Apr 082014

MANILA, Philippines – Century Pacific Food Inc., the country’s largest canned goods producer, will become the second company to list in the local bourse through an initial public offering (IPO).

In a memorandum, the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) said its board of directors approved the P3.33-billion IPO of Century Pacific.

“We’re very optimistic about Century Pacific. It’s another play on the consumer growth and the growing income of Filipinos,” said Eduardo V. Francisco, president of BDO Capital & Investment Corp.

“The consumer market in the Philippines will continue to grow because of the rising gross domestic product,” Francisco said, adding that increased spending capacity allows consumers to shift to more expensive products like corned beef from cheaper sardines.

Century Pacific will list 2.22 billion common shares, of which 229.654 million shares will be offered to the public at a maximum price of P14.50 each that will raise as much as P3.329 billion.

The bulk of the IPO proceeds will be used to pay existing debts, with the remaining funds allotted for capital expenditures, potential opportunistic acquisitions and general working capital.

Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Francisco said retiring debts will immediately improve the profitability of Century Pacific. The company is being advised by Evercore Asia Ltd. while the offer will be underwritten jointly by BDO Capital, BPI Capital and First Metro Investment Corp.

The final IPO price will be set on Apr. 21. Offer period will run from Apr. 23 to Apr. 29, while the listing of the shares in the PSE is scheduled on May 6.

DoubleDragon Properties Corp. became the first firm to conduct an IPO this year while Top Frontier Investment Holdings Inc., the majority shareholder of diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp., listed by way of introduction in January.

Century Pacific, the firm behind Century Tuna, Argentina and 555, is the Philippines’ largest producer of canned goods, cornering 84.1 percent of the domestic canned tuna market, 42.5 percent for corned beef and 25.6 percent for meat loaf.

“Over the last 35 years, Century Pacific has established a strong brand and product portfolio through, and supported by, continuous product innovation, brand building and acquisition of brands from third parties,” the company said.

The tuna manufacturer plans to strengthen its market leadership through new products and partnerships while venturing into new categories like coconut water and premium meat products.

Last year, profits of Century Pacific hit P690.29 million as net sales reached P19.06 billion.

Century Pacific started operations in 1978 when businessman Ricardo S. Po Sr. set up Century Canning. Other brands of Century Pacific include BlueBay, Wow, Birch Tree, Angel, Fresca, Lucky 7 and Shanghai.

Mar 232014
PSE seen testing 6,500-pt level this wk

MANILA, Philippines – The upswing in the local bourse is still in play for this week, with month-end window dressing and positive news likely to push the benchmark index close to the 6,500 level. Investors will monitor several market-moving news here and abroad, particularly those related to interest rates, analysts said. “The uptrend remains intact and a retest of 6,500 level is still probable,” said Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist of BDO Unibank Inc. On the other hand, there is also a risk of the main index dropping below the 6,300 level. “On a technical basis, the market broke its short-term support level at 6,400 and 6,350, but remains mid-way through its three-month upward trend channel,” said Joyce Anne Ramos, an analyst at AB Capital Securities Inc. “Should the anticipated market developments turn out positively in addition to the possibility of window dressing for the end of first quarter, we expect that the local bourse will slowly inch upwards to test the resistance levels at 6,550 and 6,570,” Ramos said. Week-on-week, the Philippine Stock Exchange index lost 0.81 percent or 51.98 points to close at 6,339.26, with the decline led by holdings firms that sank 2.21 percent or 130.23 points. It marked the second straight week the main index ended in the red. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 The geopolitical tension in Ukraine, the nearing conclusion of the US Federal Reserve’s stimulus program and the impending increase in US interest rates kept a lid on share Read More …

Dec 292013
Investor activity in 2014 seen to remain robust

MANILA, Philippines – Investor activity is expected to remain robust next year, with an upside for a slight growth after investors weigh the effects of the gradual US Federal Reserve tapering. The country’s growth story remains intact, a factor that could help restore investor confidence in the local bourse, an official said. “We think of a 10-percent increment (in capital raising proceeds). We have a larger base now and we said there is better certainty about the taper,” PSE president and CEO Hans B. Sicat said. Sicat said investors are now sure that the easing of the monetary stimulus, which has flooded financial markets with liquidity, will be gradual. This year, capital proceeds from private placement, stock rights offerings and follow-on offerings declined 20 percent to P175.06 billion from P219.07 billion in 2012 as market volatility dampened the valuation of listed companies. With the projected increase, capital proceeds next year might reach P192 billion. “With valuations where they are right now, it would help investors who want to come in the market next year,” Sicat said. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 From recording the 31st all-time high this year at 7,392.20 on May 15, the benchmark PSE index closed 2013 at 5,889.83 due to a slew of negative news that dampened investor sentiment. PSE data showed that net foreign buying plunged 85.83 percent to P15.58 billion as of end-2013 from P109.97 billion a year ago. Foreign selling surged 74.68 percent to P1.29 trillion this year from Read More …

