San Miguel group to comply with 20% minimum public float

MANILA, Philippines – Conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC) and its food manufacturing unit San Miguel Pure Foods Incorporated will comply with the planned 20% minimum public ownership being eyed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said the conglomerate as well as its unit San Miguel Pure Foods will sell some shares to comply with the public float requirement.

"Yes, [we] will comply. But it will only be small because we are almost at 20%," Ang said.

SMC's public float is currently at 15.27%, while San Miguel Pure Foods' free float is at 14.61%.

Meanwhile, SMC recently formed a wholly-owned subsidiary that will engage in buying and selling securities.

The conglomerate said its unit SMC Stock Transfer Service Corporation will acquire an existing trading right to participate in the trading of listed securities at the local bourse.

SMC chief finance officer Ferdinand Constantino said this venture will benefit the San Miguel group since it has many listed companies. Aside from SMC and San Miguel Pure Foods, the group also owns listed firm Ginebra San Miguel Incorporated.

SMC also plans to list its power generating unit San Miguel Global Holdings Incorporated in 2017.

"We are planning it before the end of the year," Ang told reporters.

The SEC conducted a public consultation on Wednesday, June 14, saying 68 listed companies will have to sell shares to comply with the 20% public ownership requirement by 2020.

Based on the regulator's proposal, the minimum public float of listed companies will be gradually increased from the current 10% to 15% by end-2018, as well as 20% by end-2020.

At least P130 billion worth of capital will be raised if all 68 firms decide to meet the 20% public ownership. –