MANILA, Philippines – Billionaire Enrique Razon wants to get the rest of Manila Water’s shares, as the embattled company absorbs more of President Rodrigo Duterte’s curses while renegotiating its contract with government.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Friday, February 7, Manila Water said it received a letter from Razon’s Prime Metroline Holdings, saying that it intends to make a mandatory tender offer for the shares of the utility firm at P13 a piece.
As of 12 noon of Friday, Manila Water shares were trading at the local bourse at around P14, which means that Razon’s offer is slightly lower. However, the offer is higher than prices seen in recent days at just P9 to P10.
Shares fell by 9% upon the announcement of the tender offer.
On Monday, Razon acquired 25% of common shares of the embattled Ayala-led company, and later on got 51% of voting rights on Thursday. Ayala maintains most of the equity share of Manila Water at 38.6%, but now has voting rights of only 31.6%. Simply put, Ayala retains economic interest but Razon will have a bigger say on its structure and operations.
The Department of Justice earlier said that Razon entering into Manila Water does not stop the review of the concession agreement.
The contract review came after Manila Water won a P7.4 billion arbitration case over water rates. The company initially sought a “middle ground,” but later on completely stopped seeking payment from government when Duterte threatened not to recognize its contract extension and effectively end the business by 2022.
Manny V. Pangilinan’s Maynilad, the other water concessionaire in Metro Manila, also won an arbitration case and faced the same threats from Duterte. – Rappler.com