September 24, 2008

Aboitiz family leaves shipping business

IN case you guys missed it as most newspapers seem to have just treated the announcement like an ordinary corporate disclosure at the Philippine Stock Exchange, the Aboitiz Group is now getting out of the shipping business.

According to a statement yesterday from Aboitiz Equity Ventures, the holding firm of the Aboitiz Group: “At a special meeting today…the Board of Directors of AEV unanimously voted to accept the unsolicited offer of KGLI-NM to buy all of AEV’s shareholdings in Aboitiz ATS subject to a due diligence audit to be conducted by KGLI-NM.”

This is big news indeed and an end of an era for the Aboitizes who have been in the shipping business since 1907 transporting abaca which the family traded. Then it expanded to passenger shipping in 1918 when Don Paulino Aboitiz's son, Ramon bought the steam ship Tubig from Smith, Bell and Co. The company started plying the route between Leyte (where the family originally lived btw) and Cebu.

The rest, of course, is history. But I suppose with the sluggishness of the shipping business (the Aboitizes even partnered with William Lines and Gothong Lines to form WGA), and the group's expansion into more profitable businesses like banking and power (including power brokering, ahem), it was high time for them to leave their original business. Still, I'm sure it was a very difficult decision for the family to make.

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