ABS-CBN shares surge over 20% as Senate sets franchise hearing

MANILA, Philippines – Shares of embattled media giant ABS-CBN soared by over 20% on Thursday, February 20, as investors find hope that its franchise would be renewed.

ABS-CBN was the top gainer at the local bourse on Thursday, closing at P21.80 from P18.10 apiece, even surging to as high as P22 intraday. This is also an improvement from its 52-week low of P14.80.

The network gained over P3.1 billion in market capitalization.

However, current share prices are still very far from the P60 level before the term of President Rodrigo Duterte began in 2016.

Philstocks analyst Japhet Tantiangco attributed the climb to the Senate moving to tackle the network's franchise issues. (READ: ABS-CBN case: Testing the limits of corporate structuring practices)

"We can attribute this to the remarks of Senator Bong Go who is urging the Lower House to discuss the media firm's franchise case. There's also the possibility of a franchise extension by the National Telecommunications Commission," Tantiangco said.

The Senate public services committee will tackle the franchise renewal of media giant ABS-CBN on Monday, February 24, ahead of hearings at the House of Representatives.

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said the House is likely to delay hearings on ABS-CBN's franchise until May or August, even if the media network's franchise is already expiring on March 30.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index gained over 0.2% to 7,413 on Thursday. There were 90 gainers and 84 decliners, while 54 companies remain unchanged. – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.