Philippines“ finance secretary unaware of San Miguel deal

Philippine finance secretary Jose Camacho said on 24 July he was not aware of any deal being reached on a block of government sequestered shares of the country“s leading food and beverage firm San Mi…

Philippine finance secretary Jose Camacho said on 24 July he was not aware of any deal being reached on a block of government sequestered shares of the country“s leading food and beverage firm San Miguel Corp . “I am not aware of any compromise,” Camacho told reporters when asked about market rumours that the government and the company were nearing a deal on the ownership of the shares. “If there is going to be a solution, it“ll be a legal solution, so I“m not party to any discussion,” he added, when asked for an update of the negotiation process. In 1986, the government of then-president Corazon Aquino sequestered 47% of San Miguel shares, including a 20% block held by company chairman Eduardo Cojuangco, which he claimed was a personal investment. The shares were alleged to have been amassed by Cojuangco and associates using money collected from coconut farmers. Cojuangco regained control of San Miguel in 1998 when the Supreme Court granted him voting rights over his contested stake, but ownership of the 20% block he claims as his own is still the subject of court proceedings. San Miguel A-shares closed 50 centavos down at PHP 43 on 24 July, while B-shares, open to foreign ownership, were 50 centavos up at PHP 56.50.