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Melco Resorts told to discuss issues with minority shareholders

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By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

THE Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has asked Melco Resorts and Entertainment (Philippines) Corp. (MRP) to engage with its minority shareholders to resolve pending issues on its tender offer, which will take the company a step closer to delisting from the local bourse.

“This is the time I was telling them to engage already with the minority shareholders. You also need them to understand so that they can decide and make a decision whether to sell or stay put,” PSE Chief Operating Officer Roel A. Refran told reporters on the sidelines of the GRI Sustainability Summit in Conrad Manila on Monday.

“I think that’s something that has yet to be (decided on) whether it will be in a session or in a forum, or will they welcome all the questions,” he added.

MRP is currently in the process of complying with the requirements for its application to delist from the PSE, including the conduct of a tender offer by its majority shareholder MCO (Philippines) Investments Limited (MCO Investments) to acquire at least 95% of the total shares of the company.

While the operator of City of Dreams Manila has already filed its tender offer report, Mr. Refran said the stock exchange has received several complaints over the tender offer price of P7.25 per share. Analysts noted that this represents a gap from the company’s follow-on offer price of P14 each during its initial fund-raising activity in 2013, among others.

“The more important discussion that needs to flow in, is how can we as investors be assured that this is a fair value,” Mr. Refran said.

MRP clarified in a disclosure last week that the price was based on the valuation and fairness opinion report of FTI Consulting Philippines, Inc., which is recognized by the PSE to make such reports.

“MCO has been informed by FTI that it has followed the relevant guidelines of the PSE and the International Valuation Standards (IVS) in the conduct of this study,” the company said.

Mr. Refran noted MRP would have to iron out the price issues before proceeding with the tender offer.

ASIABEST GROUP
Meanwhile, Mr. Refran explained the PSE cannot compel listed Asiabest Group International, Inc. (ABG) to disclose the intra-corporate suit filed against Tiger Resort Asia Ltd., which is currently acquiring majority of ABG.

Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada has previously asked the PSE to order ABG to disclose the suit he filed against Tiger Asia concerning his ownership in the company. To recall, Mr. Okada was removed from Tiger Asia’s board of directors due to corruption-related offenses.

Mr. Okada is currently contesting his removal from the company in the intra-corporate suit.

“ABG is not a party yet. The new owners have to come in, then it becomes the material information that they can disclose,” Mr. Refran explained, noting that ABG and Tiger Asia still have to comply with several closing conditions before completing the deal.

Once Tiger Asia completes its acquisition of a majority stake in ABG, Mr. Refran said then the intra-corporate suit will become material information to investors of ABG.