Ongpin: Meralco shares sale to Global 5000 a ‘great deal’
Businessman and former trade minister Roberto Ongpin said the controversial sale of government shares in Manila Electric Co. was a “great deal” for the government financial institutions.
Ongpin in a statement questioned why he was being singled out among the 20 individuals being investigated by the Office of the Ombudsman over the P9-billion Meralco deal.
“It is patently uncalled for and unfair,” Ongpin said.
Ongpin said the market price of Meralco was P57 when the GFIs sold their stake to Global 5000 in 2009,
Global 5000, however, offered to acquire the shares at P90 apiece, or a 57.8-percent premium over the stock’s current market price.
“Moreover, the cost of acquisition of these shares by the GFIs was less than P20. So they were happy to do this transaction which enabled them quintuple their investment. It was obviously a great deal for the GFIs,” Ongpin said.
He clarified Global 5000 was not “an Ongpin company,” but rather an investment vehicle of conglomerate San Miguel Corp. and five others directors that was formed to acquire the Meralco shares held by the GFIs.
Other Global 5000 directors were Ongpin, businessman Iñigo Zobel, condiments king Joselito Campos Jr.,and two other San Miguel representatives.
“There is nothing irregular about a major acquiring company to use an acquisition vehicle; it is standard practice. As a matter of fact, the ownership of PLDT [Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.] and MPIC [Metro Pacific Investments Corp.] in Meralco, which is now the controlling shareholder group, is held by a similar acquisition company called Beacon,” Ongpin said.
Ongpin said the GFIs did not doubt the financial capability of Global 5000 because they knew it was a San Miguel acquisition vehicle.
“At no time did I beneficially own a single share of Meralco. I was only acting on behalf of San Miguel in being a director of Global 5000 as well as Iñigo Zobel, Joselito Campos Jr. and two other San Miguel nominees,” Ongpin said.
The Office of the Ombudsman last week said it would investigate Ongpin and several of his associates as well as former executives of the GFIs involved in the Meralco deal for anti-graft practices in connection with the block sale of Meralco shares to Global 5000 in 2008 to 2009.