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Underwriters decry SEC’s ‘corporate ban’

If local companies are complaining about the truck ban in Manila because of the delays in production and the increase in the cost of delivery, bond underwriters are also getting frustrated over what they term as “corporate ban.”

Such ban is prevailing in the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is being blamed by underwriters for the delay in the issuances of several billion pesos worth of bonds and equities by several listed companies in the financial market.

One major underwriter noted that bond registrations filed two to three months ago were only getting approved now, making the financial statements enclosed in the sale prospectus nearly stale.

Underwriters also noticed that the SEC was demanding several documents that were not requested before.

Despite the liquidity in the market, underwriters said they preferred to space each equity and bond offering in the market to ensure the success of all fund-raising activities.

Because of the delays, recently-approved issues like the P15-billion bonds of GT Capital Holdings Inc. of tycoon George Ty and P10 billion in preferred shares of Globe Telecom Inc. were offered to the market only a few days apart. The P25-billion bond sale of SM Prime Holdings Inc. and the P3-billion bond offering of Century Properties Group overlapped.

The two new commissioners recently appointed at the SEC are being blamed for the delay in securing the approval of the corporate regulator. But we also learned that applications for bond and equity offerings could not be presented to SEC en banc for approval if the commissioner in charge, in this case SEC Commissioner Ephyro Luis Amatong, is not present during the meeting.

An exception was made last week when the P10-billion bond application of Aboitiz Power Corp. was presented for an SEC en banc approval. The SEC, just the same, deferred approval of the bond request.

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