MANILA – San Miguel Corp. chairman and CEO Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco Jr. sold his 15% stake in the diversifying conglomerate to San Miguel president Ramon S. Ang and other allies for P37 billion.
In a statement, Cojuangco said he sold his 11% stake in the conglomerate to Ang on "friendly terms."
This came as SMC's controlling stockholder group Top Frontier Investment Holdings Inc. partially exercised an option signed in 2009 to acquire Cojuangco's 493.37 million shares at P75 per share.
In a disclosure to the stock exchange, San Miguel said Top Frontier bought 125,234,667 common shares worth P9.39 billion, while Master Year Limited bought 368,140,516 common shares worth P27.61 billion.
The rest of the shares not bought by Top Frontier were assigned by Cojuangco to Ang. With his 11% stake, this makes Ang the single biggest individual stakeholder in the company.
Based on outstanding number of shares of SMC, the Cojuangco-held bloc held a 15% stake in the conglomerate, which is equivalent to 20.8% of voting rights.
Cojuangco will remain in his post as chairman and CEO of the company.
He described Ang, who is also COO of San Miguel, 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."
Cojuangco's shares were granted to Top Frontier via an option agreement to purchase in 2009, but it only decided to partially exercise the option.
Ang said he accepted Cojuangco's offer to buy the option shares.
"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 a continuing commitment to ECJ (Cojuangco), the company's stakeholders and the employees to see through the realization of this vision in the near future," Ang said.
Cojuangco had recruited Ang to join San Miguel. Ang has been credited with the company's diversification strategy, which saw it grow from a food, beverage and packaging firm to a diversified conglomerate with interests in power, oil, infrastructure, mining, telecommunications, airlines, and airports.
"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 the Company and its people. I am confident he will lead San Miguel to further greatness," Cojuangco said.
With Ang at the helm of San Miguel, Cojuangco said he can now devote more time to his personal endeavors.
"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," he said.
The Supreme Court has earlier declared Cojuangco as the true owner of the San Miguel shares after several years of dispute. (ABS-CBNnews.com)