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Ayala Land to issue voting shares next month

Posted on May 22, 2012 09:49:12 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

LISTED DEVELOPER Ayala Land, Inc. will start issuing preferred shares with voting rights to select stockholders next month in a restructuring move meant to reflect the foreign equity ruling issued by the Supreme Court (SC) last year.

“Our board of directors approved the offer and issuance of the voting preferred shares of the capital stock of our company exclusively to holders of common shares... as of June 4,” Ayala Land said. The offer period will run from June 18 to 22.

Ayala Land will issue 13.04 billion voting preferred shares to its common shareholders via a 1:1 stock rights offer, in a move that is seen to increase the company’s Filipino-owned stock and lower the foreign ownership level of its voting shares to a desired 19% from 38% as of end-January this year.

Last February, the company announced a capital restructuring plan that will enable the company to retire 13.04 billion non-voting preferred shares, a bulk of which are owned by Ayala Land’s parent Ayala Corp., earlier reports said.

“We are retiring our non-voting preferred shares because with the recent SC ruling, they will not anymore serve the purpose for which they were created. It will be implemented sometime in June or July,” Pamela Ann T. Perez, Ayala Land investor communications and compliance head, told BusinessWorld in a text message sent yesterday.

Last year, the SC issued a ruling ordering the Securities and Exchange Commission to use a company’s voting shares in applying the constitutionally-mandated 40% foreign ownership cap on Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) as well as other firms. This is opposed to using outstanding capital stock, which include non-voting preferred shares.

PLDT has similarly moved to redeem preferred shares ahead of plans to sell 150 million new voting stocks to reduce its foreign equity level to 36% from 64%, according to previous reports.

Mediaquest Holdings, Inc., a subsidiary of PLDT’s Beneficial Trust Fund, has a minority stake in BusinessWorld.

While technically not in violation of the foreign ownership law, Ayala Land earlier said it wanted to have enough “room” to adjust its foreign ownership level if it gets too close to the 40% minimum, previous reports said.

Ayala Land hiked its net income for the first quarter by 31.48% to P2.13 billion on better revenues.

Shares of Ayala Land fell by 2.56% to P19.06 yesterday. -- Franz Jonathan G. de la Fuente

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