The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), manager of the largest public pension fund in America, has invested some $51 million in the shares of stock of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. and at least 25 other Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE)-listed firms.
“We welcome the investment, which affirms the robust investor confidence in the Philippines, and in some of our best-managed companies,” Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas said.
According to Gullas, more than half of the Philippine portfolio of CalPERS is invested in 371,300 PLDT shares and 6,365,214 Metrobank shares, acquired for $19.712 million and $7.481 million, respectively. He recognized the value of the US Pension fund’s investment, worth some P2.1 billion at the current exchange rate, saying it demonstrated the rising foreign investor confidence in the Philippines.
He added that CalPERS also holds the following Philippine equities (with their corresponding acquisition costs): 4,143,444 shares in Banco de Oro Unibank Inc. ($3.721 million); 466,062 shares in SM Investments Inc. ($3.192 million); 2,940,494 shares in Bank of the Philippine Islands ($2.432 million); 13,411,281 shares in Ayala Land Inc. ($2.087 million); 752,090 shares in Manila Electric Co. ($2.083 million).
It likewise holds 89,183 shares in Globe Telecom Inc. ($1.927 million); 400,441 shares in Ayala Corp. ($1.691 million); 19,898,904 shares in Metro Pacific Investments Corp. ($1.629 million); 2,324,700 shares in DMCI Holdings Inc. ($1.374 million); 6,582,296 shares in SM Prime Holdings Inc. ($1.290 million).
In addition, Gullas said CalPERS owns 812,010 shares in Jollibee Foods Corp. ($827,500); 248,980 shares in Cebu Air Inc. ($723,529); 6,596,650 shares in Energy Development Corp. ($580,684); 2,217,900 shares in First Gen Corp. ($546,436); 102,730 shares in San Miguel Corp. ($351,314); 857,200 shares in Manila Water Co. ($324,643); 204,940 shares in First Philippine Holdings Corp. ($261,848); 478,000 shares in Philex Mining Corp. ($200,598).
The rest of its holdings are: 1,703,000 shares in Vista Land and Lifescapes Inc. ($79,995); 368,000 shares in Robinsons Land Corp. ($72,859); 2,320,000 shares in Megaworld Corp. ($65,049); 69,900 shares in Universal Robina Corp. ($54,395); 1,719,000 shares in Filinvest Land Inc. ($39,311); 351,300 shares in Alliance Global Group Inc. ($28,600); and 41,900 shares in Aboitiz Power Corp. ($13,599).
CalPERS administers the $240-billion fund for the pension and health benefits of more than 1.6 million California public employees, retirees, and their families.
Meanwhile, Gullas credited the strong local stock market for enabling some of the biggest Philippine firms to raise fresh capital either through the private placement of newly issued shares to selected investors, or the sale of additional shares to existing stockholders in a rights offering.
“This ability to raise virtually free capital in turn has encouraged PSE-listed firms to expand their enterprises and increase hiring of staff, thus helping to drive economic as well as employment growth,” Gullas said.
According to the PSE, listed companies raised a record-high P175 billion in fresh capital from the stock market in the nine months to September alone.
Gullas said the lively bourse has also helped to enrich pensioners and members of the Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System.
The two state-run pension funds are among the largest institutional investors in the stock market.
PHOTO CAPTION AND CREDIT
CalPERS Building In Sacramento, California (Photo courtesy of SLDdigital Sean Dickinson)