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Metro approves P300-M share buy-back program

At a Super Metro hypermarket

Gaisano-led Metro Retail Stores Group, Inc. (MRSGI) will implement a share buy-back program worth P300 million amid a soft consumer market due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a disclosure on Jan. 25, 2021, the Cebu-based retailer said the program will enhance shareholder value and pave the way for an executive stock option plan.

The P300-million funds for the program will be taken from the company’s existing cash, supported by unrestricted retained earnings.

The Gaisano-owned Vicsal Development Corporation, which is the controlling stockholder of MRSGI, will not participate in the share buy-back program.

The program will also not involve any active and widespread solicitation from the stockholders.

It will be implemented in the open market through the trading facilities of the Philippine Stock Exchange.

The company said the program will not affect any of its existing and prospective projects.

The program was approved during the MRSGI board of directors meeting on Jan. 22.

In the same meeting, the board also approved the re-allocation of P714.91 million from the company’s initial public offering (IPO) proceeds.

The amount, which was supposed to finance the construction of a distribution center in Cebu, will instead be used for the construction of such a facility in Sta. Rosa City in Laguna.

In the same disclosure, MRSGI said it would be "beneficial and advantageous" to construct the facility in Laguna to accommodate the increasing warehousing and logistics requirements in Luzon.

The company is leasing a property in Canlubang, Laguna as its distribution center.

"There is no assurance that the existing leased property can be renewed under favorable terms in the long term, and the corporation has a more viable alternative to construct its own DC in Sta. Rosa City, Laguna," it stated.

MRSGI raised P776.6 million from its IPO on Nov. 24, 2015. To date, the company has utilized nearly P61.7 million, leaving a balance of P714.91 million.

MRSGI shares opened at P1.38 on Jan. 25, slightly stronger than the P1.37 finish on Jan. 22.

The company operates retail outlets in three formats - department store, supermarket and hypermarkets. (Ventures Cebu)

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