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July 23, 2008

Philippines: British firm takes majority stake in Petron
Philippine refiner Petron Corp. said on Tuesday that Britain-based Ashmore Group had acquired majority control of the firm, reported AFP.

The 50.57 percent stake makes Ashmore the largest shareholder in publicly-listed Petron. The Philippine government holds 40 percent and the balance is held by small investors.

Ashmore bought some 10.57 percent of Petron from small investors between June 16 and July 14 at 6.531 pesos (14.6 cents) per share -- or about 146 million dollars -- Petron told the Philippine Stock Exchange in a statement.

Ashmore bought Saudi Aramco's 40 percent holding in Petron for 550 million dollars in May. The government has said it might sell at the right price.

Petron is the Philippines top oil refiner and has a market capitalisation of 55.3 billion pesos.

Philippine law requires an entity acquiring at least 30 percent of a listed company to tender for the rest of its equity over 12 months to protect shareholder interests. Saudi Aramco bought its stake in 1994 for 535 million dollars.

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