Corporate Archives - BusinessWorld Online BusinessWorld: The most trusted source of Philippine business news and analysis Mon, 20 Nov 2023 03:29:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Philippines’ First Gen awards second LNG tender to Trafigura Mon, 20 Nov 2023 03:26:55 +0000 SINGAPORE – Philippine power producer First Gen Corp said it had awarded its second tender seeking a cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Swiss commodity trader Trafigura.

The cargo of LNG will be delivered to the BW Batangas, First Gen’s floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), that is currenly berthed at the First Gen Clean Energy Complex in Batangas City, the Philippine company said in a statement dated Nov. 16.

The LNG will be used by the gas-fired power plants there, it added.

First Gen had issued a tender in late October seeking its second LNG cargo for delivery between Nov. 25 and Dec. 25 on a delivered-ex-ship (DES) basis.

In July, the company bought its first LNG cargo from Shell to commission its FSRU in Batangas. — Reuters

PetroWind expands wind project Sun, 19 Nov 2023 16:09:14 +0000 PETROWIND Energy, Inc. has started constructing the second phase of its 36-megawatt (MW) Nabas wind power project in Aklan, which is targeted to be completed next year.

In a media release over the weekend, the unit of Yuchengco-led listed firm PetroEnergy Resources Corp. said it would add six turbine generators to the existing 18 of the first phase.

The expansion will enable the company to increase the wind project’s capacity to 50 MW from 36 MW.

PetroWind has secured the necessary permits from the Department of Energy (DoE) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other local government units.

PetroWind is a joint venture of PetroGreen Energy Corp. (PGEC), the renewable energy arm of PetroEnergy, EEI Power Corp., and BCPG Public Co. Ltd. of Thailand.

“The commencement of this project underscores our commitment to help address the growing demand for power in the Visayas grid while fostering sustainable development in the countryside and long-term partnerships with our stakeholders,” said Yrel Ventura, senior manager for environment and community relations manager of PGEC.

As part of its sustainability framework, the company, in partnership with the DENR, adopted a 41-hectare forest plantation and was able to plant about 50,000 seedlings through its annual tree-planting activity with host communities.

It has also invested more than P175 million in bioengineering solutions for its ridge-to-river rehabilitation program.

In the third quarter, PetroEnergy reported an attributable net income of P167.95 million, up 51.3% from P111.03 million recorded last year.

Gross revenues increased by 47.6% to P959.51 million from P649.92 million previously. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera

Metro Pacific Tollways readies $600-M Indonesian investment Sun, 19 Nov 2023 16:08:12 +0000 METRO PACIFIC TOLLWAYS Corp. (MPTC) is expected to shell out $600 million if it wins the bidding for a toll project in Indonesia, a company official said.

MPTC Chief Finance Officer Christopher Daniel C. Lizo said during a recent media briefing in Tokyo, Japan that the company, along with Singapore’s GIC, are jointly bidding to acquire a portion of the Trans-Java toll road in Indonesia.

“Assuming we win the project, potentially the requirement from MPTC is about $600 million. That is our anticipated participation in the project. Together with GIC, our partner, it is about $1 billion to $1.2 billion. Of course, we can’t say the price yet because it’s subject to bidding,” Mr. Lizo said. 

“The toll project that we are busy on is our intention to acquire a portion of the Trans-Java toll road in Indonesia. It is being bidded out by Jasamarga Trans-jawa Tol, state-owned enterprise in Indonesia and the biggest toll road operator in Indonesia,” he added.

Based on MPTC’s presentation, the due diligence for the bidding is ongoing until December, with the submission of the final bidding offer set on Jan. 15 next year.

The signing of the winning bid is aimed at the first quarter of next year, while the closing and funding of the bidding is by the second quarter.

MPTC has investments in Indonesia through PT Nusantara, whose operations consist of toll roads, ports, water, and energy generation and distribution.

The Pangilinan-led company is the biggest toll road developer in the Philippines. Some of its tollways include the North Luzon Expressway, the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, Cavite-Laguna Expressway, and Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway.

In the nine months to September, MPTC logged a flat core net income of P4.1 billion due to higher concession amortization on newly opened roads and financing cost on the Jakarta-Cikampek Elevated toll road in Indonesia, which was acquired in the second half last year.    

The company’s toll revenues improved 20% to P19.8 billion led by higher toll fees and traffic growth in the Philippines and Indonesia.   

