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PLDT won’t engage with US law firms’ probe

PLDT Inc. on Wednesday said it will not engage with the law firms in the United States that have recently expressed interest in probing the company for possible violations of federal securities laws.

“While PLDT has seen reports that certain US law firms are investigating potential claims on behalf of investors of PLDT for alleged violations of securities laws — as is common when issuers disclose certain events — PLDT is not engaging with such law firms and has retained US counsel to defend against any suits that may be filed,” the company said in a statement.

“We reiterate that PLDT remains committed to transparency and will continue to release timely official statements and disclosures that are based on facts, in order to apprise the investing public, especially its shareholders, of relevant information,” it added.

The law offices of McInerney LLP, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, Glancy Prongay & Murray LLP, Howard G. Smith, Frank R. Cruz, Johnson Fistel LLP, and The Schall Law Firm have all announced that they would look into PLDT.

“The investigation concerns whether PLDT and/or certain of its officers have violated the federal securities laws and/or engaged in other unlawful business practices,” Kirby McInerney LLP said in a statement.

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP said its investigation would focus on “whether PLDT and certain of its top executive officers made false and misleading statements and/or failed to disclose material information to investors.”

PLDT disclosed on Dec. 16 a P48-billion budget overrun representing about 12.7% of its P379-billion capital expenditure (capex) over the past four years.

“The price of PLDT shares declined by $6.35 or approximately 23.69% from $26.81 per share to close at $20.46 on Dec. 19,” the law firm of Kirby McInerney LLP said.

In the Philippines, PLDT shares closed 19.35% lower at P1,192 apiece on Dec. 19.

PLDT said in a separate disclosure that it is in discussions with “major vendors.”

“The major vendors involved in the discussions are Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei, and FiberHome,” it said.

“None of the aforementioned vendors is a related party,” it added.

The company is in talks with suppliers for discounts and the cancellation of certain components of delayed projects to reduce its P48-billion budget overrun.

The Pangilinan-led company added that its discussion with suppliers also includes the possible replacement of certain projects that will be canceled.

PLDT shares closed 4.04% higher at P1,313 apiece on Wednesday.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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