The Philippine Star

Lorenzo, Cojuangco reap luisita dividends 4 years after takeover

- E-mail: moneygorou­ VICTOR C. AGUSTIN

Four years after they borrowed P2 billion to take over the Hacienda Luisita refinery complex from former president Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s relatives, serial entreprene­ur Martin Lorenzo and his partner Fernando Cojuangco not only have virtually repaid the loan, they have also squeezed some change to start paying themselves cash dividend.

Central Azucarera de Tarlac announced last week that the company will distribute a modest P50.8 million dividend to its shareholde­rs by the end of the month.

Of that P50.8 million, about P36 million will be divided between Lorenzo and Cojuangco, a midyear bonus for the two partners, by virtue of their 71 percent ownership of the listed company.

On the other hand, Kris Aquino, PNoy and dozens of their trust-fund cousins will be entitled to a little over P8 million in balato, enough to fund a short vacation in Hong Kong for each of them, if they so fancy.

Even better for Lorenzo and Cojuangco, the two partners have already found someone to pay for the P2 billion that they had borrowed from BDO for their brilliant leveraged-buyout scheme.

That someone, of course, are the Zobels, whose Ayala Land has agreed to shell out a still undisclose­d billions to Lorenzo and Cojuangco to carve and acquire 290 hectares out of the 628-hectare refinery.

That entire 628-hectare sprawl was incidental­ly valued at only P874 million, a valuation that was accepted by the Cojuangco clan as a preconditi­on for the Lorenzo buyout.

With Ayala Land as their neighbor, the 338 hectares left with the Lorenzo-Cojuangco tandem will, by osmosis, now also leap in valuation, like day following the night, especially once the putative Ayala regional mall shall have been built.

The Zobels, if their winning template is to be followed, will convert the former sacada land into a regional Ayala Center, just what they did decades ago with the former kangkungan­s of Makati.

That way, the mini-haciendero­s, the farm hands, and the OFW families would then have their own version of live-work-and-play community, alongside the provincial retreat of the Cojuangcos and the Aquinos.

The militant sugar workers of Hacienda Luisita may, by then, even abandon their picket lines without the military firing a shot, to seek shelter from the oppressive Tarlac heat and find sugary highs in the air-conditione­d Ayala mall and then catch an escapist movie or even a nap in an Ayala cinema.

As Kris would say, oh, di ba!

Money talks

• BDO president Nestor Tan, for some unclear reasons, is opposing the bid of Qatar National Bank to trademark the “QNB” money remittance service that that the biggest financial institutio­n in the Middle East and Africa wants to introduce in the Philippine­s.

• He may no longer be in government service, but Tomas Alcantara looks like he is still very much connected, in-na-in as the locals say, with Malacanang.

Alcantara shared the VIP table with no less than a much calmer, more amiable DU30 during last week’s inaugurati­on of The Madeleine in Davao, a boutique hotel named after its owner, Madeleine Marfori.

Alcantara’s enduring patron, Pampanga Representa­tive Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was also present in that occasion, to pay her respects to the Imperial Davawenos.

Heard through the grapevine

Lorenzo Shipping chairman and president Doris Magsaysay Ho has dodged a decade-old P2-billion tax deficiency case, thanks to bureaucrat­ic sloth and the maze of government paperwork.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue failed to put a date on the BIR form by which Lorenzo Shipping must pay the alleged deficiency, aside from the post office clerk abandoning his post and leaving the BIR registered mail in his unattended file.

That undated notice of assessment itself was a fatal mistake, and made the BIR order invalid, the tax appellate court ruled as it dismissed the tax brigade’s case against the shipping line last week.

 ??  ?? Winning combinatio­n: Martin Lorenzo (right) and Fernando Cojuangco (left)
Winning combinatio­n: Martin Lorenzo (right) and Fernando Cojuangco (left)
 ??  ?? Alcantara
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