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DITO, Chelsea shares slide after report of possible sale

Shares in two Philippine firms owned by tycoon Dennis A. Uy, a close associate of outgoing President Rodrigo R. Duterte, tumbled in early trading on Friday, after Reuters reported a potential sale of the companies.

DITO CME Holdings, Inc., owner of the country’ third-biggest telecoms operator, and Chelsea Logistics lost as much as 7% and 3.8%, respectively, while the broader stock index slipped 0.4% as of midday break.

“Investors are speculating on what’s happening given the lack of information on the planned sale,” said Astro del Castillo, managing director at First Grade Finance in Manila.

“With the air of uncertainty, and the global and local markets in flux, investors opted to stay safe,” added Mr. Castillo.

Mr. Uy, whose business empire expanded rapidly under Mr. Duterte’s term, is considering selling businesses collectively worth several billion dollars, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

It was not immediately clear why Mr. Uy, the top campaign contributor of Mr. Duterte in his 2016 presidential run, would be putting the assets up for sale. His representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

Buyers are looking at the prospects of Mr. Uy’s businesses, including a South China Sea gas field and a commercial land lease firm at the site of a former US military base, the sources said.

Not all of Mr. Uy’s companies lost ground, with shares in oil retailer Phoenix Petroleum trading up 0.4%, while casino-resort developer PH Resorts Group rallied 8%, two days after announcing a capital infusion from a Filipino billionaire. — Reuters

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