday.

He noted shareholders have signed nondisclosure agreements to proceed with further negotiations before the SPA for shares in the Philippine Dealing System Holdings Corp. (PDSHC) is finalized.

“I cannot disclose the names. I can just generalize that many have given us acceptance letters, representing 43%,” he added.

Mr. Buenaventura did not say whether the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) was among those willing to sell its stake in the fixed-income bourse.

Last month, LANDBANK said PSE — which had earlier planned to take over the PDSHC — has indicated its interest to sell its shares.

LANDBANK had offered to buy the PDS shares at P360 apiece, higher than the PSE’s P320 per share offer in its previous SPAs that has already lapsed.

In April, only one shareholder has accepted LANDBANK’s offer, and Mr. Buenaventura said that once PSE agrees to the terms, others may follow.

The state-run lender currently owns 1.56% of PDSHC through the BAP, which holds a cumulative 13.26% share for itself and its member banks.

The government wants to take at least a majority stake in the fixed-income bourse through LANDBANK to expedite the development of the capital markets and to improve the bank’s finances to deliver more robust credit for farmers and small enterprises.

The planned PSE-PDS merger had dragged on due to the PSE’s failure to secure exemptive relief from the Securities Exchange Commission on the 20% single-industry ownership limit.

The PSE was able to increase its stake to 72% of the fixed-income exchange before the SPAs expired, but did not complete the merger. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan