Quick Take: DITO owner buys P2M in own stock and 4 more market updates

Merkado Barkada

February 23, 2023 | 9:00am

DITO CME [DITO 3.36 2.0%] [link] disclosed that Dennis Uy, DITO’s owner and Chairman, bought 2 million shares of DITO at P3.07/share. The purchase increased Mr. Uy’s direct and indirect stake in DITO to 37.24%.

MB Quick Take: Mr. Uy has been very quiet since publicly quarreling with Globe [GLO 1939.00 2.6%] and PLDT [TEL 1335.00 3.8%] in Q4 of last year over allegations of DITO’s unpaid debts, and DITO’s counter-allegations of GLO and TEL using their size and influence to unfairly disadvantage DITO in the telecom marketplace. The day he made his purchase, DITO’s stock began a two-day, 12% surge. Long-term, Mr. Uy’s entry point is around where DITO was before the basurapalooza ramp of late 2020 and early 2021.

Ayala Land [ALI 28.20 2.6%] [link] said that Fernando Zobel has returned to accept a leadership position with the company, signing on as an “Advisor” to ALI’s Board of Directors. Mr. Zobel suddenly resigned from ALI’s board about five months ago due to a health scare. He resigned from his positions in many other Ayala Group companies, including from his roles as Vice-Chairman, President, and CEO of the Ayala Corp [AC 660.00 2.2%] itself. A representative for the Ayala Group said that Mr. Zobel “will rejoin selected boards in the same capacity as he has opted for a phased return”.

MB Quick Take: The abruptness of the original resignations had me thinking the worst for Mr. Zobel’s health, so it was surprising to see him fully suited up to open an art exhibit last week, and shocking to hear that he’s coming back to participate in the corporate governance of some Ayala Group companies. The role of Advisor is less intense and demanding than that of a regular director, in that he gets to act as a resource person for the board but without the burdens of day-to-day participation in board matters and all of the committees and their oversight. It will be interesting to see if this “phased” reintroduction will see Mr. Zobel regain any of his operations roles or directorships, or if he’s content to remain in the lower-gear advisor role.

Greenergy [GREEN 1.18 4.8%] [link] disclosed that Antonio Tiu, a member of GREEN’s board of directors and significant shareholder, has been buying and selling a considerable number of GREEN shares in recent days. This particular disclosure shows that, from February 15 through February 20, Mr. Tiu bought P12.7 million worth of GREEN and sold P33.8 million worth of the same. Going back to January 18, Mr. Tiu is responsible for 122 million shares of volume in GREEN’s stock, or 26% of GREEN’s 466 million in total volume for the period. Over the past four months, Mr. Tiu is personally responsible for 249 million in volume, or 22% of GREEN’s 1,158 million in total volume for the period.

MB Quick Take: This kind of trading activity is really confusing to me. It’s not like GREEN’s stock price has done well over this span; it’s actually been melting. When this weird pattern started, GREEN was worth around P1.60/share, and now it’s worth around P1.20/share. Usually when an owner is buying it’s to consolidate ownership or to place a bet on price appreciation, but this buying and selling behavior seems almost random. The only thing it seems to do is drive up GREEN’s traded volume, as you can see when you take a look at a 1-year or 5-year chart. I don’t get it.

Philippine Business Bank [PBB 10.00 2.0%] [link] will list 125 million shares on the PSE tomorrow. The shares were sold to various members of the Yao Family through a private placement at P10.00/share.

MB Quick Take: The shares were sold back when PBB was trading between P6.00 and P7.00 per share. It closed yesterday at P10.00/share, so the Yao Family members are very close to break-even. The private placement was part of a drive by PBB to meet the capital requirements to support an application to the BSP to obtain a universal banking license, but the group is not anywhere close to the amount needed to meet that requirement. It’s not necessary for the Yao Family members to retain the shares for this application, so it will be interesting to see if there’s any selling pressure coming from these sources if PBB’s price goes anywhere above their buy-in price.

Suntrust Resort Holdings [SUN 0.95 5.0%] [link] will list 2.55 billion common shares this morning, after a 180-day mandatory lockup of Fortune Noble’s shares expired last night. Fortune Noble is a subsidiary of SUN’s parent company, Suncity Group Holdings (now called LET Group Holdings), which is a Hong Kong-based investment holding company that operates gaming and integrated resorts in Russia and the Philippines. Fortune Noble bought the shares for P1.00/share. SUN closed trading yesterday at P0.95/share.

MB Quick Take: This company basically exists here to develop Westside City Resorts World in “Entertainment City”, facing Manila Bay. The opening of the casino resort was pushed back to Q1 or Q2 of 2024, and in the meantime, SUN’s parent company has gone through quite a bit of drama. There have been corporate name changes here, corporate name changes with the parent, and basically very little news to give regular investors a solid understanding of where SUN is in its development plan for Westside. COVID obviously threw a wrench in those plans, but with China in the process of nerfing Macau, there must be ample incentive for SUN to get operating as quickly as possible to monetize its placement in the junket tourism sector.


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Merkado Barkada’s opinions are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any particular stock. These daily articles are not updated with new information, so each investor must do his or her own due diligence before trading, as the facts and figures in each particular article may have changed.

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