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Singaporean engineering giant to help design New Clark City

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

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Singaporean engineering giant to help design New Clark City

By: Roy Stephen C. Canivel
Philippine Daily Inquirer
05:46 AM February 13, 2018

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport and Urban Development (JOIN) have tapped Singapore’s largest engineering firm to help in the development of New Clark City.

Together with JOIN, BCDA signed Monday a memorandum of cooperation with Surbana Jurong. The Singaporean firm will help draft the development management framework, design standard and environmental guidelines to complement the master plan for New Clark City.

The 9,450-hectare New Clark City is envisioned to be a new metropolis that will rise in the Clark Special Economic Zone in Capas and Bamban, Tarlac.

Surbana Jurong, a wholly owned company of Temasek Holdings Singapore, was formed through the merger of renowned urban planning and affordable housing leader Surbana International Consultants and industrialization corporation Jurong International. It has 50 years of experience in the development of Singapore’s urban, industrial and infrastructure landscape.

BCDA said Surbana Jurong would utilize public-private partnerships to entice investors to New Clark City.

Meanwhile, JOIN president and CEO Takuma Hatano recognized the significance of the Manila-Clark Railway (PNR North Railway) project as one of Japan’s biggest projects in the Philippines. The 106-kilometer alignment will connect Tutuban, Manila, to the Clark International Airport and New Clark City.

DENR gives erring Boracay establishments 2 months to ‘shape up’

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu says he has already issued a directive that no new environmental compliance certificate will be issued in Boracay to prevent the construction of new buildings in the island

Jee Y. Geronimo
Published 5:19 PM, February 13, 2018
Updated 5:19 PM, February 13, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said business establishments releasing untreated wastewater and sewage into the waters around Boracay island only have two months to “shape up,” or else they will face closure.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said these establishments have two months to either connect to the sewage treatment plant of Boracay Island Water Company, or install their own wastewater treatment facilities.

“The DENR is giving them two months to comply with the law. Otherwise, we will close them,” he said in a statement on Tuesday, February 13.

While around 50% to 60% of all establishments in Boracay are compliant with the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, Cimatu noted that “all the rest direct their pipes to the canals which drain to the sea.”

DENR will soon issue a notice of violation to these erring establishments, after which they will be given 3 to 5 days to respond, or else, “we will cut their water connections.”

Cimatu himself was only given 6 months by President Rodrigo Duterte to address the environmental woes of Boracay.

Calling the popular Philippine beach a “cesspool,” Duterte threatened to close down Boracay if nothing happens after 6 months.

He also warned that he would file complaints against local government officials in Boracay for “serious neglect of duty.”

Duterte, in the last Cabinet meeting, approved “in principle” an executive order creating a task force to solve the problems besetting Boracay.

Aside from the establishments with sewage problems, Cimatu said his department will also go after establishments built within areas classified as forestlands.

“Forestlands are no-build zones. What they have done is against the law,” Cimatu said, citing the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines.

The environment secretary said he had already issued a directive that no new environmental compliance certificate will be issued in Boracay to prevent the construction of new buildings in the island.

“For me, the law is the law. This is a different battle but this is our chance to rehabilitate Boracay,” Cimatu said. –

Aboitiz, Lopez team up for construction deals in Visayas

By: Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
Philippine Daily Inquirer
10:13 AM February 13, 2018

The Aboitiz and Lopez groups, two of the country’s largest conglomerates, have teamed up to scout for big-ticket construction projects in the Visayas.

Aboitiz Construction Inc. and First Balfour, a unit of Lopez-led First Philippine Holdings, recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore potential project collaborations in the Visayas.

The two construction firms have agreed to exclusively work together, combining their expertise and resources to pursue prospects in the Visayan region, and ultimately secure contracts for successful project execution.

“This partnership guarantees resilience and competitiveness as both can leverage on respective strengths,” Aboitiz Construction chair Jaime Jose Aboitiz said in a press statement on Monday.

Combined, Aboitiz Construction and First Balfour bring to the table almost a century of construction experience. “Both have a strong presence in the country and share the same core values of integrity, teamwork and execution excellence,” a statement issued by Aboitiz Construction said.

