Calata shares slump amid trading probe

By Coco Alcuaz, ABS-CBN News Channel

Posted at Aug 02 2012 05:21 PM | Updated as of Aug 03 2012 05:41 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Calata Corp. slumped 26% to below its offer price after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) confirmed it is investigating trading that tripled the stock price in the two weeks after it listed in May.

In an e-mail to ANC, Calata Corp. chief executive officer Joseph Calata said the company requested the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) to probe the trading.

Calata said the company was aware of the investigation by the Capital Markets Integrity Corp. (CMIC) but was never contacted by the watchdog.

"At at no stage has the SEC or CMIC officially contacted the company during the course of its investigations," he said.

"It was Calata Corp which wrote to the PSE at the outset and requested for an investigation into the unusual and fluctuating movement of its shares during the particular period that is now the subject of the probe."

The CMIC submitted its report to the SEC late last month, helping trigger the SEC's own ongoing probe.

Calata said the company hasn't been contacted by the SEC either but will cooperate with the investigation.

While ANC was not been able to get a copy of the CMIC's report to the SEC, various sources say it alleges that the trades were executed by several brokerages for new clients who appear to be dummies for an unidentified person.

Calata shares were listed on May 23. In two weeks, they climbed from an offer price of P7.50 to P23.95 and then fell back to the P8 level. The shares fell by P2 to close at P5.70 today.

In a phone interview with ANC, Calata Corp. lawyer Jose Marie Fabella said the company hasn't contacted CMIC of SEC because it understands it is the trades, not the company, that is under investigation.

"We want to involve ourselves in proper procedure," he said.