MPTC is the tollways unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

PSE says Holcim to be delisted on Nov. 27 Sun, 19 Nov 2023 16:07:10 +0000 LISTED construction material supplier Holcim Philippines, Inc. is set to be officially delisted from the local bourse on Nov. 27, stock market operator Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. (PSE) said.   

PSE said it had approved Holcim’s petition for voluntary delisting and accordingly ordered the delisting of the company’s shares from the PSE’s official registry effective Nov. 27, based on Memorandum CN – No. 2023-0064 dated Nov. 17 posted on the PSE website. 

Holcim’s stockholders approved the voluntary delisting plan on Sept. 22 while its board of directors gave the go-signal on June 29. 

The PSE suspended the trading of Holcim shares when Holderfin B.V. bought 594.95 million common shares or 9.22% of the company’s outstanding capital stock from Sumitomo Osaka Cement Co., Ltd.

As a result, Holcim’s public float fell to 5.05%, or below the minimum requirement for listed firms. Holderfin conducted a tender offer for 325.58 million of Holcim’s issued and outstanding common shares at P5.33 apiece.

Holcim posted a P164.33-million net income in the third quarter, a reversal of the P173.47-million net loss last year. The company’s net sales from July to September fell 21% to P5.5 billion from P6.94 billion a year ago. 

Based on its website, Holcim has cement manufacturing facilities in La Union, Bulacan, Misamis Oriental, and Davao, as well as aggregates and dry mix business and technical support facilities for building solutions. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

At least three keen on Iloilo solar projects Sun, 19 Nov 2023 16:06:09 +0000 AT LEAST three companies are eyeing to put up solar farms in Iloilo province, a member of its provincial board said.

“Right now, as we speak, there are three companies [eyeing] to put solar farms in Iloilo,” Board Member Rolando B. Distura, told reporters on the sidelines of an energy forum last week.

The construction of the solar farms with a combined capacity of almost 500 megawatts (MW) is expected to start next year, Mr. Distura said.

He identified two of the proponents as One Renewable Energy Enterprise, Inc. and Solaris, Inc.-Palm Concepcion Power Corp. which are planning to build solar farms with a capacity of 170 MW and 135 MW, respectively.

Another energy company is proposing to build about 186-MW solar farm, Mr. Distura said.

He noted that the companies are just processing some permits. The construction, once necessary approvals are secured, is expected to begin by next year.

The Philippines’ solar and wind energy sector remained the powerhouse of growth in the renewable energy sector with its capacity additions expected to increase by 6.8 gigawatts  in the next 10 years, according to a previous report from Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research.

Wind and solar will lead the renewable capacity growth in the country with an annual average rate of 10.4%.

The country is targeting to increase the share of renewable energy in its power mix to 35% by 2030 and 50% by 2040. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

Acciona and partners to install 1,200 solar systems in El Nido coastal village Sun, 19 Nov 2023 16:05:08 +0000 PALAWAN — Spanish infrastructure company Acciona S.A., the Ayala Foundation, and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) are set to install new 1,200 solar systems in Brgy. Teneguiban, an off-grid coastal village in El Nido, Palawan.

The public-private collaboration project is a part of Acciona corporate foundation’s global “Lights at Home” initiative, which aims to bring electricity to remote rural areas without connection to the grid.

The project, which expands its scope area, will provide additional solar systems including a 150-watt panel and 23 ampere-hour (Ah) battery for households and two 150-watt solar panels and 50Ah battery for community service centers, such as schools and health centers.

A household of four with installed solar home systems can use more than eight hours of electricity per day to charge mobile phones and use compatible electrical appliances such as fans, radios, television sets, or small adapted refrigerators.

“We have 15 years of experience in other countries. We are bringing to the Philippines the experience from those previous implementation — in Peru, in Panama, in Chile, Mexico, Ethiopia,” Gabriel Martín Fernández, managing director of, said in an interview during the project launch on Friday, adding that knowledge comes from the previous experiences of

The “Lights at Home El Nido” project is’s first project in Asia after having provided energy, water and sanitation to more than 68,000 people in Latin America.

“Through Light at Home, we at Ayala Foundation are truly proud to count ourselves as Acciona’s allies in literally lighting up the lives of thousands of El Nido residents,” Ayala Foundation President Antonio Joselito G. Lambino II said.

