• Osmeña’s sin of omission

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    Emeterio Sd. Perez

    Emeterio Sd. Perez

    THAT Sen. Sergio Osmeña 3rd would question the qualification of Megawide Construction Corp. to undertake the expansion of Cebu-Mactan International Airport is understandable. After all, as he himself claimed, it was a project of his father as if family relation would be a justifiable reason to oppose the P17.7-billion winning bid of Megawide and its foreign partner.

    Osmeña simply exposed Megawide’s financial capability to undertake such a huge project as the expansion of an international airport in his province. He did not provide the public with numbers about Megawide because to him, his press statement would be believable enough for it to merit newspaper space. Probably, he had wanted the public to make its own guess from which to draw its own conclusion about Megawide.

    Who knows, with Osmeña intentionally omitting the most basic information about the company, he may have partly succeeded in misleading the public into believing that Megawide, a listed public company, is a penniless entity.

    Because Osmeña is a politician and is, perhaps, the best the Cebuanos could send to the Senate, he put his credibility at stake when he talked against Megawide but—whether intentionally or not—he showed his bias for another. Who cares, anyway, whether he has successfully put his message across?

    Yes, Osmeña has delivered what he had intended to deliver with his expose. But in doing so, he has tinkered with the stock market, instead of providing investors with the most basic information about a public and listed company. With his sin of omission, Due Diligencer is taking the initiative to provide the needed input about Megawide.

    If you are among public investors who trade listed stocks and happen to own some Megawide shares, would you not be excited about your holdings’ prospects after the company ended up the winning bidder for the government’s Cebu airport project?

    Who the &$#@ are the Cosiquiens? Who cares? Due Diligencer does not care either.

    Of course, Osmeña need not know who the Cosiquiens are because he is interested only in their financial capability and competence to finance and undertake a multi-billion peso infrastructure project.

    But the Cosiquiens are only part-owners of Megawide, never mind if they may be the controlling stockholders who deserve more representation to the board. As a matter of fact, the family even got the chairmanship of the board. What a concession the Cosiquiens got from their co-owners! This alone should make it clear to the public that Megawide is in good hands because if it is not, they should not have been entrusted with a big role in the board by the minority.

    Here is what could be the biggest and most surprising coincidence: Businessman Henry Sy, Sr. happens to be one of the minority owners of Megawide and he has transformed the company from a small player to what is now the construction arm of the SM group.

    What Osmeña the politician did not tell the public, who might care to listen to him, was the ownership profile of Megawide. Was the omission intentional? If not, then why did he do it?

    Since Due Diligencer could not wait for the answer or answers, it is identifying the corporate vehicle that the SM group used in its investment in Megawide.

    Available ownership filing listed Sybase Equity Investments Corp. as direct owner of 195 million Megawide shares, or 15.37 percent of 1.269 billion outstanding shares. In addition, Sybase indirectly owns 217.249 million shares, or 17.2 percent, lodged with PCD Nominee Corp.

    Osmeña, the senator, did not see this filing, which, like other disclosures filed by listed companies, is posted on the website of the Philippine Stock Exchange. Even the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is open to anyone who wants to learn about private companies and their owners, has Megawide filings. Apparently, Osmeña did not find it necessary to tell the truth about Megawide, which has over P1 billion in paid-up capital, which to him is still too small for a company to be a winning bidder.

    By the way, will someone tell the public and Due Diligencer if Osmeña is in any way related to the Lopezes, who happen to be the majority stockholders of First Philippine Holdings Corp.?

    esdperez@gmail.com

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    1 Comment

    1. I hate to say this but this project will meet numerous snags…practitioners of RISKS assessments this is a classic example…and you people with so called business sense try to execute a mega project to a place where the boss henchman is not your ally…think of the small details that the boss henchman can inflict to your project…permits, logistics, arousing local sentiments, manpower..should I say more.

      The boss henchman family owns CEBU..OMG