SEC slaps Liberty Telecoms with P346K fine

MANILA, Philippines – Local corporate regulators ordered Liberty Telecoms Holdings Incorporated to pay P346,000 for failing to disclose in any of its filings the re-allocation of its coveted frequencies.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) told Liberty Telecoms in a letter that it would be fined for not disclosing the re-assignment of the 723-738/778-793 MHz and 2555-2595 MHz from Tori Spectrum Telecom to Bell Telecommunications Incorporated, which was approved by the National Telecommunications Commission on March 17, 2015.

Liberty Telecoms is now owned by PLDT Incorporated and Globe Telecom Incorporated, after the two giants bought all of San Miguel Corporation's telecommunication assets for P69.1 billion last May.

Liberty Telecoms said it did not disclose with SEC the re-allocation of frequencies as it considered it as a "soft information."

But for SEC, this explanation is without merit because NTC already approved the re-allocation, which could then affect the decision of investors in terms of Liberty Telecoms' securities.

Its current owners, PLDT and Globe, said they have "no personal knowledge" of the non-disclosure as they just assumed position last August 18. 

After carefully evaluating the company’s response, SEC's Market Securities Regulations Department said it "finds the company’s explanation without merit due to the fact that this is a corporate liability and on the basis that the company should be made liable for all its corporate acts, notwithstanding that there was a change in management in accordance with the principle of business continuity and succession."

SEC said in the letter, which was disclosed to the local bourse, that Liberty Telecoms was only slapped P100,000 basic fine and P500 for 492 days of continuing violation.

Conclusion of tender offer

In a seperate disclosure, Liberty Telecoms told the Philippine Stock Exchange of its successful conclusion of the tender offer made by its parent firm Vega Telecom for all the common shares held by minority investors of the company.

In June, PLDT and Globe sought the approval of the local bourse and the SEC for undertaking a voluntary tender offer to the minority shareholders of Liberty Telecoms.

This move is undertaken by Liberty's owners to delist the company from the local bourse. (READ: The other side of San Miguel's telco buyout)

The tender offer is priced at P2.20 per share. It was supposed to close last September 21, but the SEC ordered a month's extension.

The company, however, did not say how many shares held by its minority shareholders were tendered. – Rappler.com