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PSE, PDS to sign merger deal in next few weeks: Sicat means BUSINESS

MANILA - The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) expects to formally sign within the next few weeks an agreement detailing the terms of its merger with the fixed-income exchange, boosting hopes their consolidation may finally push through.

“The game plan is to basically have a formal signing which can happen in the next few weeks. Formal signing of the deal, an agreement,” PSE President and Chief Executive Officer Hans Sicat told reporters.

Sicat said the “term sheet” to be signed is the detailed version of its deal to acquire the Philippine Dealing System Holdings Corp. (PDS). PDS is the holding firm for corporate bond bourse Philippine Dealing Exchange Corp. (PDEx).

He said the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) serves as the main counter-party in the transaction. BAP has 28.9-percent stake in PDS.

The PSE has also forged selling agreements with various minority shareholders who own a combined 31.1 percent of PDS.

The PSE chief is optimistic about the completion of its takeover of the PDS at the soonest time possible.

“We are confident than last time because we have been talking about this with them (Securities and Exchange Commission) for the last nine months now. Also signals are there, we call it senior support from various stakeholders,” he noted.

Sicat said the PSE has raised to the SEC some issues on how the merger can affect board compositions and “eventually will have to talk leadership positions and integrating people together.”

He said they will also seek the approval of the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) for the closing of the deal on the PSE-PDS merger.

“Closing the deal means its exchange of money and shares and registration and all that. That happens at the closing date wherein all the approvals are given, all the legal issues are signed off,” he added.

The PSE-PDS merger is seen to enhance the liquidity in the financial markets.