THE Cebu units of the Ayala group are undergoing major executive changes. The Zobels, who own these subsidiaries through Ayala Land Inc. (ALI), are promoting Aniceto Bisnay Jr. from vice president to president of Cebu Holdings Inc. (CHI) and of Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corp. (CPVDC).
As a vice president at Ayala Land, Bisnay, who was 49 years old as mentioned in a filing early this year, oversees the operations of the ALI units in the Visayas and Mindanao regions. He will replace outgoing President Francis Monera, who is retiring effective December 31, 2014.
Monera, who was 59 years old as of December 31, 2013, has been a director of both Cebu Holdings and Cebu Property Ventures since 2006. He became CHI president on January 1, 2007.
Bisnay will also take the place of Emilio Lolito Tumbocon, a senior vice president at Ayala Land, on the respective boards of Cebu Holdings and Cebu Property Ventures effective January 1, 2015.
Challenge to Bisnar
Nothing is said in any of ALI’s disclosures posted on the website of the Philippine Stock Exchange about whether Bisnar’s promotion is only a prelude to any major overhaul of the Ayala property group. At 49 going 50, Bisnar is taking over the responsibility of expanding the conglomerate’s operations in Visayas and Mindanao, and at the same time, maintaining the profitability of the two companies.
For the first three quarters of 2014, CHI reported a 6.548 percent drop in net income to P374.475 million from P400.713 million in the same period in 2013. As of September 30, 2014, it had retained earnings of P1.513 billion.
CPV, on the other hand, had retained earnings of P455.091 million as of September 30, 2014 including a net profit of P125.292 million for the nine-month period. That net profit reflects a 10.252 percent rise from P113.641 million in 2013.
Whatever the investment thrust of the Ayala group in the Visayas and Mindanao will remain a subject of market speculation, even though CHI and CPVDC may be listed but not necessarily public.
Cebu Holdings is only an associate of Ayala Land because of its outstanding shares, ALI owns only 956.242 million shares, or 49.80 percent of the firm’s equity. But it is a subsidiary or a member of the Ayala group or of the Zobel conglomerate thru ALI, BPI Capital Corp. and Laguna Properties Holdings Inc. The CHI shares owned by these companies as corporate stockholders raise Ayala’s indirect holdings in this unit to more than 51 percent.
This ownership profile should make CHI an indirect unit of the Ayala group, which is listed as Ayala Corp. (AC), which, in turn, is a 51 percent subsidiary of the unlisted Zobel-owned Mermac Inc.
The public has yet to know if the Zobels own more than what were disclosed in PSE postings because of the undisclosed beneficial owners of CHI shares held by the PCD Nominee Corp.
More foreigners than Filipinos
If the public investors who trade CHI shares were to closely scrutinize the company’s report on its top 100 stockholders, they would find foreigners owning a bigger stake than what Filipinos hold.
As of September 30, 2014, PCD Nominee held 469.229 million shares, or 24.44 percent, for foreigners. Meanwhile, 242.795 million shares, or 12.65 percent, were owned by Filipinos.
If the public investors would want to learn more about Cebu Holdings’ ownership profile, they need to be more resourceful. As of January 31, 2014, Aberdeen Asset Management Asia Ltd. of Singapore and Aberdeen International Fund Managers Ltd. of Hong Kong were listed as owners of 310.402 million CHI shares, or 16.1662 percent, and 197.895 million CHI shares, or 10.3066 percent, respectively.
As credited to the PCD Nominee, Filipinos, on the other hand, owned 113.73 million CHI shares, or 5.9232 percent while the Government Service Insurance System held 97.279 million CHI shares, or 5.066 percent.
But Cebu Holdings has one significant but loyal stockholder in First Metro Investment Corp., owning 186.695 million CHI shares, or 9.72 percent.
Cebu Property for Cebuanos
Cebu Holdings is majority stockholder of Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corp. It owns 717.064 million CPVDC shares, or 76.26 percent, divided into 439.388 million Class A shares and 277.676million Class B shares.
In addition, the Zobels also own through Ayala Land, 77.865 million CPVDC shares, or 8.28 percent. Through the holdings of the two corporate stockholders, the family controls 84.06 percent of the Cebu-based Ayala unit.
PCD Nominee holds only 40.388 million CPVDC shares, or 4.29 percent.
Yet, there is one stockholder worth-noting here and which should make Cebu Property Ventures truly public: the province of Cebu, according to a company filing, owns 77.865 million CPVDC shares, or 8.25 percent.
With the provincial government-held CPVDC shares, the Cebuanos should have a say in how the Zobels undertake their property development projects in the province without hurting the environment.