PSE withdraws PCC notification on PDS merger, to refile soon

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Stock Exchange Incorporated (PSE) has initially withdrawn its application to the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) for its planned P2-billion merger with the bond market operator Philippine Dealing System Holdings Corporation (PDS), in order to complete the information required by the anti-trust body.

Once it completes the information on future operations, PCC Commissioner Johannes Bernabe said PSE will refile its PDS merger notification before his office as soon as possible. (READ: How PH's top antitrust official is guarding market competition)

"We decided to sit down with them and decided that it is better for them to refile to complete the information required. They withdrew the notification last September 4," Bernabe said on the sidelines of a media briefing in Pasig City on Wednesday, September 13.

Bernabe said did not give more details on the information they requested, but he said it is about the merger's future operations.

"The PSE has been cooperative. They have agreed to refile with the additional information asked to them. Once they refile and the info is complete, and there are no deficiencies, we can move forward with the Phase Two of the review process, which will take up to 60 days," the PCC official said.

Last month, PSE signed a deal to acquire the stake of the Investment Houses Association of the Philippines (IHAP) in PDS for P11.66 million.

Under the share purchase agreement, the PSE will buy IHAP's 0.5831% interest in PDS Holdings. This will boost PSE's stake in the operator of the country's fixed income exchange to 53.36%.

The IHAP stake acquisition is part of the planned unification of equities and fixed income exchange. (READ: PSE plans to offer more shares to bring PDS merger closer)

Aside from PCC's approval, the PSE would need to secure an exemptive relief from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The exemptive relief will allow the PSE to acquire majority interest in PDS as the current rules prohibit any single industry from owning more than 20% stake in any exchange.

The long-planned merger between the country's securities and bond markets is a priority for PSE president and chief executive officer Ramon Monzon. –