The project is implemented in collaboration with the companies Ten Knots Philippines and AirSWIFT, as well as financial assistance from AECID of about €569,657 or P34 million.

“The AECID is supporting and Ayala Foundation’s mission to deploy more solar home systems to households in Palawan without any connection to the conventional electric grid,” AECID Head of Spanish Cooperation Violeta Domínguez Acosta said.

“From and Ayala Foundation’s pilot project before, AECID is coming in to finance so it gets to more barangays in Palawan,” she added.

In December last year, the foundation implemented the pilot project in Brgy. Sibaltan, bringing access to electricity to more than 100 households and about 10 community centers.

The project has recently expanded to 400 additional households and community centers in barangays Sibaltan and Teneguiban.

It is in partnership with the Ayala Foundation and in collaboration with Ten Knots Philippines, AirSWIFT, Acen Corp., and Huawei.

As there are communities in El Nido that Palawan Electric Cooperative (Paleco) has not been able to reach such as Brgy. Teneguiban, some households settle on small-capacity generators to have access to electricity.

Helen V. Ramilo, kagawad or village councilman in Brgy. Teneguiban, said residents use diesel generators and oil lamps while some buy 75-watt solar panels with small-capacity batteries but cannot use them simultaneously due to limited capacity.

“Sometimes, when their children are studying, they are unable to use other appliances besides light, but now they can use them at the same time,” she said in Filipino.

El Nido Mayor Edna Gacot-Lim said that the municipal government is coordinating with the National Power Corp. and Paleco on plans to provide electricity services to underserved and unserved areas.

“Here in El Nido, we seemed to be at the very end of Palawan. When it comes to grids, these reach only up to Taytawy. But there are already electric poles and we are waiting to have the diversion of lines from the barangay,” Ms. Gacot-Lim said in Filipino.

Ms. Gacot-Lim said the municipality has a growing demand due to the existence of hotels and resorts.

El Nido’s population has reached 50,494 as of the 2020 Census and less than 8,000 households are connected to the main power grid, she said.

Department of Energy (DoE) Assistant Secretary Mylene C. Capongcol said the initiative and the continuing commitment of the agency’s partners, including stakeholders in the energy sector “are welcome to contribute.”

“Whatever your plan in the future, just alert us — the one in charge of doing the master electrification,” she said.

“Recently, we have published the call for microgrid system provider — that is one of the interventions that we want to expedite [in] the electrification of the country,” Ms. Capongcol said.

The government is aiming to achieve 100% total electrification by 2028.

In its 2023-2032 National Total Electrification Roadmap, the DoE has identified 285 unserved and 122 underserved areas in off-grid locations that will be given priority in tenders to private sector investments through a competitive selection process.

The initial auction is expected to be conducted within the fourth quarter while the awarding is targeted by the first quarter of 2024, wherein around 39% of the total unserved and underserved areas are expected to benefit. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera

AI reporting solutions expected to improve trade operations Sun, 19 Nov 2023 16:04:07 +0000 THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it is optimistic about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) reporting solutions to improve operational efficiency in trade and ease of doing business in the Philippines.

“Palantir is a promising tool for the Philippines as we leverage cutting-edge technology for operational efficiency in our cross-border trade, ease-of-doing business, and trade facilitation,” DTI Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said in a statement.

On the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Week 2023, Mr. Pascual and President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. met with the executives of US software company Palantir Technologies, Inc. to discuss intelligent reporting solutions.

During the meeting, the DTI said the US firm presented its proficiency in integrating diverse data points and employing AI or machine learning models to generate actionable and real-time intelligence.

This information, they said, can be applied both to maritime border security and cross-border trade tracking.

Palantir previously collaborated with the US government in areas such as CoronaVirus 2019 vaccine distribution.

“The company emphasized the platform’s rapid deployment and collaborative capabilities, underlining its compatibility with existing and envisioned platforms for the Philippines,” Mr. Pascual said.

Mr. Pascual also met with Silicon Valley technology companies to discuss potential partnerships in harnessing AI technology to upskill Filipino workers.

He said that a collaborative effort between the public and private stakeholders should be undertaken to be able to future-proof the Filipino workforce.

“Since these digitalization efforts demand a shared responsibility, it is imperative that an alliance be formed that capitalizes on the strengths of both sectors,” he said.

“As the government employs a whole-of-society approach, we urge our partners from the local and global industry to work with us in ensuring an inclusive economic development,” he added.

