Investment holding firm Premium Leisure plans to delist from PSE

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INVESTMENT HOLDING company Premium Leisure Corp. (PLC) said it plans to voluntarily delist from the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE).

In a regulatory filing on Monday, PLC said the board of its parent firm Belle Corp. had approved the conduct of a tender offer for all of the former’s outstanding common shares.

“The tender offer will be for the purpose of the voluntary delisting of PLC shares from the PSE,” it said.

Belle Corp. has business interests in integrated resorts. It is one of the portfolio investments of Sy-led conglomerate SM Investments Corp.

PLC holds a stake in the City of Dreams Manila integrated entertainment and gaming complex in Parañaque City.

In a separate stock exchange disclosure, Belle Corp. said that it had engaged the First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC) as an independent third party to conduct a valuation study and to issue a fairness opinion report.

“The tender offer price, timing, and other terms and conditions shall be determined and finalized upon receipt and acceptance by the board of directors of Belle Corp. of the fairness opinion report of FMIC; and the same shall be disclosed in due course,” the company said.

The voluntary delisting announcement came more than a week after PLC announced a growth of 85% in net income to P2.32 billion last year due to higher gaming and lottery revenues, as well as improved mass and VIP operations at City of Dreams Manila.

PSE data showed that PLC has a public float level of 20.1%, slightly above the 20% requirement.

As of Monday, PLC has a market capitalization of P22.79 billion and has 31.22 billion outstanding shares.

The trading of PLC shares was suspended Monday afternoon and will resume trading at 9 a.m. on Tuesday following the planned voluntary delisting announcement.

Aside from the City of Dreams complex, PLC also holds a 50.1% stake in listed Pacific Online Systems Corp., which leases online betting software and equipment to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office for lottery operations in Visayas and Mindanao.

“This is a very sensible and astute move since the bulk of Belle’s revenue is from City of Dreams Manila. As a result of the delisting, Belle Corp. will become the flagship gaming company of the SM Group,” China Bank Capital Corp. Managing Director Juan Paolo E. Colet said in a Viber message.

“The delisting should also boost Belle Corp.’s trading activity and liquidity as most investors who will exit PLC via the tender offer are very likely to shift to Belle,” he added.

AP Securities, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Alfred Benjamin R. Garcia said in a separate Viber message that PLC’s planned delisting could be to protect its financial strategies from competition or that the costs of being a listed company have already outweighed the benefits.

He added that the move could positively affect the stock performance of other casino-related companies.

“Generally, it should be good for Bloomberry Resorts Corp. and to a certain extent for Digi-Plus Interactive Corp. and Pacific Online as the remaining gaming players in the Philippines,” Mr. Garcia said.

“It should be good for Belle Corp. too, since it would now be the only vehicle if one wants to invest in the City of Dreams,” he added.

On Monday, Belle Corp. shares rose by 50% or 64 centavos to P1.92 apiece while the last traded price of PLC stocks was at 74 centavos per share. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave