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Ashmore Group selling out of Ongpin-led Alphaland

By Neil Jerome C. Morales (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 17, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - London-based private equity fund Ashmore Group is cutting its business ties with Ongpin-led Alphaland Corp., the local property developer said in a disclosure yesterday.
“Mr. Roberto V. Ongpin, one of the major shareholders of the company, the Ashmore Group (another major shareholder) and a potential third party investor are in talks for the divestment of Ashmore Group’s investment in the company,” Alphaland said.
“While the major issues have been agreed, the actual executory documents have yet to be signed,” it added.
Sources said Ashmore Group’s board reportedly did not agree to some corporate actions of Alphaland. The private equity firm earlier sought for Ongpin to leave the listed property company.
Alphaland said its management is not involved in the negotiations for the exit of the Ashmore Group.
Ongpin, a former trade minister, was instrumental in orchestrating the deal that allowed Ashmore Group to buy Saudi Aramco’s 40-percent stake in the country’s largest oil refiner Petron Corp. for $550 million in March 2008.
Ashmore Group is also involved in telecommunications (ISM Communications), oil exploration (Philex Petroleum Corp.) and water (Maynilad Water Services).
In April, the equity fund set up a full operating office in Indonesia as it committed to make that country a key market for its operations.
Ashmore Group, which focuses on emerging markets, was set up in 1992 as part of the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group. In 1999, it became independent, managing $77.7 billion worth of pooled funds, segregated accounts and structured products as of end-March.
For its part, Alphaland is focusing on completing its high-end leisure developments catering to the affluent.
It is the company behind the P2-billion Alphaland Marina Club and the 32-hectare Bay City development both along Manila Bay; the P4-billion Balesin Island Club in Quezon province; and the Alphaland City Club that will offer two hectares of leisure, entertainment and business options in Makati central business district.
Alphaland, a joint venture between Ashmore Group and Ongpin’s RVO Capital Ventures, was incorporated in May 2007, with the Alphaland Southgate Tower and Mall at the corner of EDSA and Chino Roces Ave. in Makati City as its first completed project.
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