The Social Security System (SSS) is aiming to acquire a Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) board seat by participating in the bourses’ planned stock rights offering.
“We are thinking of getting into the PSE [and]trying to get a seat there,” Social Security Commissioner Jose Gabriel La Viña said last week.
“Basically we are looking … where we can grow faster. We are looking at certain companies that have strategic and competitive advantages in industries that grow fast,” he added.
The PSE expects to raise a little over P3 billion from the rights offering, which is scheduled to be conducted next month.
The bourse plans to offer up to 11.5 million in common shares for P275 apiece, with the proceeds to be used to pay off debts and finance capital expenditures and product development.
The offering is also expected to reduce broker ownership in the exchange to less than 20 percent, a key issue in the PSE’s plan to take over Philippine Dealing System and Holdings Inc. (PDS), the operator of the country’s fixed-income bourse.
The SSS has 1.5 percent stake in PDS and La Viña said the pension fund had no plans to sell it to the PSE.
The PSE gained a majority stake in PDS last year following a series of acquisitions from different institutions.
The merger has been cleared by the Philippine Competition Commission and is now awaiting approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In another development, SSS President and CEO Emmanuel Dooc said the pension fund’s revenues hit nearly P175 billion as of end-November last year on the back of aggressive collection efforts, investments and other income.
In a statement, Dooc said revenues totaled P174.94 billion for the January to November 2017 period, up by 9.3 percent from a year earlier.
Members’ contributions, which accounted for 82.5 percent of total revenues, grew to P144.36 billion from P131.28 billion a year earlier.
Investment and other income increased to P30.58 billion from the P28.74 billion.
“Total investments, representing 92.6 percent of the pension fund’s total assets, went up by P16.68 billion due to additional placement in government bonds, new salary loans releases including restructured member loan accounts and the reclassification of real estate properties,” Dooc said.
The SSS, meanwhile, disbursed P157.39 billion in benefits to its 35 million members during the period, also higher than P123.17 billion recorded a year earlier.
ANGELICA BALLESTEROS AND MAY CARABALLO