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Friday, October 2, 2015
SSS sees P1.2-B earnings from property sale, leases this year
By Kathleen A. Martin (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 2, 2015 - 12:00amhttp://www.philstar.com/business/2015/10/02/1506040/sss-sees-p1.2-b-earnings-property-sale-leases-year
MANILA, Philippines - The Social Security System expects to earn P1.2 billion from the lease and sale of its properties this year.
SSS senior vice president May Catherine Ciriaco said SSS has already raked in P274.5 million in the first half from the lease and sale of some of its real estate properties such as residential and commercial lots, condominium units, buildings, and parking lots.
The state-run pension fund expects another P289 million in the second half from the lease of the same assets, she said.
Together with an estimated P696.5 million in earnings from the sale of the fund’s properties scheduled later this year, Ciriaco said SSS stands to earn an additional P1.2 billion for 2015.
“Contrary to recent news reports, SSS assets for the most part have not remained idle (because) about 70 percent of our P17.9-billion investment properties have been on lease and are bringing in regular income for the SSS,” Ciriaco said.
“The rest of SSS assets are either for sale, or are retained as SSS property due to their expected increase in value,” she said.
The fund will be auctioning off more condominium units, parking lots, and acquired lots before the year ends. SSS has also scheduled other properties worth a total of P253.6 million for bidding next year. “Meanwhile, as part of the pension fund’s long-term strategy, the SSS intends to maintain its ownership of select prime properties such as Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City and East Triangle in Quezon City, given the expected appreciation in their real estate value,” Ciriaco said.
The Commission on Audit earlier this month said SSS could have earned at least P198.1 million more if it has rented out idle assets.
“Measures intended to maximize SSS income from its real estate properties are already underway. Even if the SSS has not rented out certain properties, the SSS has already registered gains from their appreciating value,” Ciriaco said.
DOTC starts upgrade of MRT signal system
By Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 2, 2015 - 12:00amhttp://www.philstar.com/business/2015/10/02/1506042/dotc-starts-upgrade-mrt-signal-system
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is set to start the P53.37 million upgrade of the signalling system of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), a move expected to minimize the train system’s glitches.
The seven-month contract awarded to Bombardier Transportation Signal, Ltd. will involve replacement of the existing local control system called MAN 900 with the more contemporary EBI Screen 900, a software with the same functionality as MAN 900, but enables the use of modern personal computers and fiber optic technology.
The signalling system maintains safe distances between trains and controls their speed.
Issues with the signalling system’s components may result in less operating trains and slower travel.
Apart from modernizing the software components, the upgrade will also ensure the availability of spare parts needed for the uninterrupted and efficient operation of the train system.
Within the first month of the contract, Bombardier will provide the required hardware upgrades and software licenses.
The firm will, likewise, install, test, and commission support of the new system; carry out the migration of existing data and functions and train MRT-3 personnel on proper operation and maintenance.
Bombardier holds exclusive proprietary rights to supply new components, as it designed, developed, and implemented the entire MRT-3 signalling system when it was constructed.
“This upgrade of an obsolete signalling system, which should have been done by the private sector owner years ago, is crucial in minimizing operational disruptions. This will improve reliability and efficiency of the rail system for the benefit of our passengers,” DOTC Secretary Joseph Abaya said.
The conditions of the MRT-3 covering North Avenue station in Quezon City until Taft Avenue station in Pasay City, have worsened over the years with the train system breaking down and leaving several commuters stranded in stations.
Aside from the upgrade of the signalling system, other improvements are being undertaken in the MRT-3.
Beginning Saturday, the MRT-3 will use the new beep cards or tap-and-go ticketing system to shorten the queuing time for passengers.
The beep cards are already being used in Lines 1 and 2 of the Light Rail Transit.
The ongoing refurbishment of 12 Schindler-brand escalators of MRT-3 meanwhile, is expected to be completed before the year ends.
