GSIS beefs up stake in Philex

Posted at 12/14/09 4:57 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Copper-gold producer Philex Mining Corp. has confirmed that state pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) now owns a 5.14% stake in the company.

Based on a report by the Philippine Dealing System, Philex said GSIS holds 251.22 million shares, representing 5.14% of Philex's total issued and outstanding stock as of November 30.

GSIS was said to be accumulating shares in the country's largest and most profitable mining firm to gain representation in its board of directors.

Philex's board is currently dominated by Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., which recently increased its stake to 40.7% after buying the 9.2% stake of former Trade Minister Roberto Ongpin.

Following the acquisition, First Pacific managing director and chief executive Manuel Pangilinan took over as chief executive of Philex in addition to being chairman of the company.

First Pacific holds 5 of Philex's 11 board seats. Social Security System (SSS), which owns 22% of Philex, occupies 2 board seats.

Traders earlier said GSIS was beefing up its Philex stake in anticipation of a bidding war for SSS' interest in the mining firm next year.

Pangilinan's group and San Miguel Corp.'s president Ramon Ang have expressed their interest to acquire SSS' Philex stake.