Philippines’ Social Security System (SSS) fund invests energy stocks

Philippines pension fund Social Security System (SSS) could increase investments in local equities by up to 20 billion pesos ($470 million) and is particularly interested in energy stocks, its president and CEO said on Thursday.

The state-run fund for private sector workers, which has stakes in leading telecom Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co and top gold and copper miner Philex Mining Corp , expects to beat its net revenue target of 16 billion pesos this year given the stock market's rise to a record high.

SSS net revenue last year was 22 billion pesos.

"We should be able to do better than that," president and CEO Emilio de Quiros told a media forum, referring to this year's net revenue target.

"(Energy) is a sector that we are looking at, the potential is there. It's a sector that could provide good returns for us," he said, adding the fund may buy shares in initial public offerings of energy firms.

Food-to-power conglomerate San Miguel Corp said (July 7) it plans to list its energy unit, San Miguel Energy Corporation, this year.

De Quiros said the fund did not anticipate the stock market to hit new highs this year.

The Philippines' main stock index has risen more than 4 percent this year, hitting a record high on Tuesday (July 5). The market rose 63 percent in 2009 and 38 percent in 2010.

De Quiros said the fund's investments in stocks and government securities made up 21 percent of its investment funds of 286 billion pesos, below the 30 percent limit.

"We're examining very carefully whether we need to reallocate (investments) or increase a little. Right now, our investments are still doing well -- whether in mining, financials or telecom," he said.

The Philippines Stock Exchange wants to ease its listing and disclosure rules for petroleum and renewable energy firms, a sector seen as a growth driver for the bourse, the smallest amongst major Southeast Asian nations, and the economy.

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