PSE lifts trading halt on DITO CME after vow to refund investors in canceled SRO

Art Fuentes, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 31 2022 10:02 PM

MANILA - The Philippine Stock Exchange said Monday evening it will again allow DITO CME shares to be traded on the bourse after the company vowed to refund investors in its scuttled share sale. 

The PSE earlier halted the trading of DITO CME shares and ordered the Dennis Uy-led firm to explain its decision to cancel its P8 billion stock rights offer. 

But in a statement released at 7:57 p.m., the PSE said DITO CME “provided additional information in relation to the deferment of its SRO, including the schedule for the refund of payments for the subscriptions.”

Because of this DITO shares will resume trading on Feb. 2 at 10:30 a.m, the PSE said. 

Despite this, the PSE said it may still pursue action over the incident. 

“We wish to emphasize that the lifting of the trading halt should not be construed as an approval by the Exchange of the deferment of the offering and is without prejudice to any regulatory action that the Exchange may pursue in order to ensure full compliance with the applicable rules and for the protection of the investing public consistent with the mandate of the Exchange, as a self-regulatory organization, to maintain a fair and orderly market,” the PSE said. 

“The Company, its underwriter, and other advisers are responsible for strict compliance with the rules of the Exchange,” it added. 

In a disclosure posted at 7:45 p.m., DITO CME said it consulted China Bank, which is the underwriter of the share sale, and company parent Udenna before deciding to defer the stock rights offer. 

DITO CME cited the recent COVID-19 Omicron surge and “hawkish pronouncements of the Federal Reserve” as providing less than ideal market conditions.

Despite running for almost a month, few investors showed interest in the share sale. 

“In the meantime, the Company is working closely with AB Stock Transfers Corporation (the “Stock Transfer Agent” and “Receiving Agent”) of the SRO to ensure that funds received by investors are returned at the soonest possible time,” DITO CME said in its disclosure. 

The Uy-led firm meanwhile said it hopes to hold another stock rights offer as investors see the growth of the company’s business and as market conditions improve.