By Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan, Reporter
THE LAND BANK of the Philippines (LANDBANK) hopes to secure the controlling stake in the fixed-income bourse before year-end, after lowering its share purchase offer.
LANDBANK President and Chief Executive Officer Alex V. Buenaventura said the state-run lender revised its offer to buy shares of Philippine Dealing System Holdings Corp. at P215 each, based on the bourse’s P980.61 million current net asset value.
“We’ll issue offer letters before the end of October and we hope that we get their acceptance letter within November, although the offer period is up to end December,” he told reporters on Monday, on the sidelines of the Senate hearing on the Department of Finance’s budget for 2019.
The new figure is lower than the P360 per share offer that was initially approved by the LANDBANK board in January. Mr. Buenaventura previously said the P600 million in dividends declared by PDS Holdings last June had effectively reduced its purchase value from about P1.5 billion.
“Then that will immediately proceed with a share purchase agreement. We hope that before the end of the year we already would have acquired our targeted minimum of 67.67%, supermajority yan,” Mr. Buenaventura said.
In July, 43% of PDS Holdings shareholders have already agreed to LANDBANK’s offer that began last March.
“We were supposed to go to the share purchase agreement already. Pero hindi na kami natuloy kasi (It did not push through because) we have to revise our offer,” said Mr. Buenaventura.
“We will hope that they will accept, which I don’t think there is any reason why they should not accept because the premium is the same. We’re offering the same premium,” he added.
LANDBANK sought to take over the bond exchange operator after continued delays in the planned merger of the PDS Holdings with the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) that began in 2013.
The PSE had already secured a 72% ownership of PDS Holdings in early 2018, but since it failed to obtain exemptive relief from the Securities and Exchange Commission to waive the 20% single-industry ownership limit, its share purchase agreements with various stakeholders lapsed in March.
The application was rejected because the PSE did not meet a requirement to dilute broker ownership in the equities exchange to less than 20%.
LANDBANK stepped in, saying it could improve its financial position, and at the same time expedite the development of the capital markets.
“So the same objective, but we have to redo everything now,” Mr. Buenaventura said on Monday.
He said that PSE was among those who agreed to sell their shares to the government-run lender.