San Miguel open to sell 36% stake in Meralco
MANILA, Philippines - Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. is willing to sell its 36% stake -- the second biggest ownership block -- in power giant Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).
With Meralco's last trading price of P388.8 per share, San Miguel's stake is currently worth about P157.4 billion.
"We are not actively selling…but if someone comes forward, we would sell," San Miguel president Ramon Ang told reporters on the sidelines of San Miguel Ginebra's stockholders meeting on Thursday, May 9.
"I can easily decide on that in 5 minutes. I will give them terms," he added.
San Miguel Corp. acquired 27% stake, or bulk of its current holdings, in the country's biggest power player from state pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) in a surprise move in late 2008. It marked government's retreat from its over 3-decade hold of a power distributor that had a checkered past.
San Miguel acquired its Meralco shares at P90 apiece, payable in 3 years, and without due diligence.
It was engaged in a battle of boardroom control weeks before Meralco's annual stockholders meeting in 2009, but lost to Manuel V. Pangilinan and the Lopez business groups, which decided to bolt together.
After the Lopez family sold more shares to Pangilinan's group, the latter has solidified control of Meralco's board and operations.
"I have not bought or sold any of those Meralco shares in the last 3 years," said Ang, who also sits in the Meralco board as vice chair.
Last Wednesday, May 8, Pangilinan said at a briefing of Metro Pacific Investments Corp (MPIC) that they are open to increasing the group's stake in Meralco at the right price.
"Meralco is a good company. We are not averse to increasing our stake in Meralco at the right price,” Pangilinan said.
Meralco's franchise covers 5 million households in Metro Manila and nearby areas. - with reports from Aya Lowe/Rappler.com