Probe Calata insider trading, SEC prodded

By Jennifer B. Austria
14 February 2018  |   Manila Standard

The Shareholders’ Association of the Philippines Inc., a group that promotes and protects the rights of minority stockholders, asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate directors, officers and other staff of Calata Corp. for possible insider trading violations.

SharePHIL said in a letter to the SEC that Calata. which is engaged in the distribution and retailing of agrochemical products, feeds, fertilizers, veterinary medicines and seeds, failed to timely disclose it suffered a P126-million casualty loss caused by a typhoon in the fourth quarter of 2016 as required by the Securities Regulation Code.

“The casualty loss appears to have been disclosed only in Calata’s audited financial statements for 2016 dated April 26, 2017 and was posted in the disclosure system EDGE of the PSE only on May 2, 2017. During this period, persons connected with Calata’s management appeared to have unloaded their shareholdings unto the investing public,” SharePHIL said.

SharePHIL claimed that Calata president and chief executive Joseph Calata sold 108.602 million Calata shares worth P277.383 million from November 29, 2016 to March 16, 2017 .

SharePHIL said the non-disclosure, along with the subsequent actions of concerned Calata officers in unloading their shares, required serious inquiry by the SEC in order to protect the interest of minority stockholders and the investing public and maintain investor trust in the capital market.

SharePHIL president Francis Lim said the casualty loss, which Calata itself categorically recognized as a “severe damage,” was a material development for the company because its “revenue comes primarily from the sale of agricultural products” and as such was a material information.

“We trust that after its investigation, the SEC will take appropriate actions as may be warranted against those whom it will find responsible,” Lim noted.

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