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Paramount tender offer more than halfway through

Posted on December 06, 2012 10:05:52 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ] 
PARAMOUNT LandEquities, Inc., majority owner of soon-to-be-delisted Eton Properties Philippines, Inc., has already acquired close to 60% of shares owned by the developer’s minority stockholders five days ahead of the new tender offer deadline, the real estate developer said in a disclosure yesterday. 
“Please be informed that, to date, a total of 44,072,330 common shares of Eton Properties have been tendered out of the 73,798,267 common shares owned by the public and listed with the exchange, pursuant to the tender offer being conducted by Paramount LandEquities,” the disclosure, dated yesterday, read.
This translated as of Thursday to 59.72% of shares under tender.
More shares may still be bought back, however, in light of Eton Properties’ disclosure last Wednesday that the corporate regulator on Monday ordered the extension of the offer period by eight days from its original Dec. 5 end.
“This is without prejudice to the additional shares that may be tendered after Dec. 5, pursuant to the directive of the Securities and Exchange Commission to delay or postpone the tender offer period,” the disclosure added.
Eton announced last October that it would not be able to comply with the Philippine Stock Exchange’s (PSE) 10% minimum public ownership requirement by the yearend deadline to do so and that it will delist by Jan. 3 next year. The developer has a mere 5.65% public float level, according to the PSE Web site.
Part of this process is to buy back the 73.8 million shares held by public stockholders, equivalent to approximately 2.54% of Eton Properties’ outstanding capital stock, at a tender offer price of P3 apiece.
PSE had given public float-deficient firms until yearend to achieve the minimum or else face sanctions leading to forced delisting.
Eton Properties was incorporated in 1971 to engage in oil exploration and mineral development under the name Balabac Oil Exploration & Drilling Co., Inc., eventually changing its primary purpose to that of a holding company, with real estate development and oil exploration among its secondary purposes.
The company’s net income plunged by 98.06% to only P11.68 million as of September, from P600.63 million in the same nine months last year, partly due non-recognition of sales of unfinished property projects, coupled with cost from higher taxes. In the same comparative nine-month periods, revenues fell 44.99% to P2.03 billion from P3.69 billion, while costs and expenses dropped 32.19% to P1.98 billion from P2.92 billion.
Shares of Eton Properties were last traded on Wednesday at P2.97 apiece. -- F. J. G. de la Fuente         

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