Petron to sell shares at discount

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Petron Corp needs to increase its public ownership by selling shares to meet the required minimum public float

MANILA, Philippines – The plans of Petron Corp. Employees Retirement Plan (PCERP) to sell at a discount its shares in the country’s largest oil refiner stirred heavy trading at the stock exchange on Wednesday, January 18.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange, Petron Corp. said the board of trustees of the pension fund approved the sale of 695.3 million shares at P11, putting the deal size on the 7.4% stake in the refiner at P7.65 billion.

The selling price reflected a 17.3% discount against its P13.30 closing price the day before.

The announcement caused the Petron stock to slide almost 15% to P11.30 on Wednesday.

Analysts took notice of heavy trading volume in Petron Corp. on Wednesday, January 18, when the index hit another historic high at 4,677.62.

“In general, the market is down but the index is up probably because the smaller investors are selling to buy Petron,” said Joseph Roxas, president of Eagle Equities Inc.

Roxas said stock investors were shifting from other issues to Petron since the refiner’s share price was considered “not expensive.”

Petron is controlled by conglomerate San Miguel Corp., which has diversified away from its core food and drinks business and into heavy industries, including oil and energy.

San Miguel acquired a stake in Petron in 2008, then completed its acquisition of majority control in 2010.

The conglomerate had earlier planned to acquire more shares in Petron, but it announced before that all its units, including Petron, will meet the minimum public ownership of at least 10%. The stock exchange is strictly enforcing the minimum public float this 2012 and has warned that those who do not comply face sanctions, including suspension and delisting. 

Currently, only 7.5% of Petron is owned by the public. The sale of the pension fund’s stake will allow it to meet the 10% public float cap. –

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