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SEC to firms: disclose Impact of virus on operations

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THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) told listed companies to disclose information concerning the impact of the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on their operations.

In a notice dated Feb. 12, the corporate regulator required the publicly listed companies (PLC) to submit their current reports, which should include the measures they have undertaken or plans to adopt to temper their risks due to the coronavirus contagion.

“[A]ll publicly listed companies (PLC) are mandated to apprise the investing public of risks and impact of the COVID-19 on their business operation by filing SEC Form 17-C,” read the notice, which was released on Friday.

“The PLC must also indicate in their report, all measures to mitigate the risks of the COVID-19 that it will undertake or has undertaken,” it added.

SEC Form 17 or the current report informs the investing public of “every material fact or event that occurs, this would reasonably be expected to affect investor’s decisions in relation to those securities,” the regulator said.

The SEC said it is the duty of companies to report “every fact that would reasonably be expected to materially affect the decision of investors to buy, sell or hold securities.”

The companies can file their reports to be published at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) Electronic Disclosure Generation Technology (EDGE) website until noon of March 16, Monday.

In response, MEDCO Holdings, Inc. released its report, informing the PSE that it has implemented a work-from-home scheme and has cut working hours for its employees doing office works starting March 13.

“A 14-day self quarantine period will also be imposed on employees who will be exposed to persons that are confirmed to have contracted the COVID-19 virus,” the mineral exploration firm added.

The Aboitiz Group said in a separate press statement that it had reminded employees about proper hygiene measures, travel and social distancing guidelines, workplace sanitation. It has also provided regular updates on COVID-19.

“Our utmost concern is the health and safety of our team members,” Aboitiz Group President and Chief Executive Officer Sabin M. Aboitiz said.

ABS-CBN Corp. told the PSE that the coronavirus pandemic had affected advertising revenues and retail sales, as well as events and theatrical box office business performances, both here and abroad.

“To that end, ABS-CBN has triggered its business continuity protocols which are designed to deliver on these objectives,” the media company added.

Its investment arm, ABS-CBN Holdings Corp., which issues Philippine Depositary Receipts, said the pandemic had “no associated risk” in its business, but it had considered teleconferencing after the government’s social distancing policy.

AllHome Corp., in another report, noted the risk on its inventories, especially on tiles and sanitary wares, due to the disruption in the supply chain. Besides this, it also perceived a decline in foot traffic on its stores and a drop in home furnishing and home building spending.

The home retailer also said it will inform stakeholders on the changes to its expansion program for the year.

Meanwhile, Philcomsat Holdings Corp. said the coronavirus disease would not be a risk on its operations, yet it had enforced preventive measures like providing rubbing alcohol and face masks to employees, and allowing a work-from-home scheme for some.

DMCI Holdings, Inc. also claims it has low risk to COVID-19 due to its small workforce. It has also carried out preventive procedures for offices and employees.

Euro-Med Laboratories Phil., Inc., on its part, said it “remain in full operation.”

Separately, the PSE said on Friday that it would implement guidelines for trading floor personnel.

It said trading participants with booths on the trading floor are “strongly encouraged” to temporarily switch to remote or offsite trading. Those that decide to continue doing business on the trading floor are required to limit the number of personnel to one trader per booth, effective Tuesday, March 17.

“Traders who will report on the trading floor will be subject to thermal scanning and other precautionary measures adopted by the Exchange and the building manager. Therefore, a trader whose body temperature is at least 37.3°C shall be refused entry. In cases where the trader developed fever subsequent to entry to the trading floor, the said trader will be required to go home immediately,” the PSE said. — Adam J. Ang





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