Danding Sells SMC Shares

MANILA, Philippines - Industrialist Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco Jr. sold his 11 percent holdings in San Miguel Corporation (SMC) to the company's President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang through a cross sale at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), valued at roughly P27.6 billion.

With the sale, Ang now owns the company's biggest single bloc of shares.

In a disclosure to the PSE, Cojuangco, SMC chairman and CEO, said he is assigning his 11 percent stake, equivalent to 368.140 million shares, in the diversifying conglomerate to Ang at a friendly price of P75 per share.

The shares were granted to Top Frontier (TF), an investment firm of which 49 percent is controlled by SMC through an option agreement purchase in 2009.

However, TF partially waived its option to exercise the option. The price of the share under the option agreement with TF was pegged at P75, which is P39 lower than the prevailing SMC market price of P114 per share.

Cojuangco said he sold his shares to Ang, whom he described 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."

"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 an obligation to ECJ, the company's stakeholders and the employees to see through the realization of this vision," Ang said.

The 78-year-old Cojuangco, on the other hand, added "from the time I requested Ramon to join me in the company, he has continuously dedicated one hundred percent of his time and effort in ensuring the growth of the San Miguel Group to the benefit of its shareholders".

Ang has been credited for San Miguel's bold diversification strategy which reinvented the company from a conservative food, beverage and packaging firm into a highly-diversified and dynamic conglomerate with interests in vital industries such as power, fuel and oil, infrastructure, mining, telecommunications, airlines, airports, among others- businesses which promise to bring in revenues amounting to about P1 trillion to the group by 2013.

"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 this company and its people. I am confident he will lead this Company to further greatness," Cojuangco said.

Cojuangco, who remains as chairman and CEO, added, "With Ramon at the helm, I now have the luxury of devoting more time for my personal endeavor, though 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."

Cojuangco said he is passing control to a trusted friend on friendly terms.

The Supreme Court had earlier declared Cojuangco as the true owner of the San Miguel shares after several years of disputes.

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