MANILA - San Miguel Corp said Friday it would contest a P769.3-million fine from the Securities and Exchange Commission, as it maintained that it was not late in reporting its acquisition of a stake in Manila Electric Co.
There was no late disclosure as the acquisition was reported through SEC form 17-C, the conglomerate said in a statement.
The SEC said the acquisition should have been reported using 2 other types of documents, SEC form 23-A, which refers to beneficial ownership and SEC form 23-B which refers to a change in beneficial ownership.
San Miguel had also sold a portion of the Meralco stake to its subsidiary, San Miguel Purefoods.
"The penalty is highly disproportionate to the infraction attributed to the company considering that the disclosures made by SMC to both SEC and PSE were extensive enough to prevent market speculation and other similar fraudulent acts," San Miguel president Ramon Ang said.
"Good governance is an integral part of how we do business and we are committed to operating with the highest standards of ethical behavior. With the SEC’s decision, we will be constrained to seek relief from the court. Hopefully, the court will understand and appreciate the position of the company," Ang said.
In 2012, SEC's Corporate Finance Department cited San Miguel for late filing of notices on its acquisition of an initial 10-percent stake in Meralco and the disposition of shares in the power distributor to its unit, San Miguel Purefoods.
At that time, the Corporate Finance Department said the notice on the Purefoods transaction was submitted 165 days late, a violation of the Securities Regulation Code.