He said that among the country’s competitive advantages is the implementation of the AI roadmap as well as its over 50 tech startups using AI. — Justine Irish D. Tabile

Marcos eyes Starlink in boosting internet connectivity Sun, 19 Nov 2023 16:03:06 +0000 PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has ordered the Department of Information Communications Technology (DICT) to work with satellite internet service Starlink to boost internet connectivity in the Philippines, according to Malacañang.

In a press release, it said Mr. Marcos is “eyeing forging an alliance” with Starlink, following his visit to Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) facility in Los Angeles.

Mr. Marcos was accompanied by DICT Secretary Ivan John E. Uy.

“President Marcos said that he has already ordered Uy to ensure that the project will push through as he emphasized the need to adopt and recognize the appropriate technology and bring it to the Philippines,” the Palace said. It did not elaborate.

SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell and SpaceX Vice-President for Starlink Operations Lauren Dreyer welcomed the President during the facility visit.

“Starlink’s satellite internet is touted to have significant advantage with respect to connecting to areas that are difficult to reach like rural communities and island provinces and barangays,” the Palace said.

“Beaming internet signals directly from space, the company ensures wider and better coverage without the need for extensive infrastructure thus more cost-efficient,” it added. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

PLDT commits to use AI in enhancing operations Sun, 19 Nov 2023 16:02:05 +0000 PANGILINAN-LED PLDT Inc. has expressed its commitment to tap and utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to boost and enhance its operations.

]In a media release, the listed telecommunications company said it is ready to tap AI-powered technologies to enhance its operations, particularly in improving customer service.

“It is not enough to merely adopt AI — we must do so with a deep sense of ethics and responsibility. We need to safeguard customer and employee rights, uphold privacy and security, and champion diversity and inclusivity. Corporate governance principles must be at the core of the adoption of every new technology,” Alfredo S. Panlilio, president and chief executive officer of PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc., said in a media release on Saturday.

The company has also expressed its interest in exploring AI-powered technologies to enhance its network operations.

“In an increasingly interconnected world, AI has the potential to revolutionize the way we operate, with opportunities to enhance efficiencies, improve customer experiences, ensure data accuracy, and rationalize costs,” Mr. Panlilio said.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

Earnings results spur Ayala active trading Sun, 19 Nov 2023 16:01:05 +0000 INVESTORS took positions on Ayala Corp.’s stock last week after the release of its third-quarter earnings results.

Ayala was the seventh most actively traded stock last week with a total of 1.06 million shares worth P668.72 million having exchanged hands from Nov. 13 to 17, data from the Philippine Stock Exchange showed.

Its shares closed at P647 apiece on Friday, down 3.2% week on week. Since the start of the year, the stock has fallen 6.9%.

Philippine National Bank Equity Research Department Head Jonathan J. Latuja said in an e-mail that earnings added to Ayala’s active trading last week.

“Ayala Corp.’s third-quarter net income performance beat estimates and was a major cause of excitement for investors, especially its banking and property subsidiaries which largely contributed to the conglomerate’s better-than-expected results during the period,” he said.

Rachelleen A. Rodriguez, research analyst at Maybank Investment Banking Group-Philippines, said in an e-mail that strong earnings attributed to stocks active trading last week.

She said Ayala’s 35% year-on-year growth in third-quarter earnings was ahead of consensus estimates.

“Robust earnings were driven by its property and banking subsidiaries Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI), and Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI). Its power subsidiary ACEN Corp., meanwhile, booked one-off gains from value realization from the sale of a stake in Salak and Darajat and other remeasurement gains totaling P2.5 billion,” said Ms. Rodriguez.

“Overall market liquidity actually improved given better-than-expected gross domestic product and lower-than-expected inflation print in the Philippines, further supported by the lower-than-expected United States (US) inflation which, in our view, reduces the chance of the US Federal Reserve having another rate hike,” she added.

Preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed the economy in the third quarter expanded by 5.9%, higher than the 4.3% expansion in the previous quarter.

Recovery in government expenditures drove the country’s economic performance. The expansion ended three consecutive quarters of slowing growth.

For the nine months through September, economic growth averaged 5.5%, still below the government’s 6-7% full-year target.

In a separate PSA report, headline inflation in October slowed to 4.9%, slower than the 6.1% in September and 7.7% in the same month a year ago, due to easing food prices. This was the slowest pace in three months.