Aboitiz Construction started in 1975 with its head office in the Visayas while First Balfour started in 1969 with its head office in Luzon.

Present during the MOU signing were First Balfour president and chief operating officer Anthony Fernandez, Aboitiz Construction chair Jaime Jose Aboitiz and Aboitiz Construction president and chief operating officer Albert Ignacio Jr.

‘Super consortium’ formalizes P350-billion NAIA rehab proposal

The consortium’s members are Aboitiz InfraCapital, AC Infrastructure, Alliance Global, Asia’s Emerging Dragon, Filinvest, JG Summit, and Metro Pacific

Chrisee Dela Paz
Published 12:30 PM, February 13, 2018
Updated 12:36 PM, February 13, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – Seven of the country’s top conglomerates formalized their P350-billion proposal to rehabilitate, expand, operate, and maintain the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for 35 years.

NAIA Consortium spokesperson Jose Emmanuel Reverente said on Tuesday, February 13, that his group formally submitted its unsolicited proposal to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Monday, February 12.

The 7 partners – Aboitiz InfraCapital Incorporated, AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation, Alliance Global Group Incorporated, Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corporation, Filinvest Development Corporation, JG Summit Holdings Incorporated, and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation – have a combined capitalization of over P2.2 trillion.

The consortium has also teamed up with Singapore’s Changi Airports International Private Limited, which would provide technical support in the areas of master planning, operations optimization, and commercial development.

“We vow to transform NAIA into a regional airport hub and to ensure that NAIA would have the capacity to meet the continued growth in passenger traffic,” Reverente said in a press conference in Makati City.

The NAIA Consortium will be competing with the group of public-private partnership (PPP) frontrunner Megawide Construction Corporation and the state-owned Social Security System (SSS), which had also expressed plans of submitting an unsolicited proposal to rehabilitate and operate NAIA.

“Megawide-GMR intends to participate in the development and rehabilitation of Philippine airports and this still includes NAIA. The government and the people now have the choice between a number of airport proposals and which ones offer the best value,” Megawide chief marketing officer Manuel Louie Ferrer said on Tuesday.

“This kind of competition is healthy for the infrastructure sector,” Ferrer added.

3rd runway option

According to the NAIA Consortium, the airport rehabilitation and expansion deal will be divided into two phases:
  1. improvement and expansion of terminals in the current NAIA land area
  2. development of an additional runway, taxiways, passenger terminals, and associated support infrastructure
Reverente told reporters on the sidelines that the consortium would need an additional 250,000 square meters to expand NAIA. But the location has “yet to be determined,” he said.

The consortium spokesperson added that the proposal includes ways to link all 3 terminals and connect NAIA to the existing mass transport system in Metro Manila, as well as an option for a 3rd runway.

Passenger traffic to NAIA is expected to continue to grow significantly over the coming years and the existing runway configuration may be unable to accommodate the future flows, Reverente said.

“Construction of the additional runway will ensure the ability of NAIA to serve as Manila’s gateway for years to come, bringing potential capacity up to 100 million passengers per year,” he added.

For the consortium, its planned NAIA upgrades would elevate the dilapidated airport to the level of major regional gateways, like Changi in Singapore and Suvarnabhumi in Bangkok, becoming a viable transit hub for Southeast Asia.

Most of the conglomerates in the consortium previously expressed interest in the P74.56-billion project to privatize and expand NAIA, which the government put on hold earlier this year until it comes up with a holistic approach to redevelop key airports. –

7 insurers give up licenses

By: Ben O. de Vera
Philippine Daily Inquirer
04:59 AM February 14, 2018

Seven insurance firms have stopped operations and voluntarily surrendered their respective licenses as most of them were unable to comply with the higher net worth requirement.

In a statement, Insurance Commissioner Dennis B. Funa identified the six nonlife companies that surrendered their licenses to engage in insurance business as Centennial Guarantee Assurance Corp., FLT Prime Insurance Corp., Manila Surety and Fidelity Co. Inc., Meridian Assurance Corp., The Solid Guaranty Inc. and United Insurance Co. Inc.

