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LANDBANK presses on with bid for fixed-income bourse

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By Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan, Reporter

THE LAND BANK of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has begun offers to stakeholders of the country’s fixed-income bourse whose share purchase agreements (SPAs) with the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) lapsed on March 31.

LANDBANK President and Chief Executive Officer Alex Buenaventura said the state bank sent offer letters on Thursday to pay shareholders of the Philippine Dealing System Holdings Corp. (PDSHC) P360 per share, valid for 30 days.

“We sent an offer letter to the same people who signed that SPA — ‘yung mga nag- lapse na. So we can now offer to them kasi wala na ‘yung agreement nila,” Mr. Buenaventura said in a telephone interview on Friday.

Since June last year, the PSE has signed SPAs at P320 per share with the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP); Whistler Technologies Services, Inc.; Investment House Association of the Philippines; The Philippine American Life and General Insurance Co.; FINEX Research and Development Foundation, Inc.; San Miguel Corp. and Tata Consulting Services Asia-Pacific Pte. Ltd.

“We’re starting to issue since Thursday, April 5. So it’s the same offer [good for up to] 30 days from now at the same price of P360 (per share).”

Mr. Buenaventura said he hopes to secure majority stake in the PDSHC before the end of the offer period.

“We’re not really sure what the shareholders will decide on — whether they will still sell or not — since the situation is different now: it’s no longer the PSE, it’s now LANDBANK so it’s a different transaction. But we still hope to get majority.”

Mr. Buenaventura said LANDBANK last month sent offer letters to major shareholders PSE and Singapore Exchange Ltd., which have 69.03% and 20% stakes, respectively, but has received “no response yet”, even as the offers lapsed on April 5.

Seeking to expedite the development of the capital market as well as improve its own financial performance, LANDBANK’s board of directors approved the plan to acquire 66.67% of PDSHC on Jan. 23 amid the PSE’s parallel bid which started on May 2013.

PSE President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Monzon had said that the PSE has no plans to engage the government in a “bidding war” once LANDBANK proceeds with its offers.

LANDBANK currently owns 1.56% of PDS through the BAP, which holds a cumulative 13.26% share for itself and its member-banks.