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Accessing agri: Equities, private funds… and cryptocurrencies

A Philippine conglomerate that is being forced to delist from the country’s stock exchange is offering its investors ‘calcoins’ in lieu of shares.

Ayalatriangle

A Philippine conglomerate being forced to delist from the country’s stock exchange is offering its investors ‘calcoins’ in lieu of shares. 

Catala Corporation, a Philippine agricultural group, is looking to list on a European cryptocurrency exchange after its probable ousting from the nation’s stock exchange.

Joseph Catala, its president, said the process could be completed within a couple of months, with the virtual coins issued to shareholders at face value of their stake.

His announcement comes as Catala struggles to save itself after its trading was suspended at the end of June following the revelation that its owner had violated disclosure rules on several transactions. It also follows the collapse of acquisition talks with the owners of Millennium Global Holdings, a listed group that was interested to buy 81 percent of the firm.

The involuntary delisting will require Calata to make a tender offer to current investors who may want to sell before the company becomes private again. The company had previously hinted it could not afford such a transaction, which could cost it around 1 billion pesos ($19 million; €16.6 million).

Catala, which listed in 2012, had a market capitalisation of 2.7 billion pesos upon IPO. It currently has 400 million pesos in retained earnings.

Its president said he did not need approval from the regulator and the stock exchange before issuing “calcoins”, as it plans to dub the currency, since virtual money falls outside their remit.

He will still have to obtain the green light from public shareholders, who own 75 percent of outstanding shares. It’s unclear they will agree. A group of investors led by Austria’s Alfred Reiterer, chairman of Foreign Investors Advisory Group, is reportedly asking Calata to buy their stake at the company’s end-March book value.