The giant outdoor ticker of the PSE Tower in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig flashes its congratulatory greetings to JG Summit Holdings, Inc., on the occasion of its 25th listing anniversary on August 9, 2018.
It’s early morning on August 9, 2018, and a smiling Mr. James Go makes his way up to the trading floor of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE). He’s the first of JG Summit Holdings’ top brass to arrive and on the visitors’ log sheet, under the column title, he nonchalantly writes the word “chairman.” Forget the gloomy weather outside, it’s a big day for the conglomerate, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a listed company on the PSE.
The holding company of the Gokongwei family’s varied businesses, JG Summit was incorporated on November 23, 1990, and consists of companies with interests in food, agro-industrial and commodities through Universal Robina Corporation (URC); real estate and hotels through Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC); air transportation through Cebu Air, Inc. (CEB); banking through Robinsons Bank Corporation (RBank); and petrochemicals through JG Summit Petrochemical Corporation (JGSPC), to name just a few. Not even three years later, the conglomerate was ready to go public and was listed on the PSE on August 9, 1993.
Fast-forward to the present day, other officials of JG Summit have started to arrive for the occasion, among them President and CEO Lance Gokongwei, Robina Gokongwei Pe, Lisa Gokongwei Cheng, Patrick Henry Go, Johnson Robert Go, Jr., Antonio L. Go, Aloysius B. Colayco, and finally, JG Summit Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Mr. John Gokongwei, Jr., and his wife Elizabeth. Welcoming them all to the venue were the PSE officers led by chairman Jose T. Pardo, president and CEO Ramon S. Monzon, and PSE director Wilson L. Sy.
After the welcome remarks from the PSE Chairman, JG Summit Holdings Chairman James Go went up on stage to deliver his speech, touching on his recollection of the days preceding the IPO, JGS’s remarkable performance since then, and its plans for the future.
“On this date 25 years ago, JG Summit Holdings completed its Initial Public Offering and was listed for the first time as a public company. At that important milestone in the history of our company, our Founding Chairman, Mr. John Gokongwei, Jr., together with my late brothers Henry and Johnson, and myself, made it our objective to access the equity capital markets to raise long term funds for the pursuit of very ambitious projects that would support the economy and the growth of our company then – in telecommunications, air transportation, cement, and petrochemicals to name a few. This was done on the back of our success in branded consumer food group and real estate, which were then the anchor legs of the JG Summit Group. The listing also gave us the ability to issue a 10-year convertible bond of US$300 million in 1993, which was then one of the biggest and lowest-cost issuances out of South East Asia. I remember Mr. John and I almost spent our Christmas in New York City, with Solomon Brothers, in 1993. And the proceeds from both the IPO and the bond funded our growth through the turbulent nineties which culminated in the Asian Financial crisis of 1997 to 1999,” narrated Mr. James.
“On this date 25 years ago, JG Summit Holdings completed its Initial Public Offering and was listed for the first time as a public company with the objective to access the equity capital markets to raise long term funds for the pursuit of very ambitious projects that would support the economy and the growth of our company,” Mr. James said.
Expanding on the theme of growth, Mr. James underlined the impressive performance of JGS over the course of the last 25 years. “Since then the stock price of JG Summit has grown 18-fold, from its Php4.40 listing price, or around Php3.24 corrected for subsequent rights offerings of 2-to-1 at Php2.00, and a 10 percent stock dividend. So, at current market price closing yesterday (Aug. 8, 2018) at Php58.00, this is an 18-times increase. Our market capitalization grew from Php18.54 billion in 1993, to more than Php415 billion, or more than 22-fold over these past 25 years. Total group revenues in 1993 was Php10.6 billion and has expanded 26-fold to Php273.4 billion as of December 2017, while profits have grown from Php1.8 billion in 1993, to Php29.4 billion in 2017, more than 16 times over. We can therefore say that it was worthwhile to unlock the intrinsic value of JG Summit in 1993 by listing it in this stock exchange.”
After celebrating the glories of the past, Mr. James spoke about making way for the next president and CEO, Lance Y. Gokongwei, and the conglomerate’s future, focusing on a group-wide digital transformation initiative, “that will further unlock the value of the JG Summit business eco-system with the application of transformative technologies. All of these efforts are designed to bring JG Summit to a still higher level of performance in all of our various businesses, both existing and new, in the present and in the future, and in the Philippines and beyond.”
In his remarks, PSE Chairman Pardo shed further light on a topic JG Summit has always been passionate about. “Perhaps among the most commendable endeavors of JG Summit is the help and support that has been extended by the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation to numerous academic institutions, which includes an institution, De La Salle University, which I used to head, where a very generous Php250 million grant was given by the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation. We can never put a price tag on education and the lives that have been changed for the better through scholarships offered in learning facilities built by the foundation.”
Without question, the 25th anniversary celebration would not be complete without remembering the contribution of Mr. John and his brothers, the late Johnson Go and Henry Go, as well as youngest brother Mr. James, who, besides spearheading the public listing of JG Summit, also donated significant portions of their shares in JG Summit Holdings, Inc. to establish the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation (GBF) in 1992. It wasn’t that long ago that the family’s closeness was also highlighted in a speech Mr. John gave when he was awarded the Management Association of the Philippines’ Management Man of the Year in 2017. “When we were still operating out of a small tindahan on Martinez Street in Cebu City, they acted as bodegeros, clerks, all-around handymen. They were with me from the very beginning,” recalled Mr. John, paying tribute to the contribution of his family, including his mother Juanita plus his six children, to the conglomerate’s success.
Following Mr. James’ enlightening speech, all that was left to do were the exchanging of plaques and tokens of appreciation, and the ceremonial ringing of the bell by Mr. John Gokongwei, Jr., surrounded by corporate officers and close family members. With that, another trading day—and another exciting step in JG Summit’s continuing journey—had begun.
Shown in the photo (from left): JGS Director Robina Y. Gokongwei-Pe; JGS President and CEO Lance Y. Gokongwei; Universal Robina Corporation/JGS VP for Corporate Advertising and Public Relations Patricia C. Go; Mrs. Elizabeth Y. Gokongwei; JGS Chairman James L. Go; JGS Founder and Chairman Emeritus John L. Gokongwei, Jr.; Gokongwei Brothers Foundation General Manager Lisa Y. Gokongwei Cheng; JGS Independent Director Antonio L. Go; JGS Advisory Board Member Aloysius B. Colayco; PSE Chairman Jose T. Pardo; PSE President and CEO Ramon S. Monzon; PSE Director Wilson L. Sy; JGS Directors Johnson Robert G. Go, Jr. and Patrick Henry C. Go.