By Myrna M. Velasco
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is scheduling a public hearing on the plea of National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) for its mandated initial public offering (IPO) to be deferred for one year or until the resolution of its pending arbitration case versus relevant government-owned firms.
ERC logo(Photo courtesy of www.erc.gov.ph)
The company’s stocks listing should have concluded January this year, but it has batted for extension because of the international legal skirmish it has versus state-run companies Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation and National Transmission Corporation.
The industry regulator has slated expository presentation, pre-trial conference and presentation of evidence on NGCP’s IPO extension bid on February 20 this year, at 2:00p.m. at the ERC main office in Ortigas, Pasig City.
In its listing extension petition with the ERC, NGCP argued that its case could be parallel to that of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation – to which the statute on its stocks listing timeframe had been liberally interpreted as “generally directory” and will not prohibit an IPO to be conducted after the lapse of the stated period.
The Sy-led firm reckoned that under its franchise, “while it provides that it ‘shall’ list and make a public offering of its shares representing at least 20% of its outstanding capital stock within 10 years from the commencement of its operations,” it was similarly given leverage for extension granted that this is approved by the ERC.
The concessionaire-firm took over the operations and management of the country’s transmission facilities and assets in January 2009 via the privatization and awards process carried out by asset-seller firm PSALM.
It has to be noted that on February 14 last year, NGCP filed with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) a case against PSALM and TransCo relating to “disputed claims” on its concession agreement with the government.