Malacañang’s rants send Ayala Land shares falling by 7%

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Blue chip Ayala Land fell by 7% to P40.50 on Monday, January 20, amid news that the Duterte administration may probe its lease contract for the UP-Ayala Land Technohub in Quezon City. 

While the share price is not a historical low for Ayala Land, the 7% drop is one of the steepest declines the stock has experienced in almost 5 years.

In a DZIQ interview on Sunday, January 19, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that he read an online article alleging that the Ayalas are renting the 37-hectare or 370,000-square-meter (sqm) land at a cheap price.

The article claimed that the rental of the land costs only P22 per sqm a month. Ayala Land has since said that it is paying P171 per sqm monthly.

The lease contract was signed back in 2006.

Panelo's pronouncement adds to the potential legal battles for the Ayala group.

The Department of Justice is already reviewing the allegedly onerous concession agreement of Manila Water, while the House of Representatives is set to probe the deal of Ayala Corporation and Manny Pangilinan's Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) for the Light Rail Transit Line 1.

Investors on Monday also dropped shares of Ayala Corporation and Manila Water, which closed lower by 6.6% and 7.1%, respectively.

Shares of Pangilinan's MPIC also fell by 5.4%. (READ: Manny Pangilinan gears up for battle: Maynilad not for sale)

The properties sector led the declines for the day, losing by 3.9%.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index fell by 2.2%, with all of the other indices in the red as well.

Luis Limlingan of Regina Capital said the decline was due to investors moving to safer assets amid the crisis in Libya.

"Investors fled to safer haven assets," Limlingan said.

He added that investors remain on the sidelines as they await results of the full-year 2019 gross domestic product to be released on Thursday, January 23.

There were 64 advancers, 130 decliners, and 44 unchanged on this trading day. Net foreign selling was at P512.9 million. – 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.

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