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Sta. Lucia seeks more time for higher float

Posted on 09:59 PM, December 28, 2010 [ BusinessWorld Online ]
LISTED PROPERTY developer Sta. Lucia Land, Inc. yesterday sought more time to comply with the 10% public ownership rule imposed by the Philippine Stock Exchange last month, saying its owners would dispose of shares to meet the threshold.
“As the corporation is presently unable to comply with the rule on public ownership, it hereby avails of the twelve-month grace period within which to comply,” Sta. Lucia Land said in a disclosure.
“Stockholders of the corporation [have] approved and authorized the company to conduct a placing and transaction,” it added.
Under the program, parent firm Sta. Lucia Realty & Development, Inc. will sell a portion of its shares in the listed real estate firm.
Sta. Lucia Land has an existing property-for-share swap agreement with Sta. Lucia Realty & Development. The companies have yet to finalize how many shares and what property assets will be exchanged.
On. Nov. 29, the Philippine Stock Exchange started implementing a 10% minimum public float rule as a requirement for continued listing.
In January, the rule was recommended for approval by the PSE board to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
As of yesterday, Sta. Lucia Land, which has a market capitalization of P19 billion, had 2.8% public ownership.
A listed company that does not comply with the prescribed minimum percentage will be allowed a grace period of 12 months, rules released by the PSE stated.
Erring firms will be slapped with penalties.
Listed companies that have a public float of 5% and below will be penalized with an amount twice the annual listing maintenance fees (ALMF) for the first year of noncompliance after the 12-month grace period, 2.25 times the ALMF for two years, and 2.5 times the ALMF for three years.
The ALMF for first board companies is equivalent to 1/100 of 1% of the market capitalization but not be less than P250,000 and not more than P2 million for each firm.
The ALMF for those listed in the board for small and medium enterprises is P100 for every P1 million of market capitalization, but not less than P50,000 and not more than P250,000.
For firms that have more than 5% but less than 10% public float, the PSE will slap penalties of 2.5 times the ALMF for the first year of noncompliance after the 12-month grace period, 2.75 times the ALMF for two years, and thrice the ALMF for three years.
After three years of noncompliance, the company’s shares will be suspended and eventually delisted.
In September, Sta. Lucia Land signed a joint-venture agreement with San Ramon Holdings, Inc. The two firms will build a subdivision on a 500,000-square-meter (sq. m.) lot at Canlubang in Calamba, Laguna.
Sta. Lucia earlier signed joint- venture deals with General Milling Corp. covering properties in Cebu with an area of 132,065 sq. m.; private individuals for a parcel of land in San Mateo, Rizal, with an area of 34,703 sq. m.; and SJ Properties, Joseph O. Li, and others for properties at Barangay Kaytitinga inAlfonso, Cavite, with an area of 102,477 sq. m.
Sta. Lucia Land was originally incorporated in 1996 as Zipporah Mining and Industrial Corp. It underwent a restructuring program in the same year, shifting focus to real estate.
Shares in the real estate firm, whose profits surged to P94.87 million in the nine months that ended in September from P17.84 million in the previous year, rose by 1.7% or P0.03 to P1.79 apiece yesterday. -- N. J. C. Morales

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