The rehabilitation of MRT-3 toilets is also being carried out and six facilities are already open for public use.
Over 7,000 linear meters’ worth of new rails are also set to be installed within the year to replace worn-out tracks in order to ensure safer and smoother rides.
Japanese bizmen urged to invest in Philippines
By Rosette Adel (philstar.com)
Updated October 1, 2015 - 5:20pmhttp://www.philstar.com/business/2015/10/01/1505983/japanese-bizmen-urged-invest-philippines
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) encouraged the Japanese business community to invest in the Philippines as the country’s economy expands and to establish positive trade relationships.
“Seize opportunities in the Philippines to create, wealth, generate jobs and improve the lives of our peoples,” DTI Undersecretary for Industry Development Adrian Cristobal Jr. said during the Philippine-Japan Business Investment Forum held in Tokyo last week.
“Now is the right time for our Japanese friends and partners to come and do business in the country, and for those all ready operating there, expand your business,” he added.
Cristobal enticed the Japanese business community by describing the country’s economy as “bright spot in the region.”
The DTI undersecretary also elaborated the benefits the Philippines gains from trade preferences from the world’s largest importing countries under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP.)
Late last year, the Philippines became a beneficiary to the European Union’s (EU) GSP-plus granting the country a duty-free access to two-thirds of tariff lines.
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The United States (US) also reauthorized its GSP grant to the country last June since the authorization expired mid-2013. The reauthorization of GSP grant gave Philippines duty-free access to 3,500 US tariff lines.
Cristobal cited that among the Japanese firms which already took advantage of the preferences is Shimano, large Japanese bicycle manufacturer, which invested 3.5 billion yen to access the EU market through the Philippines.
“By setting up manufacturing facilities in the Philippines, Japanese companies may avail of the duty-free market access to the EU and the US, including products which are key export interests of Japan,” Cristobal added.
“We are in fact the only country in ASEAN to enjoy this preferential treatment,” Cristobal said. “In addition to these product categories, exporters in footwear and textile, preserved fruits, pineapple juice, jams and jelly who are targeting the European market may find a wealth of opportunity in the Philippines’ GSP+ status,” he added.
DTI said the government also seeks to uphold the competitiveness of its automotive industry to seize bigger share of the regional automotive manufacturing industry in the near future and to keep up with the growing market.
To enhance the automotive industry, Cristobal met with the car and car parts manufacturers to discuss to them the country’s Manufacturing Resurgence Program (MRP) and the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program.
The CARS program covering motor vehicle production, auto parts manufacturing and shared services and testing facilities currently produces estimated 80,000 to 90,000 units annually. It still aims to increase its production to a competitive scale of 200,000 yearly. .
Metro Pacific seeks majority control of Davao Doctors Hospital for P1.6 B
By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 2, 2015 - 12:00amhttp://www.philstar.com/business/2015/10/02/1506038/metro-pacific-seeks-majority-control-davao-doctors-hospital-p1.6-b
MANILA, Philippines - Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings Inc. (MPHHI), the healthcare unit of industrial conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), is seeking a majority stake in Davao Doctors Hospital Inc. (DDH).
The Manuel V. Pangilinan-led hospital firm commenced yesterday a general offer to acquire the remaining shares of stock in the Davao-based hospital through law firm SyCip Salazar Hernandez and Gatmaitan Law Offices.
The hospital subsidiary currently owns 313,655 shares or 34.82 percent of the outstanding capital stock of DDH and wants to acquire the remaining 587,154 shares of stock in the medical institution for roughly P1.614 billion.
MPHHI acquired its stake in DDH for P500 million in 2009 and has since poured in P400 millionin 2009 in investments to improve the facility.
MPHHI is offering a higher price per share if it would be able to acquire a higher number of shares. It laid down three conditions as basis for the offer price.
In its offer, MPHHI said if as a result of the tender, it will acquire less than 136,747 DDH shares, the offer price shall be P2,300 per share.