Oct 182013
FMIC unit first to offer ETFs

MANILA, Philippines – The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has allowed First Metro Philippine Equity ETF Inc. of the Metrobank Group to register and offer shares to the public, making it the first firm to offer the new investment vehicle called exchange-traded funds (ETF). Specifically, First Metro Philippine ETF, a subsidiary of Metrobank’s investment banking arm First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC), can now offer its entire authorized capital stock of P3 billion consisting of 30 million common shares at a par value of P100 apiece. ETFs are securities and investment instruments that monitor a commodity of assets like an index fund but trades like a normal stock in an exchange. “First Metro Philippine ETF aims to provide returns that would reflect the performance of the Philippine equities market by investing in a basket of securities included in the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi),” the company said. “The portfolio of the fund is to be rebalanced and reconstituted every six months in order to adjust to the current composition of the PSE,” it added. Under its business plan, the fund will at all times invest at least 80 percent of its assets in the highest 15 to 20 weighted securities of the PSEi. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 “The fund may invest the remainder of its assets in liquid investments, including cash, cash equivalents, money market instruments and shares of money market funds advised by First Metro Asset Management Inc. (FAMI),” the firm said. Shares of the Read More …

Oct 032013
Market rallies after Moody's upgrade

MANILA, Philippines – The investment grade status the Philippines received from Moody’s Investors Service propelled the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) to positive territory on Thursday. The benchmark PSE index closed 0.4 percent or 25.39 points higher at 6,387.65. This brings the main index’s year-to-date gains to 9.9 percent. Intraday, the local bourse hit 6,418.15. “Now that all three major rating agencies have an investment grade rating on the country, we are even more excited about the economic prospects of the Philippines. The investment grade rating is a vote of confidence in the fundamental strengths of the economy. As investors train their eyes on us, we hope to continue to interest them behind the growth outlook of our listed companies and the variety of investment products that we will soon be offering,”PSE President and Chief Executive Officer Hans Sicat said. The broader all shares index similarly grew, adding 5.52 points or 0.14 percent to close at 3,842.32. Four subindices advanced, led by the holding firms. The financials and industrial subindices dipped, on the other hand. Total volume reached 921.63 million, valued at P6.11 billion. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 Decliners outpaced gainers 72 to 62, while 52 issues were unchanged.

Sep 292013
PSE sees more initial public offerings in fourth quarter

MANILA, Philippines – The recent recovery and less volatility in the local bourse will likely encourage large Philippine companies to pursue previously deferred initial public offerings (IPOs). New products and services will also be rolled out late this year to entice more investors, the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) chief said. “You are now seeing roadshows. That’s good and I hope these companies will be able to catch the window when they can issue,” PSE president and CEO Hans Sicat said. “Hopefully, we will get a few of them done this quarter,” Sicat added. The country’s stock exchange has partially recovered losses it suffered from hefty pullbacks from June to August. Sources said the Gokongwei family’s Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. is already conducting a road show for its P42-billion IPO while Resorts World Manila owner Travellers International Hotel Group has downsized its IPO to $450 million from $842-million due to weakness in the market. Both companies deferred plans to go public amid a market slump mid this year. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 “If firms can do the transaction successfully, they can come back to the market later on with other deals,” Sicat said. “If they do a transaction that is very highly priced and tough to do in a particular market environment, it will be harder for them to come back with a second tranche of debt or equity,” Sicat said. “I think there will be more companies coming to the market to take advantage of Read More …

