Ayala Corporation announced that in a special board meeting held today, the company’s board approved the declaration of a 20% stock dividend to holders of its common shares. In view of this, the company also announced it will increase its authorized capital stock from 596 million common shares to 900 million common shares to accommodate the stock dividend pay-out and will create a new series of preferred shares with the same features as the existing Series A and B. Following requisite approvals from shareholders and the Securities and Exchange Commission, the 20% stock dividend will effectively increase the company’s outstanding common shares to approximately 583 million from the current 485 million, with still ample flexibility to accommodate other issuances in the future. The company also approved new rates for its directors’ compensation which was last updated in 2003, following a survey of practices of other companies.

The company last declared a 20% stock dividend in 2008 and has consistently paid regular cash dividends of P4 per share. The declaration of stock dividends combined with regular cash dividends have effectively increased the recurring dividend payout. Ayala Corporation chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala commented, “We believe this is a good way of balancing the need to provide our shareholders steady returns and value as we continue to actively explore new investment opportunities.” Ayala is currently eyeing projects in the power sector and is looking to participate in several infrastructure projects. Ayala’s balance sheet has significant capacity to invest in such projects after reporting cash of close to P30 billion and net debt to equity position of 10% as of September 2010.

The above statement pertains to the disclosure made today, February 22, 2011, to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Philippine Stock Exchange, and Philippine Dealing and Exchange Corporation, by Ayala chief finance officer Delfin Gonzalez, Jr.