MANILA - Manila Electric Co (Meralco) said companies allied with the country's dominant telecommunications firm PLDT had acquired a more than 10 percent stake in Philippines' biggest power retailer.
The move will give Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co a board seat in the company and put it in further confrontation with San Miguel Corp, which bought a 27 percent stake in Meralco last year.
PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund and allied firm New Gallant Limited acquired 113.3 million common shares in Meralco, equivalent to a 10.17 percent stake, from Feb. 3 to March 6, Meralco said in a statement to the stock exchange on Monday.
The two companies do not intend to buy more shares, Ray Espinosa, vice chairman of the board of the trust fund said, adding that the firms plan to nominate and elect a director to Meralco's board.
The stake is worth about 10.65 billion pesos ($219 million) as of Mondays' closing prices.
Meralco tumbled 25.4 percent to 94 pesos on Monday after surging 37 percent in the last two trading sessions. The stock hit a record high of 129 pesos on Friday and is still up 58 percent so far this year.
Shares of PLDT lost 0.9 percent in a broader market .PSI down 1.5 percent.
Meralco, the country's largest power distributor, holds its annual shareholders' meeting on May 26.
The PLDT-allied firms acquired the shares in Meralco at a price ranging from 62 pesos in early February to 123.9 pesos per share on March 6.
Market players said the Lopez clan, who has held the more-than-100-year old Meralco since the 1960s, gained an ally with the entry of PLDT-allied firms in the company.
The Lopezes would retain majority of Meralco come May, said Jose Vistan, an analyst at AB Capital Securities.
The Lopezes, who bought Meralco from its American owners, currently hold about 33 percent of the utility firm.
There were fears of a management shakeup at Meralco following the entry of conglomerate San Miguel Corp as part of a broader plan by Southeast Asia's largest food and beverage group to diversify into heavy industry. ($1 = 48.58 pesos) (Reporting by Rosemarie Francisco; Editing by Anshuman Daga)