SM Pure Foods in talks to boost public float

By Zinnia Dela Peña, The Philippine Star

Posted at Oct 02 2012 07:07 AM | Updated as of Oct 02 2012 03:07 PM

MANILA, Philippines - San Miguel Pure Foods Co. Inc. (SMPF) said it intends to remain listed on the stock exchange and is holding talks with prospective investors to boost its public ownership level.

SMPF, which has a public float of a mere 0.08 percent, is among the three units of diversifying conglomerate San Miguel Corp. that fall short of the minimum 10 percent public float requirement. The two other subsidiaries are San Miguel Brewery and San Miguel Properties with 0.61 percent and 0.06 percent, respectively.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), SMPF said it “intends to maintain its listed status and continues to consider options that may be implemented for compliance with the 10-percent public float requirement of the exchange, including engaging in preliminary discussions with potential investors.”

SMPF said it would make the necessary disclosures to the bourse as soon as plans have been firmed up.

Company president Francisco Alejo III earlier said they were looking to sell existing shares to private investors or to the public to raise SMPF’s public ownership level to as much as 15 percent.

The PSE requires a 10-percent minimum public float for all listed firms.

Delinquent companies were given until the end of the year to comply with the requirement or face monetary sanctions and suspension of trading in their shares for up to six months beginning the first trading day next year.

Aside from this, companies must still pay listing fees while they are suspended.

After the lapse of the suspension period, they will automatically be delisted from the local bourse, unless they have by then complied with the requirement.

Shares of SMPF were last traded on Feb. 15 at P1,010 apiece.

It would be recalled that in August 2010, San Miguel ditched plans to sell a 49-percent stake in its food manufacturing unit as the local bidders could not meet the conglomerate’s selling price. The foreign bidders, on the other hand, wanted to buy more shares than what was offered.