MANILA, Philippines – STI Holdings Incorporated of businessman Eusebio Tanco said it was declared the winning bidder for the Manila properties of the Philippine Women’s University (PWU) in a foreclosure auction conducted by the Manila Regional Trial Court on Wednesday, March 18.
In a disclosure to the stock exhange, STI said it won in the auction sales involving extra-judicial foreclosures of PWU properties along Taft Avenue in Malate, Manila, where the PWU campus is located.
STI also got ownership of another property located at Pilar Hidalgo Lim Street, Malate, Manila, registered in the name of PWU.
In February, STI filed separate foreclosure petitions against PWU properties in Manila; the JASMS Quezon City campus; and a property in Davao under the name of Unlad Resources Development Corporation (Unlad), the corporate arm of the Benitez family. The foreclosure petitions were a result of PWU’s failure to settle its obligations worth nearly P1 billion ($22.30 million).
STI Holdings bailed out PWU in 2011 when it acquired PWU’s loan with BDO Unibank Incorporated worth P223 million ($4.97 million) and another P198 million ($4.42 million) to Unlad. The loans were secured with PWU and Unlad assets worth over P1.5 billion ($33.46 million).
The Benitez group expressed disappointment over the decision of the STI group to pursue the foreclosure of the university’s properties, saying that this “only serves to hurt the school and threaten the welfare of the students, faculty, and employees.”
“It is now very evident that STI is totally disregarding the welfare of PWU. This is what we have been saying all along, that the priorities of STI’s owner, Mr. Eusebio Tanco, are really incompatible with those of the Benitez group and the PWU stakeholders,” PWU media director Lydia Benitez-Brown said in a statement.
Brown pointed out that PWU chairperson Dr Helena Benitez had already filed a petition for rehabilitation which they hope will give PWU breathing space in the face of STI Holdings’ relentless attempts to take over school properties on Taft Avenue, Quezon Avenue, and Davao.
“A petition for rehabilitation has already been filed to pay off PWU’s debts at a reasonable rate and, more importantly, ensure the continuation of the operations of the university. These are matters that are now in the hands of the rehabilitation court,” Brown said.
On March 3, the Benitez family raised its settlement offer to STI Holdings to P644.44 million ($14.38 million), higher that in its initial offer of P550 million ($12.27 million). The new offer though is still below the P923 million ($20.60 million) demanded by STI Holdings.
Benitez submitted a proposed rehabilitation plan to enable it to meet its obligations to its creditors, including STI, without disrupting the conduct of its business.
The plan covers a rehabilitation period providing for the sale of assets to cover part of the debts of PWU, while the rest will be paid in accordance with projected cash flow over a 10-year period.
In the meantime, Brown said the group will continue to work to ensure that the operations of the university continue unhampered amid the foreclosure proceedings. – Rappler.com
US$1 = P44.82
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