On the other hand, if as a result of the tender MPHHI acquires at least 136,747 DDH shares but less than 286,881 shares, the offer price shall be P2,600 per share.
Finally, MPHHI said if it acquires at least 286,881 DDH shares, the purchase price shall be P2,750 per share.
The offer period will be until Nov. 19, MPHHI said.
As of end-June, the Metro Pacific Group has nine hospitals with a total bed count of 2,245: Makati Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Asian Hospital & Medical Center and De Los Santos Medical Center in Metro Manila; Central Luzon Doctors’ Hospital in Tarlac; Riverside Medical Center in the Visayas; and Davao Doctors Hospital and WMMC in Mindanao; one mall- based diagnostic and ambulatory care center located in SM Megamall; and two healthcare colleges – Riverside College Inc. in Visayas and Davao Doctors College in Mindanao.
The hospital group’s first half net income this year rose 23 percent to P565 million.
PLDT creates investment arm to connect with Silicon Valley
Chrisee Dela Paz
Published 5:54 PM, October 01, 2015
Updated 5:54 PM, October 01, 2015http://www.rappler.com/business/industries/172-telecommunications-media/107746-pldt-capital-investment-arm-silicon-valley
MANILA, Philippines – Telecommunications giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) has created a new investment arm that will connect its group of companies with leading Silicon Valley startups.
The new investment arm, called PLDT Capital, is investing up to $50 million this year to support its business units, which include Smart, ePLDT, Digital5, and Voyager. This is part of its digital services portfolio expansion in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and Asia-Pacific, PLDT told the local bourse on September 30.
PLDT Capital will be supported by a team of strategists, engineers, and product managers who will also be identified from the PLDT group.
PLDT Capital has formally started operations in El Segundo, within Los Angeles County, California, and has presence in Silicon Valley.
"The PLDT Group serves more than 70 million mobile and Internet customers in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region," Winston Damarillo, managing director of PLDT Capital, said in a statement. (READ: PH telcos, TV networks ride double-edged digital wave)
"In addition to investments, PLDT Capital aims to become the gateway for the most promising startups to expand their opportunities to the fast growing digital consumers in the ASEAN region,” he added.
The PLDT group has made investments through its corporate development initiative, notably in Rocket Internet, among others. PLDT Capital is specifically created to focus on investments that support the PLDT core businesses.
"PLDT Capital serves as an important pillar to sustain our digital pivot," PLDT chairman Manuel Pangilinan said.
"To provide the best possible digital experience to our customers, we must collaborate with world-class companies. We look forward to bridging the best of Silicon Valley talent with our own Filipino innovators to expand the opportunities of PLDT,” Pangilinan added. – Rappler.com
Bank lending expands 14% to P4.67 T
By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 2, 2015 - 12:00amhttp://www.philstar.com/business/2015/10/02/1506034/bank-lending-expands-14-p4.67-t
MANILA, Philippines - The growth in bank lending picked up in August amid the higher loans extended for production activities particularly for construction as well as accommodation and food services.
According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the outstanding loans of commercial banks expanded 14.1 percent to P4.67 trillion in August from P4.09 trillion in the same month last year.
The expansion in August was faster compared to the 13.6 percent growth in July.
Together with reverse repurchase placements with the BSP, lending rose 14.3 percent to P4.96 trillion in August from a year-ago level of P4.34 trillion.
The BSP traced the increase in bank lending in August to the rise in loans for production activities which account for more than 80 percent of banks’ aggregate loan portfolio.
Data showed loans for production activities grew 13.8 percent to P4.16 trillion in August from P3.66 trillion in the same month last year.
Loans extended to manufacturing companies grew 5.8 percent to P711.89 billion from P672.7 billion followed by the wholesale and retail trade that grew 15.5 percent to P655.61 billion from P567.49 billion.
