Manila's First Holdings jumps to 21-mth high

Thu Nov 5, 2009 9:25am IST

Stocks

   

(Repeats to fix date)

MANILA Nov 5 (Reuters) - Shares of First Philippine Holdings (FPH.PS) climbed as much 6.4 percent on Thursday to hit a 21-month high as the Lopez business clan came close to a decision on a sale of its Manila Electric (MER.PS) stake.

The company, the holding firm for power assets of the Lopez family, will have a board meeting at 0400 GMT today to decide on offers it got from a group headed by the son of the country's mall tycoon Henry Sy and the Metro Pacific Investments Corp (MPI.PS).

First Holdings jumped to as high as 58 pesos ($1.2) at midsession, the highest since January 2008, before paring its gains to 57.5 pesos, up 5.5 percent at 0349 GMT.

"It is the D-day for the sale," said Astro del Castillo, managing director at First Grade Holdings. "It is a win-win situation for them."

The holding firm has confirmed receiving a $940 million offer for its remaining 13.4 percent stake in Manila Electric Co from the Sy group, days after the Metro Pacific group said it was nearing the conclusion of negotiations to buy half of the family's Manila Electric stake.

Metro Pacific and allied firms have the right of first refusal over the Lopez family stake.

Shares of Manila Electric climbed 1.64 percent on Thursday, outperforming the main stock index .PSI which was up 0.62 percent.

($1 = 47.6 pesos)

(Reporting by Karen Lema and Rosemarie Francisco)

((rosemarie.francisco@thomsonreuters.com; +63 2 841-8937; Reuters Messaging:rosemarie.francisco.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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