Calata still hope­ful it can avoid delist­ing from PSE

Business World - - CORPORATE NEWS - By Arra B. Fran­cia Re­porter

CALATA CORP. is still hop­ing to avoid be­ing delisted from the Philip­pine Stock Ex­change (PSE), amid on­go­ing in­vol­un­tary delist­ing pro­ce­dures against the agribusi­ness firm.

Calata Chair­man Joseph H. Calata said the com­pany’s lawyers are in con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the PSE as the hear­ings are on­go­ing.

“Nasa hear­ing stage pa na­man kami, hindi pa na­man kami delisted. Si­nasabi namin mga points namin kung bakit hindi kami da­pat i- delist. Hope­fully di siya ma- delist,” he told Busi­nessWorld at the side­lines of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions Busi­ness Awards last week.

The PSE last July ini­ti­ated in­vol­un­tary delist­ing pro­ce­dures against Calata due to re­peated vi­o­la­tions of dis­clo­sure rules. The PSE cited 29 vi­o­la­tions of Sec­tion 13.1 of the PSE Dis­clo­sure Rules from Nov. 29, 2016 to June 20, as well as 26 vi­o­la­tions of Sec­tion 13.2 of the same rules from Oct. 6, 2016 to March 16 and from April 26 to May 2.

Aside from fail­ing to timely dis­close the dis­po­si­tion of shares by com­pany’s di­rec­tors and prin­ci­pal of­fi­cers, the PSE also found Calata to have vi­o­lated the black­out rule, which pro­hibits di­rec­tors and prin­ci­pal of­fi­cers who have ob­tained ma­te­rial non­pub­lic in­for­ma­tion to trade their com­pany’s shares within a pre­scribed pe­riod.

Asked why the com­pany failed to com­ply with the bourse’s dis­clo­sure rules, Mr. Calata blamed this on of­fice er­rors.

“Vi­o­la­tion ay non-dis­clo­sure. Let’s see kung ano de­ci­sion nila dun. Of­fice er­ror yun, na parang lapse lang sa sys­tem, parang mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion,” Mr. Calata said.

The com­pany is cur­rently un­der­tak­ing steps should the bourse pro­ceed with its delist­ing. Ear­lier this Au­gust, Calata an­nounced its sale of a to­tal of 2.5 bil­lion shares or 81% of the firm to listed Mil­len­nium Global Hold­ings, Inc., through the in­crease in its au­tho­rized cap­i­tal stock by up to 10 bil­lion com­mon shares.

MGHI’s sub­sidiary Mil­len­nium Ocean Star Corp. is an ex­porter and im­porter of seafood and aqua­cul­ture prod­ucts that be­gan in Hong Kong be­fore es­tab­lish­ing a ma­jor plant in Cebu City. Its ca­pac­ity stands at 2,000 met­ric tons of im­ported seafood prod­ucts each month for lo­cal dis­tri­bu­tion.

Mr. Calata ex­plained the deal with Mil­len­nium Global will en­sure that the com­pany’s share­hold­ers would still have trad­able stocks, al­beit for a dif­fer­ent com­pany, in case the delist­ing process con­tin­ues.

“So we think na sa pag­gawa ng deal namin with Mil­len­nium ( MGHI), we could pass yung mga share­hold­ers namin sa mas malak­ing com­pany rather than ma- delist. Then pag ma- delist ka yung mga shares ng mga share­hold­ers natin, di siya magig­ing trade­able, so the move na bil­hin kami ng isang malak­ing seafood com­pany pero ang po­ten­tial ay big­ger dahil world­wide na ang op­er­a­tion nila,” he said.

Mr. Calata fur­ther noted this would be a “sac­ri­fice” on their part for the ben­e­fit of the share­hold­ers.

The deal with MGHI would re­quire share­hold­ers’ ap­proval dur­ing Calata’s an­nual meet­ing. How­ever, Calata had resched­uled its Oct. 2 an­nual stock­hold­ers’ meet­ing to a later date within 2017.

Mean­while, Calata’s agri­cul­ture busi­ness would be pri­va­tized through the trans­fer of all its as­sets and li­a­bil­i­ties to Ag­riphil Corp. and/or a pri­vate firm.

“What we’re plan­ning is our com­pany is mag-pa­pri­va­tize na. Yun yung di­rec­tion upon ap­proval ng share­hold­ers sa an­nual stock­hold­ers,” Mr. Calata said.

Trad­ing of shares in Calata has been sus­pended since June 30 fol­low­ing the vi­o­la­tions of dis­clo­sure rules and the sub­se­quent delist­ing pro­ce­dures.

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