Lending for financial and insurance activities expanded 15.3 percent to P411.5 billion from P396.36 billion followed by loans for agriculture, forestry, and fishing that grew 15.5 percent to P149.7 billion from P129.61 billion.
In terms of growth rate, accommodation and food services activities booked the fastest growth with 50.4 percent followed by arts, entertainment and recreation with 45 percent as well as human health and social work activities with 42.5 percent.
On the other hand, loans for real estate activities grew 14.9 percent to P809.4 billion from P704.43 billion. The growth rate was slower compared to the 16.4 percent expansion booked in July.
In the latest Senior Loan Officers Survey of the BSP, the credit standards for loans to households and enterprises by banks were unchanged in the second quarter after a net tightening in the first quarter.
This is the 25th consecutive quarter since the second quarter of 2009 that the majority of banks reported broadly unchanged credit standards.
On the other hand, about 86.4 percent of the respondent banks in the second quarter indicated a net tightening of overall credit standards was noted for commercial real estate loans for the 12th consecutive quarter due to perceived stricter oversight of banks’ real estate exposure along with banks’ reduced tolerance for risk.
The BSP also noted the growth in lending for household consumption including credit card loans, auto loans, and salary also eased to 14 percent in August from 14.3 percent in July. Bank lending for household consumption amounted to P360.6 billion in August from P316.43 billion in the same month last year.
Asia Pacific carriers post lower air freight volume in August
By Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 2, 2015 - 12:00amhttp://www.philstar.com/business/2015/10/02/1506047/asia-pacific-carriers-post-lower-air-freight-volume-august
MANILA, Philippines - AsiaPacific-based airlines continue to experience weakness in air freight volumes in August as China’s manufacturing industry slows down, a report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.
Latest data from IATA showed AsiaPacific carriers’ freight ton kilometers (FTKs) fell one percent in August even as capacity expanded 4.9 percent.
Although the contraction was less severe than in July, IATA noted it is hard to say if the decline has bottomed out considering the continued drop in export orders for Chinese manufacturing.
“Some of the key reasons for the earlier weakness – for example, downgraded growth expectations in emerging Asia, and the re-balancing of the Chinese economy toward domestic consumption – are still there,” IATA director general and chief executive officer Tony Tyler said.
Meanwhile, global freight markets have stabilized in August after two months of decline wherein air cargo volumes rose 0.2 percent compared to the same period in 2014, an improvement from the July performance where freight demand contracted 0.6 percent year-on-year.
“After declines in June and July, signs of a stabilization in air cargo are welcome. But all is not well. Total volumes are down two percent compared to the end of 2014. Even though world trade volumes have slightly picked up, the industry will have to work hard to match the strong finish to 2014,” Tyler added.
Furthermore, airlines in the Latin American region reported a large decline in demand of 7.3 percent year-on-year, reflecting the continued economic struggles of Brazil and Argentina, while regional trade activity has not created stronger air freight demand.
North American airlines experienced a decline of 3.3 percent year-on-year and continue to see significant falls in FTK volumes since the boost from modal shift due to sea port congestion earlier in the year.
“Some of the conditions that led to the decline in world trade this year – a combination of weaker than expected global economic growth, particularly in emerging markets, as well as shifts toward the domestic market in China – are persisting. There are some tentative signs that things won’t get worse – export orders have stabilized – but if the current trend were to continue, we would see negative year-on-year comparisons in the coming months,” IATA said.
On the other hand, Middle Eastern carriers saw the strongest growth with demand expanding 10.4 percent and capacity rising 14.3 percent. Although some economies in the region have suffered a slowdown in non-oil growth, overall expansion remains robust enough to sustain solid growth in air freight
European carriers, likewise, reported a rise in demand in August of 0.7 percent compared to a year ago and capacity rose 3.9 percent with the recent improvements in eurozone manufacturing business activity seen to support air freight demand.
African airlines which carry a small part of worldwide FTKs, recorded a 2.3 percent in August with regional trade activity supporting demand for air transport of goods.
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