Petron Corp. (PCOR) reported in a public ownership report (POR) 9.375 billion outstanding common shares as of Dec. 31, 2018. In it, the company listed three principal stockholders such as SEA Refinery Corp. with 4.697 billion PCOR common shares, or 50.1 percent of 9.375 billion PCOR outstanding common shares, Petron Corporation Employees’ Retirement Fund with 378.819 million PCOR common shares, or 4.9 percent, and San Miguel Corp. with 1.703 billion PCOR common shares, or 18.16 percent.
In the same POR, Petron listed the public as holders of 2.506 billion PCOR common shares, or 26.73 percent. This ownership would have entitled them to four seats in Petron’s 15-man board but all seats are already filled up including those for the three independent directors.
In a separate POR, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. (PSPC) listed Shell Overseas Investments B.V. as owner of 890.86 million PSPC common shares, or 55.21 percent of 1.613 billion PSPC outstanding common shares, and The Insurance Life Assurance Co. Ltd. as holder of 262.345 million PSPC common shares or 16.26 percent.
Pilipinas Shell’s POR also showed the Government Service Insurance System as a stockholder with 20.67 million PSPC common shares, or 1.28 percent. Like GSIS, four banks also invested in PSPC common shares. These are Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. with 28.863 million PSPC common shares, or 1.79 percent; Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. with 87,893 PSPC common shares; Citibank N.A. with 18.065 million PSPC common shares, or 1.12 percent; and Standard Chartered Bank with 19.294 million PSPC common shares, or 1.19 percent.
Minus the holdings of these stockholders and the PSPC common shares held by 11 directors, the public own 373.054 million PSPC common shares, or 23.12 percent. Again, being public stockholders, Pilipinas Shell does not find them entitled to a board seat.
Due Diligencer’s take
As in the past, I still advocate the representation of the public stockholders to the board of listed but not necessarily public companies. As in previous columns, I remain steadfast in my belief that the public stockholders should elect among themselves who could ably represent their interest in the board, which acts as a company’s policy-making body.
As more popularly known even to corporate insiders, the public stockholders may even be as rich if not richer than the owners of the business.
There are also market players who invest in other companies that they do not either own or control. This would make them both business owners and market investors.
Going back to the public, again, I will support any move of public investors to have his or her voice recognized by business owners. This, however, depends on the kind of demands, which would mean any of them should have something to do with listed stocks.
As public investors, are you satisfied with the present full disclosure rule implemented by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)? Should the SEC be more active in policing listed companies which should be required to list their entire outstanding common shares and not only a portion of them? Just asking.