PSE looking into delisting PTT

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THE Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. (PSE) is looking at possibly removing Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corp. (PTT) from the roster of firms listed on the local stock market, following the company’s repeated violation of disclosure rules.

The bourse operator said in a statement on Monday that the telco operator has yet to comply with structured filings since 2004, which includes quarterly and audited annual financial reports.

In addition, the PSE cited several instances when PTT did not adhere to the timely disclosure of material information, such as failure to disclose issuance of shares to three companies, penalties imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as legal proceedings regarding corporate rehabilitation.

“It seems that the Exchange’s disclosure rules were blatantly disregarded by PTT. Our team is now evaluating if these multiple disclosure violations warrant the delisting of PTT from the roster of listed firms of PSE,” PSE President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Monzon said in a statement.

The PSE’s statement was in response to PTT officials’ pronouncements last week, where PTT Chief Operations Officer Miguel Marco A. Bitanga said the PSE should lift the trading suspension implemented on the company’s shares since Dec. 4, 2009.

“Whether from a perspective of compliance to the PSE or based on purely economic/market driven benefits, there should be no reason why the company should be prevented from bringing the publicly traded shares into play again, and eventually raising capital to fund future plans, both within and outside of the fixed broadband space,” Mr. Bitanga was previously quoted as saying.

The PSE, however, stands firm that PTT did not comply with such requirements.

“PTT has not submitted compliant structured reports (i.e., quarterly and audited annual reports) since 2004. Accordingly, the company will remain under involuntary trading suspension until it completes its submissions. The company’s declaration in its press release totally surprised us considering we had previously met and informed Mr. Velasquez about these several violations,” Mr. Monzon said, referring to PTT Chief Executive Officer James G. Velasquez.

The PSE has since sent a formal letter to the company informing them of these violations.

“The Exchange has always impressed upon listed companies its rules on fair, accurate, complete, and timely disclosure of material information. This rule applies to all listed firms, even those under trading halts or suspensions,” Mr. Monzon added. — Arra B. Francia