MANILA (UPDATE) – Alphaland Corp. is set to be involuntarily delisted from the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) for violating disclosure rules.
PSE officials said the Ongpin-led property firm committed a violation when it was late to disclose an internal rift between itself and former British partner Ashmore.
In a statement released by the PSE, it said the decision came after a series of delisting hearings which were conducted in line with the Involuntary Delisting Procedures of the PSE, which allowed Alphaland to explain its side and submit documents and its position paper.
The PSE said it initiated involuntary delisting proceedings on Alphaland in March following its violations of the disclosure rules and other rules of the Exchange.
Alphaland’s delisting will take effect after the completion of a tender offer to the firm's retail or non-strategic shareholders as of January 23, 2014.
The tender offer is required by the PSE in consideration of the minority shareholders and for the maintenance of a fair and orderly market. Alphaland has 60 days to complete the tender offer.
"The PSE observed due process in handling the case of Alphaland Corporation. The decision was arrived at to ensure that we do not fail in our obligation as a regulator of listed companies and to safeguard the welfare of the investing public," PSE president and chief executive Hans Sicat said.
The company cannot relist for 5 years, and its chairman, former Trade Minister Roberto ‘Bobby’ Ongpin, and president Mario Oreta, and corporate secretary Rodolfo Ma. Ponferrada are disqualified from becoming directors and/or executive officers in any company applying for listing with the PSE.
"Disclosure violations are serious violations not just against the Exchange but more importantly to investors. Upholding market integrity is one of our primary mandates as an Exchange and we assure the public that we will continue to carry out our rules and mete out the corresponding penalties for any such violations," Sicat said.
Trading in Alphaland has been suspended since January 20, 2014.
Alphaland can still appeal the PSE ruling.
Ongpin, meanwhile, maintained his position that the company did not violate disclosure rules.
“I have always been consistent in my position that the disclosures Alphaland made, considering the supervening business aspects and exigencies involved, are not violative of the disclosure rules and, more importantly, were not intended to prejudice the public in any way,” he said in a statement.
Ongpin said he is presently in Europe and has not seen the text of the decision.
He pleaded with the PSE board to exclude Oreta and Ponferrada from the 5-year disqualification penalty, saying that Ponferrada “simply implemented” orders while Oreta “had nothing to do at all with the disclosures in question.”
“I believe that a serious injustice would be done if both Atty. Oreta and Ponferrada would be subjected to the 5-year disqualification. Thus, without admitting any violation of PSE rules and regulations, I am writing this letter regarding only this issue at this time to plead with the PSE board to please exclude Attys. Oreta and Ponferrada from the 5-year disqualification penalty in the same way that all other Alphaland directors were excluded,” said Ongpin.