One life insurance player, CAP Life Insurance Corp., also stopped operations, Funa said.

Despite their closure, Funa said “policyholders of these companies numbering to about 170,000 will not be affected as all existing contracts issued by these companies will remain effective and that they (the insurers) are still bound to honor their contractual obligations and settle claims that may be filed.”

The Insurance Commission continues to closely monitor the limited business activities of these companies, specifically to ensure that all their liabilities to their policyholders are settled as they fall due, Funa added.

According to Funa, the majority of these firms surrendered their licenses as their net worth fell short of the mandatory minimum of P550 million under the Amended Insurance Code or Republic Act (RA) No. 10607.

“While these companies are not compliant with the P550-million net worth requirement, their net worth are positive which means they have sufficient assets to settle their obligations to policyholders,” he said.

Following the surrender of their licenses, these companies were issued individual servicing licenses for the orderly “run-off” of their insurance businesses. A company in an orderly ‘run-off’ is restricted from writing new insurance contracts or extending existing contracts and their activities are limited only to accepting premium payments from their policyholders, paying cash surrender values of outstanding policies to their policyholders, reviving lapsed policies, and other related services,” he said.

RA 10607 further increases the required minimum net worth of insurance firms to P900 million by the end of 2019 and to P1.3 billion by the end of 2022.

DPWH gets help from Hong Kong-based Arup for infra deals

The consulting contract is the first of 3 consulting packages expected under the $100-million Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility approved by the Asian Development Bank in October 2017

Chrisee Dela Paz
Published 4:43 PM, February 13, 2018
Updated 4:47 PM, February 13, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Public Works and Highways has signed a consulting contract with Ove Arup and Partners Hong Kong Limited (Arup) to help the DPWH prepare feasibility studies and detailed engineering designs for new inter-island bridges, tunnels, and highways worth over $11 billion.

The contract is the first of 3 consulting packages expected under the $100-million Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility (IPIF) approved by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in October 2017.

The ADB-backed $100-million loan for IPIF will support the Philippine government in accelerating the delivery of public infrastructure projects under its ambitious Build, Build, Build program.

Arup “was selected by DPWH using ADB’s procurement standards,” ADB said in a statement on Tuesday, February 13.

“The Philippine government is embarking on an ambitious, but much-needed infrastructure development program,” said Public Works Secretary Mark Villar.

“Major infrastructure projects involving the construction of tunnels through mountainous areas and long-span bridges across islands are unprecedented in the Philippines. A world-class firm like Arup will help our government generate large-scale, state-of-the-art infrastructure projects, optimize public investment, and realize our infrastructure vision,” Villar added.

Hiroaki Yamaguchi, director of the Transport and Communications Division for ADB Southeast Asia, said the DPWH selection of Arup showed that the Philippines is becoming increasingly savvy in managing large-scale infrastructure deals.

The facility, along with the approved $5-million technical assistance grant, serves as a stimulus for the government’s project management and monitoring system.

“It aims to strengthen the government’s project facilitation and monitoring systems, reduce infrastructure bottlenecks, and help relevant agencies systematically monitor project progress,” ADB said.

The remaining two contracts, which cover the preparation of DPWH’s flood management projects and Department of Transportation projects, are expected to be finalized in a few months.

Based in Manila, the ADB is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. It has 67 members – 48 from the region. –

PSEi rebounds, gains 0.97%

Philippine Daily Inquirer
05:02 AM February 14, 2018

The local stock barometer yesterday rebounded to the 8,500 level, tracking the recovery in the US and regional markets from the bloodbath last week.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) recouped 82.23 points or 0.97 percent to close at 8,570.14 on selective buying of large-cap stocks mostly by domestic bargain hunters.

“We think the PSEi’s correction is nearing its end and recommend a trading buy,” Papa Securities said in a research note.

Papa Securities sees the closely tracked Dow Jones Industrial Average to continue a short-term rally to 25,350 (from Monday’s finish of 24,601.27) which may shore up the PSEi to the 8,700 level.

