Neri: SSS to hold on to Philex stake until 2010

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 26 2009 05:45 PM | Updated as of Aug 28 2009 04:46 AM

MANILA - State-run pension fund Social Security System (SSS) will be holding on to its 22% stake in Philex Mining Corp. until next year, its president said Wednesday.

According to SSS President Romulo Neri, the pension fund is still waiting for developments on several bright prospects such as the Boyongan gold and copper mine in Surigao province.

"There are too many good developments, and we would like these to develop first, and wait for Philex's price to go up further," he told ABS-CBN News, adding that SSS may start selling its shares by the middle of 2010.

Neri's statement confirmed Manuel V. Pangilinan's earlier remark that shares of SSS are not up for sale until 2010. Pangilinan said they have offered to buy out the shares of SSS in Philex but Neri refused, saying that they intend to sell next year.

"I was able to talk to Romulo Neri and he said they are not [selling] now but maybe next year. So we backed off," he said in an interview with reporters in Hong Kong last week.

First Pacific Co. Ltd. of Hong Kong owns 22% stake in Philex and wants to raise this substantially to 51%. At present, Pangilinan is the managing director of First Pacific.

Aside from First Pacific, diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. reportedly expressed interest to purchase the pension fund's stake in Philex. With a report from Michelle Orosa, ABS-CBN News