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Eton trading suspension likely to stretch until mid-June

Posted on May 21, 2012 10:05:02 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

THE TRADING suspension on Eton Properties Philippines, Inc.’s shares will likely remain in place until next month, with the errant developer yesterday saying it will only be able to resolve the ban by mid-June.

“Management is currently endeavoring to complete its [2011] annual report and expects to be able to submit the same by mid-June 2012,” Eton Properties said.

Last Friday, the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) halted the trading of Eton Properties’ shares following the company’s failure to submit its annual report, which had been due since April 16.

Glitches in the company’s adoption of a fully automated accounting system, particularly for transactions covering over 30 property projects, delayed the creation of the annual report, Eton Properties said.

Under the PSE’s revised disclosure rules, firms that fail to comply with the stock exchange’s reportorial requirements shall be automatically suspended for up to three months.

Those that have not complied after three months will be subjected to delisting procedures.

So far, the developer has only submitted SEC Form 17-Q, or its quarterly report for the period ending Sept. 2011, which it forwarded to the PSE last November.

Nevertheless, Eton Properties said it will be able to solve its accounting issues in the next few days and complete its annual report soon.

“Management is confident... that these problems will be sorted out within the week and the fully automated accounting system will better serve the reporting requirements of the company in the long term,” the company said.

Eton Properties was incorporated in 1971 to engage in oil exploration and mineral development projects in the Philippines under the name Balabac Oil Exploration & Drilling Co., Inc.

It eventually changed its primary purpose to a holding company, with real estate development and oil exploration as among its secondary purposes.

For 2011, the company was aiming to surpass the P288-million full-year net income it booked in 2010, and deliver 2,351 residential units in 2012, according to earlier BusinessWorld reports.

Eton Properties realized a nine-month net income last year of P600.63 million, up 13.21% from P530.55 million in the same period in 2010, due to lower costs and expenses.

Total revenues similarly jumped by 20.12% to P3.76 billion in the January to September period last year.

Expenses in the first nine months of 2011 also rose by 18.21% to P2.966 billion from P2.509 billion last year.

The company, which has a public float of 5.6% according to recent PSE data, is one of 30-plus listed firms mandated to raise their public ownership levels to a minimum of 10% by Jan. 1, 2013, or else face penalties leading to eventual delisting from the stock exchange.

Shares of Eton Properties were last traded on May 16 at P3.53 apiece. -- Franz Jonathan G. de la Fuente

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