Friday, 24 July 2009

PNOC-EC remits P1B to Philippine government

Paul Anthony A. Isla
Business Mirror

PUBLICLY listed Philippine National Oil Co.-Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC) on Thursday remitted dividends amounting to P1.002 billion to the government.

Jacinto Paras, PNOC-EC chairman, said the P1.002-billion worth of dividends came from the P3.05-billion net income his company incurred in 2008, which is the highest income attained since the company’s inception in 1976.

PNOC-EC’s P3.05-billion income can be attributed to the increase in revenues from the Malampaya Project and coal operations, brought about by higher gas and coal prices in the world market.

“The turnover of the dividends to Finance Secretary Margarito Teves reflects PNOC-EC’s support to the government’s thrust of generating funds to address the budget deficit,” Paras told reporters after the turnover.

Last month, PNOC-EC has initially declared P200 million in dividends at P0.099 per share, of which P199.6 million will be paid to the government, while P421,000 will be paid to stockholders.

An additional P802 million was declared on July 22 at P0.401 per share, of which P800 million will be paid to the government P1.69 million will be paid to public stockholders on or before August 26. These values translate to a total of P1.002 billion in dividends at P0.50 per share, of which P1 billion will be paid to the government and the remaining P2.1 million to public stockholders. PNOC-EC is 99.78-percent owned by the Philippine government through PNOC.

Amid the remittance of dividends to the government, Paras said the government is still exploring the possibilities for privatizing the company.

Paras said the government will review PNOC-EC’s privatization, although he added that the sale of the government corporation will ultimately depend on market condition. “There is also no final mode of privatization yet,” Paras said.

Teves, for his part, noted that the government would still like to privatize PNOC-EC within the year. “The timing could change within the year, it may not exactly be September or it could be later. However, our direction is towards selling off our 40-percent share of PNOC-EC, and we will also have to consider market conditions and price,” he said.

Teves noted that the government expects to generate between P10 billion and P11 billion from the sale of PNOC-EC. “There are [takers] though something will come out definitely once we provide the details such as bidding documents, terms of agreement and so on,” Teves said.

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