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Regulator approves increase in Ayala Land voting shares

Posted on July 02, 2012 09:04:08 PM

THE SECURITIES and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved Ayala Land, Inc.’s bid to hike its authorized capital stock by 6.05% as part of a plan to lower its foreign ownership levels.

“The SEC approved [on June 29] the increase in our authorized capital stock from P21.50 billion to P22.80 billion…” Ayala Land said.

The developer said the increase consisted of 13.03 billion voting preferred shares with par value of P0.10 per share, bringing the total to 15 billion shares.

Those shares became issued and outstanding last Thursday, the disclosure added.

Earlier this year, the company announced a capital restructuring plan wherein 13.04 billion non-voting preferred shares will be retired while 13.04 billion voting preferred shares will then be issued to common shareholders via a 1:1 stock rights offer.

This move is seen to lower foreign ownership of Ayala Land voting shares to a desired 19% from 38% as of end-January this year after a Supreme Court (SC) ruling recently clarified corporate equity limits.

Last year, the SC issued a ruling ordering the SEC to use a company’s voting shares in applying the constitutionally-mandated 40% foreign ownership limit on Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) as well as on 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 leeway to adjust its foreign ownership level if it gets too close to the 40% minimum.

For 2012, Ayala Land has allotted a record P37 billion in capital expenditures (capex) to fund around 67 new projects with an estimated sales value of P90 billion, as well as for the acquisition of new properties moving forward.

The firm tapped the bond market last May, listing P15 billion worth of fixed-rate callable bonds, whose proceeds will be used to fund part of the firm’s 2012 capex.

The company is also keen to enter into partnerships with other property firms for its expansion plans, recent reports showed.

Last Friday, Ayala Land said it was poised to enter into negotiations with the Ortigas family for a “strategic alliance” aimed at possibly building residential, office, retail, and hotel components inside and outside Metro Manila.

Ayala Land has allotted an initial P15 billion for this effort.

The company hiked its net income for the first quarter by 31.48% to P2.13 billion from year-ago levels on improved sales.

Ayala Land shares rose by 2.08% to P22.05 at the close of trading yesterday. -- Franz Jonathan G. de la Fuente            
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