LANDBANK gives PSE up to March 15 to decide on PDS offer

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Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK)

By Karl Angelo N. Vidal, Reporter

THE Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) will get one more month to decide on the offer of Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) to buy out the remaining shares in the Philippine Dealing System Holdings Corp. (PDSHC).

In a text message, LANDBANK President and Chief Executive Officer Alex V. Buenaventura said the state-owned lender is giving the PSE until March 15 to make a decision on its offer “due to request for extension from many PDSHC shareholders.”

LANDBANK previously extended the offer period to purchase the remaining shares in the fixed-income bourse to Jan. 31, 2019, from the earlier deadline set at end-2018.

The proposed acquisition placed the value of PDSHC shares at P215 apiece or for a total of P281.96 million, “subject to terms and conditions.”

The current offer price is 40% lower than the offer initially approved by the LANDBANK board last year, priced at P360 per share or a total of P472.11 million.

The extended offer period came three days after the PSE clarified it has yet to make a final decision on the offer of LANDBANK to buy its shares.

“Management was tasked to further study matters related to the offer. The Company will be guided by the timelines indicated in the offer by (LANDBANK) and make the appropriate communications at the appropriate time,” the PSE said on Monday.

Based on the shareholder structure found in its website, the PDS Holdings is 21% owned by the PSE. The biggest shareholder group, with a 28.9% stake, is made up of members of the Bankers Association of the Philippines and institutions.

LANDBANK sought to take over the fixed-income exchange after continued delays in the planned merger of PSE and PDS Holdings 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.