First Holdings buys back $5M in debt notes

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 23 2009 05:54 PM | Updated as of Feb 24 2009 01:54 AM

The holding firm for the power and manufacturing businesses of the Lopez family has bought back another $5 million of its floating rate notes due this October.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday, First Philippine Holdings Corp. (FPHC) said the payment for the buyback was sourced from the proceeds of its P43-billion preferred share sale in April 2008.

FPHC has been repurchasing its floating rate notes since last year and settling its loans ahead of their maturity dates. The company's maturing notes are now down to $21.10 million.

Earlier, FPHC shareholders approved the proposed amendments to the company's by-laws, which include the tightening of the qualifications of its board of directors.

President and chief operating officer Elpidio Ibañez explained the amendments on qualifications or disqualifications of directors "were principally designed to protect the company's interest and those of its shareholders as a whole."

The move, he added, would prevent the entry of persons who have committed acts causing undue injury to the company or may have engaged in any activity which was antagonistic to the organization.

Sources, meanwhile, described the move as a shield to protect the company from takeovers and controversies similar to what happened in the Manila Electric Co. last year. FPHC owns around 33 percent of the power distribution firm.

"Antagonistic activities are destructive to any company," Ibañez said. He said their shareholders and proxies, who included big international investors, were very supportive of the amendments which were in line with FPHC's commitment to strengthen its good corporate governance.