Danding sells stake in San Miguel for P37-B

Posted at 06/29/12 7:26 PM

MANILA, Philippines (3RD UPDATE) - San Miguel Corp. chairman and CEO Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco Jr. sold his 15% stake in the diversifying conglomerate to San Miguel president Ramon S. Ang and other allies for P37 billion.

On Friday, SMC's controlling stockholder group Top Frontier Investment Holdings Inc. bought 125,234,667 of San Miguel's common shares worth P9.39 billion. Top Frontier partially exercised an option signed in 2009 to acquire Cojuangco's 493.37 million shares at P75 per share. It had the option to purchase the shares until November 19, 2012.

The rest of the shares not bought by Top Frontier were assigned by Cojuangco to Ang. San Miguel said Master Year Limited bought 368,140,516 common shares worth P27.61 billion.

In a statement issued on Friday afternoon, Cojuangco said he sold his 11% stake in the conglomerate to Ang on "friendly terms."

With an 11% stake, this makes Ang the single biggest individual stakeholder in the company.

Based on outstanding number of shares of SMC, the Cojuangco group held a 15% stake in the conglomerate, which is equivalent to 20.8% of voting rights.

Since the Supreme Court upheld Cojuangco's ownership of a stake in San Miguel earlier this year, he can now sell his shares.

Ang in control

Even after divesting his shares, Cojuangco will remain in his post as chairman and CEO of the company.

He described Ang, who is also COO of San Miguel, as "a person in whom I have full trust and confidence and rightfully deserves utmost recognition for transforming the company into a highly diversified and profitable business conglomerate."

Ang said he accepted Cojuangco's offer to buy the option shares.
"Mr. Cojuangco offered the balance of the option shares to me and I accepted primarily for the following reasons: the San Miguel vision set by management during my term is far from being achieved, and; I have a continuing commitment to ECJ (Cojuangco), the company's stakeholders and the employees to see through the realization of this vision in the near future," Ang said.

Cojuangco had recruited Ang to join San Miguel. Ang has been credited with the company's diversification strategy, which saw it grow from a food, beverage and packaging firm to a diversified conglomerate with interests in power, oil, infrastructure, mining, telecommunications, airlines, and airports.

"There is no other person deserving of this opportunity to control a significant stake in the company that is so close to my heart, than Ramon. San Miguel has made a distinctive impact because of him and he cares about the Company and its people. I am confident he will lead San Miguel to further greatness," Cojuangco said.

With Ang at the helm of San Miguel, Cojuangco said he can now devote more time to his personal endeavors.

"I will continue to oversee and participate in the unending commitments of SMC to make everyday life a celebration, maintain business excellence, further enhance shareholder value, and become a partner in the country's growth story," he said.