By James A. Loyola
The Philippine Stock Exchange said 38 percent of the 268 public-listed corporations will need to sell more shares if the Securities and Exchange Commission mandates the proposed raising on the public float to 25 percent.
In an interview, PSE President Ramon Monzon said there are currently 102 firms listed with the PSE that have public ownership of less than 25 percent of their outstanding capital.
“We have been pushing for this (increase minimum public ownership) as an Exchange. Now we hear they are proposing to raise this to 25 percent. This is very good for us,” said Monzon. Raising their public float will require most of these firms to sell more shares to the public and list these new shares with the PSE. “Of course it’s a function of timeline. I think based on (the proposal), its five years (compliance period), that should give enough time for them to comply.
So we’re supporting their particular plan,” noted Monzon.
SEC Associate Commissioner Ephyro Luis Amatong earlier said they are bent on increasing the minimum public float of listed firms straight to 25 percent from the current 10 percent but within a longer period.
Amatong said there is no liquidity issue in the country today that prevents a listed company from raising cash from the system for it to increase its public float to comply.
Some initial public offerings even having their public ownership straight to 40 percent of the company.
“We felt that they can do it but we’ll give them a longer period to comply. Some of these companies are very big but they’ve indicated that if we require them (to increase public float), they’d be able to do it,” Amatong said.
He said the SEC commissioners will talk among themselves first on how to do it, but he is inclined to give the listed companies to comply with the new minimum public float rule in five years, instead of increasing it in incrementally by 5 percent to be complied with in three years until the minimum requirement reaches the 25 percent.
The 25 percent minimum public float rate is already the standard among the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).