Still, inflation breached the 2-4% target for the 19th straight month in October. For the 10 months, inflation averaged 6.4%.

In the US, the consumer price index stood at 3.2% in October, easing from 3.7% in September, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics said last week.

The attributable net income of the country’s oldest conglomerate surged by 82.3% to P13.9 billion during the third quarter from P7.63 billion in the same period a year ago.

From January to September, its net income attributable to owners of the parent company rose 35.2% to P32.31 billion.

Core net income rose 42% to P31 billion after the improved performance of its subsidiaries.

BPI’s net earnings increased 26% to P38.6 billion due to sustained loan growth, margin expansion, and reduced provisions.

ALI’s net income rose 38% to P18.4 billion driven by sustained gains in its property development and commercial leasing businesses.

ACEN’s net income also leaped 59% to P6.6 billion as new operating capacity and the company’s sustained net seller position were further lifted by one-off gains related to the partial sale of its Salak and Darajat plant.

Meanwhile, Globe Telecom, Inc.’s net income declined 27% to P19.4 billion primarily because of a one-time gain on the partial sale of its data center business registered in the same period last year.

Maybank’s Ms. Rodriguez expects Ayala’s revenues to grow by 11.4% for the full year 2023, with ALI making up the largest component. — Lourdes O. Pilar

How PSEi member stocks performed — November 17, 2023 Sun, 19 Nov 2023 16:00:12 +0000 Here’s a quick glance at how PSEi stocks fared on Friday, November 17, 2023.

AREIT, ACEN boards greenlight P6.8-B property-for-share swap transaction Fri, 17 Nov 2023 07:31:04 +0000 Ayala-led real estate investment trust company AREIT, Inc. announced on Friday that its board of directors has approved a move to acquire 276 hectares of industrial land in Zambales from Buendia Christiana Holdings Corp. (BCHC), a wholly owned subsidiary of ACEN Corp., through an asset-for-share swap transaction.

“The transaction was approved by the board of directors of AREIT and ACEN on 16 November 2023 and is subject to the approval of AREIT shareholders and relevant regulatory bodies thereafter,” AREIT said in a disclosure to the stock exchange.

ACEN made a separate disclosure announcing its board’s approval of the proposed property-for-share swap between BCHC and AREIT.

AREIT said it will issue 199,109,438 primary common shares to BCHC in exchange for the land valued at P6.77 billion.

“This acquisition solidifies AREIT’s footing as the Philippines’ largest and most diversified Real Estate Investment Trust, now at 861 thousand sqm of building gross leasable area,” the company noted.

“After the acquisition, AREIT will own 286 hectares of industrial land, which includes 9.8 hectares currently owned in Laguna Technopark. This will increase AREIT’s Assets Under Management from P87 billion to P94 billion,” it added.

Following the issuance of the shares, Giga Ace 8, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of ACEN involved in solar plant development and operation, will enter into a 25-year lease agreement with AREIT, the listed company said.

AREIT also said that the land addition will complement its sustainability objectives, with 18 properties already having shifted from coal to clean renewable energy.

AREIT and Ayala Land, Inc. signed an agreement with the International Finance Corp. in September to certify 150 hectares of office buildings for EDGE Zero Carbon. It aims to establish the largest EDGE Zero Carbon portfolio in the country.

AREIT also secured a green light from the Securities and Exchange Commission in September for the property-for-share swap with Ayala Land, Ayalaland Malls, Inc., and Northbeacon Commercial Corp.

On Friday, AREIT shares closed 0.31% higher at P32 apiece, while ACEN shares closed 1.80% lower at P4.90 apiece. — Miguel Hanz L. Antivola

Meralco taps US-based USNC on potential micro-modular reactors Thu, 16 Nov 2023 16:08:28 +0000 POWER DISTRIBUTOR Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has signed a deal with US-based company Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp. (USNC) to study the potential deployment of one or more micro-modular reactors (MMR) systems in the Philippines.

“USNC is changing the nuclear safety and energy security conversations in the Philippines with these Micro-Modular Reactors,” Meralco Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Manuel V. Pangilinan said in a media release on Thursday.

The cooperative agreement was signed on Nov. 15 on the sidelines of the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit in the US.

“This agreement moves us forward with a partner who understands these important issues alongside the essential nature of the cost and reliability of the electricity supply,” Mr. Pangilinan added.

