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PSE suspends Eton, lifts ban on Victorias Milling

Posted on May 18, 2012 07:53:54 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) wielded its authority over two firms in line with reportorial requirements on Friday, ordering a trading suspension on shares of Eton Properties Philippines, Inc. for alleged non-compliance while at the same time lifting a similar ban on Victorias Milling Co., Inc.

The trading of Eton shares was halted beginning 9 a.m. following the developer’s alleged failure to submit its annual report for 2011 using the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Form 17-A, which was due last April 16, a circular read.

Sought for comment, Eton Properties Director Wilson T. Young said in a text message: “The delay in the [submission of the] report is due to the non-completion of certain audit requirements to comply with updated accounting regulations. Eton...will definitely comply with the reportorial requirements to facilitate the lifting of the suspension.”

PSE’s revised disclosure rules provides that firms that fail to comply with the stock exchange’s reportorial rules shall be automatically suspended for up to three months, after which procedures for delisting will be started.

In a separate circular, the PSE allowed sugar manufacturer Victorias Milling to resume trading of its share on the local bourse on May 21, 9 a.m., ending a 15-year halt.

“Please be advised that [Victorias Milling] has complied with the structured reportorial requirements of the exchange, and has paid the corresponding penalties imposed for delayed and non-submission of certain structured reports for the years ended 1999 to 2002,” the PSE said.

Earlier this year, the SEC cleared Victorias Milling of allegations that it misrepresented material information contained in its official records, paving the way for its shares’ trading resumption after being suspended by the PSE in 1997.

Victorias Milling faced financial difficulties in the mid-1990s due to its failure to contain rising overhead costs amid a drop in sugar prices and increasing competition from new and expanded sugar mills and refineries, prompting the firm to enter rehabilitation and debt restructuring in 2000.

Recently, the company has slowly been gaining ground in the payment of its obligations to various banks.

As of mid-October last year, Victorias Milling has already paid bank creditors around P2.7 billion by way of interest and P1.45 billion on its restructured loan, earlier reports said.

Shares of Eton Properties were last traded on May 16 at P3.53 apiece, while Victorias Milling shares were last traded on Oct. 8, 1997 at 29 centavos each.

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