SEC probes Alphaland for possible SRC violation

Posted at 03/17/2014 7:55 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Alphaland Corp. of former trade and industry minister Roberto V. Ongpin for possible violation of the Securities Regulation Code.

The move follows the delisting process initiated by the Philippine Stock Exchange against Alphaland for repeated violations of the listing and disclosure rules of the PSE.

SEC commissioner Juanita Cueto said the corporate watchdog is also conducting its own investigation into Alphaland, whose shares remain suspended from trading since Jan. 20 this year.

Cueto said an initial report has already been submitted by an SEC unit to the Commission but declined to give details pending completion of the investigation.

Under Sec. 5 of the SRC, the SEC has among others the authority to approve, reject, suspend and revoke registration and licensing applications as well as to regulate, investigate the activities of persons and companies under its jurisdiction.

The SEC is also empowered to impose sanctions for the violation of the SRC, Corporation Code, the Investment Houses Law and Financing Co. Act.

The PSE has begun the process to remove Alphaland from its roster of listed stocks to safeguard the interest of the investing public.

Under the PSE rules, delisting is the maximum penalty imposed by the exchange imposed on an erring company.

Among the grounds cited by the PSE for striking Alphaland off the register of listed companies are “repeated failure to submit full, fair, accurate and timely disclosures of material information.”

These violations, the PSE said, occurred in the course of the disclosure of the alleged “simulated” sale of Alphaland shares between UK-based investment fund Ashmore Group and Credit Suisse (Singapore), cases involving the company and its state of financial distress and its representation of its conduct of a stock rights offering which it later described as a “minority offering.”

For the “minority offering” transaction, the PSE said Alphaland disclosed it tapped Unicapital Securities Inc. as its underwriter when in fact, as Alphaland itself admitted, there was no signed agreement to confirm their engagement.

Unicapital Securities categorically denied having participated and consented to the “minority offering.”

Alphaland’s actions “show a pattern of deliberate, conscious and willful intent to mislead the exchange and the investing public,” the PSE said.

“Investors are put to risk when companies do not follow our rules and it is for this reason that we must at all times enforce these to maintain a fair and orderly market. The PSE would like to ensure the public that we are steadfast in the application of these rules and mindful always of the interest of the investing public,” Hans B. Sicat, president and CEO of the PSE said.