• PLDT on track for P38.3-billion profit in 2013

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    The PLDT Group is looking to acquire additional stake in Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) if ever San Miguel Corp. (SMC) decides to sell its shares in the country’s giant power distributor.

    PLDT Chairman Manuel Pangi­linan said that the company is “prepared to assist” should the diversified conglomerate SMC decides to divest some or all of its interests in Meralco.

    “First of all, we’re comfortable with our current share­holding in Meralco. We would be prepared to assist should SMC decide to dispose of some or all of their shares in Meralco in an orderly process,” Pangi­linan told reporters after PLDT’s annual stockholders meeting on Friday.

    “It depends on what process they adopt because it’s up to them. In terms of our current shareholding, we’re comfortable with that and we will assist whatever way we can,” he added.

    The PLDT Group owns a strategic stake in Meralco through PLDT Communications and Energy Ventures Inc., which together with Metro Pacific Investments Corp. co-own Beacon Electric Asset Holdings Inc. Beacon remains the largest shareholder of Meralco with a 48-percent equity.

    “We may consider participating in a modest way,” Pangilinan added, indicating that company has no intention of going beyond 51 percent wherein the PLDT Group will be forced to conduct a mandatory tender offer.

    “Not to the point in a may trigger a general offer on the part of Beacon. It’s going to be a modest participation. We need to understand the process, the size of the offering, pricing of the offering. We just want to see and San Miguel wants that as well an orderly procedure for the divestment,” he further explained.

    SMC, a conglomerate chaired by tycoon Eduardo Cojuanco, earlier disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange that the company and its subsidiaries are considering alternatives related to the possible disposition of its approximately 32.8-percent stake in Meralco.

    This, according to SMC, will be through a strategic sale or a capital markets transaction to parties who have expressed an interest in purchasing the interest.

    SMC has hired four banks to facilitate the sale of its 32.8-percent stake worth $3.3 billion in Meralco. The banks are Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, Standard Chartered Plc and UBS AG.

    Madelaine B. Miraflor

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