“However, this will be short-term as the full effects of inflation in February will still be felt in the Philippines, raising the possibility of a 25-50-basis point rise in interest rates. This is also the reason why property firms have been weak,” Papa Securities executive vice president Homer Perez said.

“In the short term, we will probably range between 8,400 and 8,700. One thing which may lift the market is that foreign selling may be abating,” he said.

On Tuesday, net foreign selling hit P841.65 million, down from previous day’s P1.27 billion.

The rebound was led by the holding firms, mining/oil and property counters which all added over 1 percent. Only the industrial counter ended lower.

Value turnover for the day was P7.66 billion. There were 110 decliners that edged out 96 advancers while 48 were unchanged.

Robinsons Land completes P20B share sale

By: Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:33 PM February 13, 2018

Gokongwei-led property developer Robinsons Land Corp. has completed a P20-billion fund-raising from the sale of new shares to existing investors, proceeds from which will boost its war chest for business expansion.

Based on a recent disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, RLC was able to sell the entire 1.1 billion new shares that it was authorized to offer to eligible investors.

Some 1.07 billion shares were initially sold during the first round of offering that targeted eligible shareholders while additional 25.99 million shares were sold to meet oversubscription demand.

Eligible shareholders were given the right to buy one new share for every 3.7212 common shares held at a price per share of P18.20.

BPI Capital Corp. acted as sole issue manager, bookrunner and underwriter for this offering, which was supported by RLC’s parent conglomerate JG Summit Holdings.

Proceeds from the equity deal will be used to finance the acquisition of land located in various parts of the country for all of the company’s business segments.

RLC’s investment portfolio – which includes its shopping malls, office and hotel businesses – accounts for a lion’s share of its revenues and cash flow. To date, it has 44 shopping malls, making it one of the leading shopping mall developers in the country.

Jollibee gains control of Denver-based burger chain

By: Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
Philippine Daily Inquirer
05:07 AM February 14, 2018

Homegrown fast-food giant Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) has taken a bigger bite of the mainstream American hamburger market with a $100-million deal to jack up its stake in Smashburger chain to a controlling interest of 85 percent.

Through wholly owned subsidiary Bee Good! Inc., JFC currently owns 40 percent of Denver-based Smashburger, which operates 365 stores.

JFC has exercised its long-planned option to buy an additional 45-percent stake in Smashburger in a transaction that is expected to be consummated in a month or two.

This consolidation will expand Jollibee’s worldwide store network by 9.6 percent to 4,162 and widen its footprint from 16 to 21 countries. Smashburger also operates in Costa Rica, Egypt, El Salvador, United Kingdom (England and Scotland) and Panama.

“With the acquisition of more shares, JFC will have a more significant business in the United States. The US will increase its contribution to our worldwide sales from 5 percent to 15 percent,” JFC chair Tony Tan Caktiong said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange.

This will boost JFC’s overseas business to 30 percent of global sales from 20 percent.

Smashburger has annual sales of $333 million and net revenue of about $200 million, based on the annualized financial data of the past six months.

“We will eventually achieve our goal of 50/50 revenue split between the Philippines and foreign businesses even as our domestic business continues to expand strongly since our foreign business is growing even faster,” the Jollibee founder added.

RCBC bounces back after heist, net income up 11 pct at P4.3-B

MANILA – Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC) on Tuesday reported a net income of P4.3 billion for 2017, 11.4 percent higher than the P3.9 billion it booked in 2016.

The bank said its net income in the fourth quarter of 2017 alone grew by 146 percent to P904 million compared to P368 million in the same period in 2016.

RCBC said its total consolidated resources also expanded to P556.3 billion, with total deposits growing 10 percent year-on-year to P388.9 billion.

The bank said it is optimistic about the business environment in 2018, but admitted that competition would be tough.

“The RCBC management understands this all too well and is prepared to address this with a strong sense of urgency, as we pursue our business plans, key initiatives and key transactions this year”, said Gil Buenaventura, RCBC president and CEO.

RCBC was fined a record P1 billion by the Bangko Sentral in 2016 over the Bangladesh Bank heist, and is facing a lawsuit over the incident.

The bank, however, said last week that it is mulling its own lawsuit against the Bangladesh Bank.


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