FOR the first time since January 2013 when I began writing Due Diligencer in The Manila Times, I am including a photo, which may be of interest to the public and to SSS top officials led by Mr. De Quiros. I took this picture when I happened to visit the SSS office in Santa Rosa City. Never mind the identities of the subjects because I failed to identify them when I hurriedly left for some appointment.
While waiting for my number to be called, I saw a security guard showing a woman with a baby – I presumed it was hers – to a cubicle, which was an exclusive room for breastfeeding mothers.
After waiting for some minutes, the guard led the mother and her baby back to the waiting area. When she was in front of a counter manned by a lady employee, the guard had no choice but to volunteer to hold the baby. All the while, he held the baby until the mother had finished whatever was her transaction with SSS that day.
The photos show public service at its best.
Belle Corp. has spent P125.3 million in buying back 38.77 million shares. This translates to an acquisition price of P3.23 per share.
The website of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) showed Belle had issued a total of 10.56 billion shares.
It may take a little longer for Belle to spend its P1.0 billion in purchasing its own shares in the open market. The last time it reported the results of its buyback program was on Oct. 14, 2015 when it repurchased a total of 600,000 shares in three transactions on Oct. 13. It bought back 134,000 shares at P3.06; 375,000 shares at P3.07; and 91,000 shares at P3.08.
As a result of its share buybacks, Belle reduced the number of its outstanding shares to 10.52 billion, of which the public own 4.52 billion, or 42.87 percent, an ownership ratio that should make the company more public than others.
Businessman Henry Sy, Sr. is listed as Belle’s majority stockholder because he owns three of the company’s significant stockholders, which own a total of 4.95 billion shares, or 46.9 percent. These are Belleshares Holdings Inc., with 2.59 billion shares, or 24.54 percent; Sysmart Corp., 1.63 billion shares, or 15.43 percent; and SM Development Corp., 735.5 million shares, or 6.97 percent.
(Note: The percentages were arrived at based on Belle’s outstanding shares as of March 2015. When computed on PSE website’s 10.52 billion outstanding shares, the result showed a higher percentage of 47.1.)
Belle’s list of top 100 stockholders as of March 31, 2015 credited PCD Nominee Corp. as the record stockholder of 2.2 billion shares, or 21.1 percent, for foreigners, and 1.7 billion shares, or 16.1 percent, for Filipinos.
Included in the Belle shares held by PCD Nominee for Filipinos are 97.55 million shares and 130.21 million shares that belong to the Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System, respectively.
As the keeper and investor of private employee members, SSS also directly owns 370.5 million Belle shares, or 3.5 percent. All in all, it holds 4682 million shares, or close to 6 percent, which entitles it to a seat on the board. Emilio de Quiros, SSS president, is the pension fund’s lone nominee to Belle Corp.’s 11-man board.
Incidentally, Belle has three independent directors, making them much luckier than the members of SSS and GSIS. GSIS does not own enough number of Belle shares to qualify it to a board seat.
If you were to judge a listed company by the number of shares held by PCD Nominee, you would conclude that Belle is more foreign than Filipino. This is because the company has more shares held by foreigners who make up the public.
As the posting showed, foreigners own 527 million more Belle shares than Filipinos, which is arrived at by subtracting the PCD Nominee-held 1.7 billion Filipino-owned Belle shares from 2.23 billion Belle shares, or 21.11 percent, held by foreigners or “others” as the top 100 stockholders filing defined them.
Luckily, SSS and GSIS combined account for ownership of 598.2 million Belle shares. Their combined holdings make the Sy-controlled company more public than others because the two pension funds count millions of members between them.
At the 52-week high of P4.99 per share, SSS’ 460 million shares in Belle had a market value of P2.3 billion, while GSIS’ 130.2 million shares were worth P649.77 million.
At Belle’s close of P3.02 per share on Monday, SSS and GSIS holdings in Belle had a market value of P1.4 billion and P393.2 million, respectively.