Leviste wants to take over Roxas Holdings

Solar energy executive Leandro Leviste plans to take over listed sugar and ethanol producer Roxas Holdings Inc. (RHI) via a P5-billion investment for an initial 71.6-percent stake in the company.

Leviste also expressed interest in increasing his stake in RHI’s parent firm Roxas and Co. Inc. (RCI) to more than 15 percent from 10 percent.

Leviste-owned Countryside Investments Holdings Corp. (CIHC) said over the weekend it a signed a term sheet with RHI vice chairman Manuel Pangilinan to invest P5 billion for an initial 71.6-percent in RHI.

The investment would help RHI service debt to avoid bankruptcy, increase tax revenues of the municipality of Nasugbu and create more and better jobs for the benefit of local farmers and former sugar industry workers, Leviste said in a Facebook post.

RHI is majority owned by Hong Kong’s First Pacific Investments Corp., while RCI still owned 23.05 percent of the total issued and outstanding shares of RHI.

The sugar and ethanol firm has P4.4-billion debt to banks including Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), BDO Unibank Inc. and Land Bank of the Philippines and P1.4 billion of trade payables.

RHI owns Central Azucarera Don Pedro, Inc. (CADPI), which closed down its sugar business in February this year after 97 years in operations.

It also has interests in San Carlos Bioenergy Inc. (SCBI), which plans to sell to support its working capital requirements and pay maturing obligations.

Meanwhile, Leviste also expressed interest in acquiring another 250 million shares in RCI at P3 per share for P750 million.

Leviste said in a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission he aimed to undertake the plan within the next 12 months.

The share price RCI on Friday closed at a 52-week high of P4.10. RCI shares have risen by 811 percent from P0.45 a piece at the start of the year.

Leviste said he would fund the planned investments from the proceeds of the sale of P20.4 billion worth of shares in SP New Energy Corp. (SPNEC) to Meralco PowerGen Corp. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp.

Leviste also recently acquired an 8.5-percent stake in ABS-CBN Corp. of the Lopez Group.

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