Hong Kong-based conglomerate First Pacific Co. Ltd. has taken majority control of Roxas Holdings Inc., one of the country’s largest sugar milling companies.
Roxas Holdings said in a disclosure to the stock exchange its board agreed to sell 241.78 million treasury shares to First Pacific’s unit First Agri Holdings Inc. at P7 per share or P1.7 billion.
With the additional equity investment, the First Pacific group raised its stake to 50.9 percent of Roxas Holdings from 34 percent.
Roxas & Company Inc. kept its ownership in Roxas Holdings at 30 percent after acquiring 33.1 million shares or P232 million from the market.
First Pacific’s additional investment boosted Roxas Holdings’ total equity to P8.63 billion from P6.93 billion.
Roxas Holdings chairman Pedro Roxas said the company would use proceeds from the sale of the company’s treasury shares in plant upgrades, possible mergers or acquisitions, and diversification the revenue and income base by expanding its ethanol business and developing power co-generation.
“FP and RHI will continue to work for the consolidation of the industry in order for it to survive. We need to immediately bring plant utilization and efficiencies up,” Roxas said.
Roxas Holdings said in a recent annual stockholders’ meeting it was looking at investment opportunities in Indonesia, including building a sugar milling facility, an ethanol plant and possible co-generation power plant.
It also plans to put a biomass plant in Negros Occidental and Batangas provinces.
First Pacific in 2013 acquired a 34-percent interest in Roxas Holdings when RCI sold 279 million shares, representing 31 percent of Roxas Holdings, to First Pacific Natural Resources Holdings BV for P8 apiece.
First Pacific also acquired additional Roxas Holdings’ shares from other shareholders to increase its ownership to 34 percent.
First Pacific earlier said it was looking for more investment opportunities in the Philippine sugar industry.
Indofood, a subsidiary of First Pacific, is a leading Asian food company with operations in all stages of food manufacturing from the production of raw materials and their processing to distribution to wholesalers and retailers.