ABS-CBN shares fall as it fights for fresh franchise

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 18 2020 09:44 AM

The exterior of Eugenio Lopez Jr. Corporate Center is lit in red with a blue heart in the middle on April 22, 2020 as a tribute to all frontliners and fallen heroes in the war against COVID-19. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- Shares of ABS-CBN Corp fell at the resumption of trading on Monday, as it moved to secure a fresh franchise and resume broadcast operations.

The Philippines' largest media and entertainment company traded at P17.50 on May 5. At the close of trading on the same day, the National Telecommunications Commission ordered it to "cease and desist" TV and radio broadcast due to an expired franchise.

Its shares dropped 9.6 percent at the start of trading to P15.82. It can drop to as low as P12.25 or 30 percent from its previous close.

"The volatility is quite expected," says BPI Securities analyst Tristan Valerio. "This is going to be a news-driven stock for now."

The House of Representatives last week passed on second reading a bill that will grant ABS-CBN temporary 6-month franchise while it deliberates on several measures seeking a new 25-year license. However, the chamber was scheduled Monday to recall the second reading approval to give way to amendments.

The Senate will hold a hearing on Tuesday on the provisional franchise. 

ABS-CBN told the stock exchange last week that "all the conditions and qualifications" to renew its franchise were present, adding its shutdown would significantly affect media, networks and studio entertainment operations.

Lopez-owned ABS-CBN said that despite the shutdown, which came as the Philippines grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, it was committed to paying its debts and taking care of its employees.

On May 7, ABS-CBN News started streaming its flagship newscast, TV Patrol, on Facebook and YouTube, garnering millions of views.

The NTC had apologized to the House for failure to inform lawmakers of the cease and desist order.

News.abs-cbn.com is the official news website of ABS-CBN Corp.