COCKTALES | Romero unloads stake in shell company to partners

Rep. Mikee Romero. means BUSINESS

New party-list congressman Mikee Romero has sold his shareholdings within a listed shell company, Pacifica, to his own lawyers-partners.

And to get the takeover deal past the Philippine Stock Exchange and the Securities and Exchange Commission, a newly-formed Unido Capital Holdings based in Cebu City has in turn appointed former PSE chairman Vivian Yuchengco, through her First Resources Management and Securities Corp., as tender offer agent.

According to regulatory disclosures, Unido Capital is led by lawyer Lowell Yu, who is also identified as chairman of Pacifica and president of iHoldings, a property development services company also based in Cebu.

Yu's group had acquired 36.52 percent of the hardly-traded Pacifica at P0.007 a share, very much lower than last Friday's close of P0.038 a share.

The 36.52-percent bloc was held by two Romero companies, 9th Kingdom and Mikro-Tech. The two Romero firms together with iHoldings in turn control 64.17 percent of Pacifica, with iHoldings and bidder Unido Capital being both controlled by the Yu group.

Unido Capital said it had paid over P102 million to acquire the 36.52 percent Romero bloc, and has allocated P100 million to acquire the balance for the same price of P0.007 a share.

Unido Capital's corporate secretary, Ian Norman Dato, Yu's former law partner and Arroyo-era undersecretary for political affairs. also happens to be a board director of Pacifica.

Dato said one option for the Yu group, post-tender offer, was to infuse assets into Pacifica through a backdoor-listing of an ongoing business concern.

Money talks

  • Yellow Cab Pizza is returning to the US market with the opening a branch in Honolulu on January 18.Before the pizza chain was acquired by the Max's Restaurant Group, Yellow Cab had ventured into the American market with a now-closed branch in Milpitas, California.
  • Former Labor Secretary Rosalina Baldoz has been rebuffed by the Supreme Court's First Division led by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno for having "abused" her discretion.Baldoz in a labor case had favored the Manila Peninsula union's decision to increase dues to two percent, from the current one percent, of an employee's basic monthly salary.
  • The high tribunal said the increase in union fees, collected by the union and its umbrella National Union of Workers in Hotel Restaurants and Allied Industries as collective bargaining agent, was never approved by the Peninsula hotel workers in a mandated general assembly.

Heard through the grapevine
The Canadian coffee and doughnuts chain Tim Hortons is planning to open its first branch in a new strip mall being built at the PhilTrust/PPL compound at the corner of United Nations Avenue and San Marcelino St.

Why there?

It is because the local franchise holder, Enrique Yap Jr., happens to also be a grandson of the late Manila Hotel and Philippine Trust Bank owner, Emilio Yap.

The Yap-owned Centro Escolar University campuses in Manila, Makati and Malolos are also target and ideal locations for the Canadian cafe.