Jul 262013
Discovery World pushes through with P1-B IPO

MANILA, Philippines – The company behind upscale resort hotel Discovery Shores Boracay is pushing through with its P1-billion initial public offering (IPO) late next month. In a memorandum, the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) said it “approved the application of Discovery World Corp. for the initial listing of 764 million common shares.” Discovery World plans to sell 306 million common shares at P3.28 apiece to generate P1.003 billion in fresh capital. The shares to be sold represent 40.05 percent of the issued and outstanding common shares of Discovery World. Offer period will run from Aug. 12 to 19, which will be followed by the listing in the PSE on Aug. 29. The new schedule is roughly a month behind the original plan as the market  encountered volatility last month. Discovery World, the third company of the Tiu family to be listed in the PSE, tapped Abacus Capital & Investment Corp. as  issue manager and underwriter. The Tiu family owns i-Remit Inc. and TKC Steel Corp. Early this month, Discovery World secured the Securities and Exchange Commission’s approval to raise fresh capital from the local stock market. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 “The net proceeds from the offer will be used for investments in new businesses, debt retirement and working capital purposes,” Discovery World said. Specifically, P575 million will be spent to develop a resort hotel in Palawan, refurbish boats for its cruise business and buy more shares in culinary, hotel and restaurant, and business administration institution Enderun Read More …

Jul 112013
PSE boosts info drive as new product enters local bourse

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has launched an information campaign on exchange traded funds (ETFs), a form of investment funds to be introduced in the local market. “Now that the Philippine regulatory framework for ETFs has been finalized, we can officially start accepting listing applications from prospective ETF companies.  I know a lot of market participants have waited long for this product to be offered to investors and we are now all working hard to ensure that we meet the expectations of the market,” PSE President and Chief Operating Officer Hans B. Sicat said. The Securities and Exchange Commission approved last June 20 Part C of the PSE ETF rules after Parts A and B were approved last March. The local bourse then proceeded to conduct seminars to make the public aware of how ETFs work. An ETF is similar to a mutual fund that tracks a basket of assets but is traded like stocks. Unlike mutual funds, however, the price of an ETF is quoted real time so investors immediately know the buying and selling price of their shares. “For retail investors, especially those who are just starting to invest in the market, ETFs allow for a cheaper access to a diversified portfolio of stocks because investors do not have to buy multiple stocks,” the local bourse said. PSE added that the performance of an ETF is also easier to analyze and monitor because its asset per share value is updated every minute and its tracking Read More …

Jul 112013
Harbor Star pushes back P539-M IPO

MANILA, Philippines – A local tugboat operator has pushed back its P539-million initial public offering (IPO), making it the third company to defer its public share sale due to unfavorable market conditions. “In consultation with issue manager and lead underwriter Abacus Capital & Investment Corp., we request for a deferment of the company’s initial public offering to a later date,” Harbor Star Shipping Services Inc. said in a letter to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE). “We believe that current market conditions are less than ideal to undertake and launch the offering,” it added. Late last month, Harbor Star secured the PSE board’s approval to list in the local bourse. Under the original timeline, final pricing was scheduled yesterday, followed by the start of a domestic roadshow on July 11. Offer period will start on July 22 and end on July 26 while Aug. 2 will mark the listing date. “Tentatively, we are looking at a new offer period within September 2013,” Harbor Star said. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 Since hitting its all-time high at 7,392.20 on May 15, the benchmark PSE index has slipped to 6,308.18 as of yesterday as foreign funds exit emerging markets in hopes of higher yields in advanced economies. Due to the market’s volatility, Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. and Travellers Hotel Group Inc. deferred their P40-billion and P42-billion IPO, respectively. Three firms have so far debuted in the local bourse this year: Philippine Business Bank, Asia United Bank and Del Monte Read More …

Jul 052013
BSP eases forex rules anew

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s foreign exchange rules were liberalized anew on what the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said was part of efforts to prepare the Philippines for the financial integration of Southeast Asian economies by 2015.  “The objective is to further broaden the scope for regional and international transactions as we become more integrated with financial markets globally,” BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said in a text message to reporters. BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo, in a separate text message, said the new rules were meant to “prepare the Philippines for a more integrated financial markets” of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by 2020. Tetangco said the central bank is allowing non-residents to invest in foreign companies listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange. Peso earnings from these investments may now also be converted into dollars. Prior to this, Guinigundo said only Philippine residents could register with custodian banks in order to buy shares of PSE-listed non-resident companies. Registration of portfolio investments – inflows to equities, bonds and peso deposits – through custodian banks are necessary to allow remittance of earnings and convert them into other currencies. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1  “We are setting the stage for the eventuality that trading links (among the ASEAN nations) are established,” he told reporters.  “This is in connection also to the planned cross-listing” on regional bourses planned under the ASEAN financial integration, Guinigundo explained. In addition, the BSP is also allowing the pre-payment of central Read More …