Manila not selling 40 percent Petron stake: DOE chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 16 2008 11:38 AM | Updated as of Jun 16 2008 07:38 PM

The Philippines will not sell its 40 percent stake in local oil refiner Petron Corp. in a $827-million tender offer a unit of investment fund Ashmore Group launched last week, the energy secretary said on Monday.

The government wants to sell its stake in the country's largest oil firm at a premium, energy chief Angelo Reyes told reporters.

"We are better off holding to the 40 percent stake," Reyes said. "We are not taking advantage of this tender offer."

London-listed Ashmore Group's unit, SEA Refinery Holdings BV, told the Philippine Stock Exchange on Friday it would conduct a tender offer to acquire the remaining 20-percent stake held by minority shareholders in Petron Corp. from June 16 until July 14.

"The bidder reserves the right to extend the tender offer with the approval of the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission)," SEA Refinery Holdings BV said.

The Ashmore Group will purchase 40 percent of Petron from Saudi's Aramco Overseas Company BV for $550 million. It also intends to buy the shares of small investors at a price of P6.531 each.

"This is equivalent to the price paid for the private sale shares of $0.147 per share and based on the Philippine Dealing System closing exchange rate on June 11, 2008 of $1.00 to P44.43," it said.

Saudi Aramco supplies crude oil to Petron, which in turn accounts for about 40 percent of the country's total fuel requirements.

The board of the state-owned Philippine National Oil Co. approved last May 12 the sale of 40 percent of Saudi Aramco's stake in Petron Corp. to the Ashmore Group of the United Kingdom for $550 million.
 
The PNOC's financial advisers to the deal said not approving the sale would have reversed the Philippine government's policy of privatization. It would also cost taxpayers $825 million if the government makes a subsequent tender offer for the 40% stake, they added.  With Agence France Presse, Reuters