November 05, 2018 at 08:30 pm
Jenniffer B. Austria
Businessman Reghis Romero II and his son Michael have amicably settled their ownership dispute over Manila North Harbour Port Inc.
The two through their lawyers informed the Securities and Exchange Commission they had settled their claims and counterclaims against each other over the ownership of MNHPI.
Romero and his son Michael, as part of the compromise agreement, also divested all their rights and interests over their respective shareholdings in MNHPI.
The SEC took note of the development but still upheld its Oct. 12, 2016 decision dismissing the case filed by Reghis Romero-led Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc. against Michael Romero-led Harbour Port Centre Holdings Inc. and Petron Corp.
“While the commission lauds the Reghis M. Romero group, the Michael Romero group, and the other parties in this case in agreeing to put an amicable end to their dispute, we have to bear in mind that the matter before us is a regulatory matter that is better resolved on the merits for guidance of the public,” the SEC said in a decision signed Oct 4.
“Wherefore premises considered, the instant appeal is hereby denied for lack of merit,” the SEC said.
The group of Reghis Romero in August 2015 filed a complaint with the SEC seeking to recall an increase in the capital stock of MNHPI from P1 billion to P3 billion, citing an ongoing ownership dispute with his son Michael.
The increase in authorized capital stock of MNHPI enabled San Miguel Corp. to subscribe to the additional shares in the port operator, boosting the conglomerate’s ownership in the port operator to 78.33 percent.
San Miguel unit Petron Corp. prior to the deal owned a 35-percent stake in MNHPI.
Petron in 2017, Petron sold its 35 percent interest in MNHPI to International Container Terminal Services Inc.
ICTSI in September said it would increase its stake in MNHPI to 50 percent after signing a share purchase agreement to acquire 4.55 million shares in MNHPI, or another 15.17 percent of the total stocks for P910 million.
MNHPI has a 25-year contract to manage, develop and operate the 53-hectare Manila North Harbor terminal.