Meralco Executive Vice-President (EVP) and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Ronnie L. Aperocho, who represented Mr. Pangilinan, and USNC Founder and Chief Executive Francesco Venneri signed the agreement to study the MMR systems, which are described as fourth-generation and gas-cooled.

Under the deal, USNC will conduct a pre-feasibility study that will run for four months to familiarize Meralco with MMR systems and how to effectively be utilized in the country.

The distribution utility will then have the option to conduct a more detailed feasibility study with a focus on the adoption and deployment of MMR energy systems.

According to Meralco, the study will help them “in critical decisions and potential future activities on project-specific studies and project development plans at identified sites.”

The study will assess financial, technical, safety, siting requirements, and commercial viability, among other topics.

As described by Meralco, USNC’s MMR energy system features the high temperature helium-cooled micro reactor or “nuclear battery” that can safely and reliably provide up to 45 megawatts thermal of high-quality heat, delivered into a centralized heat storage unit.

One or more MMR nuclear batteries combine their heat in the heat storage unit from where electric power or superheated steam can be extracted through conventional means to meet a wide range of power requirements, from tens to hundreds of megawatts.

Mr. Venneri said USNC’s MMR nuclear batteries “can play a major role” in advancing the energy security and sustainability roadmap for the Philippines.

“The plans that will quickly follow this study place Meralco well on the way toward creating a reliable, low-carbon, equitable and secure future for Filipinos,” Mr. Venneri said.

USNC has active micro reactor deployment projects in Canada at the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories in Chalk River, in the US at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and in the UK through the Advanced Modular Reactor program, among other projects in Asia, the US, Canada, and Europe.

Meralco said the nuclear initiative is part of its long-term sustainability strategy that seeks to accelerate its shift to green energy as it assesses and adopts clean technologies such as MMR energy systems.

In September, Meralco announced the launching of its two-year graduate program, which is scheduled to run from 2025 to 2027. The program seeks to develop professionals who will help advance the integration of nuclear power in the country’s energy portfolio.

On Thursday, shares of the company rose by nine centavos or 2.5% to close at P369 apiece.

Meralco’s controlling stakeholder, Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc., is partly owned by PLDT Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera

PCC clears Robinsons Retail-Rose Pharmacy deal Thu, 16 Nov 2023 16:07:27 +0000 THE PHILIPPINE Competition Commission (PCC) deemed that there is no basis to prohibit the move of Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc. (RRHI) to acquire 100% of Rose Pharmacy following the completion of the competition watchdog’s review, according to the listed retailer.

In a stock exchange disclosure on Thursday, RRHI said that PCC had completed the motu propio review on the company’s acquisition of Rose Pharmacy on Oct. 5. The PCC’s mergers and acquisition office conducted the review, which began on Nov. 7 last year.

RRHI quoted PCC as saying that the Commission en banc “resolved to terminate the motu proprio review and take no further action on the completed acquisition, there being no sufficient basis to prohibit the same. The Commission issued the formal certification to this effect on Nov. 6.” 

In September 2020, RRHI, through its subsidiary South Star Drug, Inc., acquired 100% of Rose Pharmacy from Mulgrave Corp. B.V., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dairy Farm International Holdings, Ltd.

The acquisition was completed on Oct. 30, 2020.

Established in 1952, Rose Pharmacy is one of the leading drugstore chains in the country, with about P8 billion in net sales as of September this year, or higher by 15.1% compared with a year earlier. It has 394 stores in Visayas and Mindanao.

Aside from Rose Pharmacy, RRHI operates two other drugstore brands, namely: Southstar Drug and TGP (The Generics Pharmacy). Southstar Drug has 639 stores while TGP has over 2,000 franchised stores.

“Rose Pharmacy is a very strategic addition to RRHI’s drugstore portfolio, with its highly-regarded brand in Visayas and Mindanao, and complementary network to South Star Drug’s strong presence in Luzon and Metro Manila,” the listed company said.

“The acquisition further allows RRHI to leverage its scale and synergies to drive wider product assortment, better customer service, and offer greater value to its customers across the Philippines,” the company added.

RRHI posted a 41.4% decline in its nine-month attributable net income to P2.58 billion from P4.41 billion a year ago as a result of higher equitized losses from the company’s minority startup investments.   

Shares of RRHI at the local bourse closed unchanged at P38.50 apiece. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Energy dep’t eyes launch of futures and capacity markets Thu, 16 Nov 2023 16:06:26 +0000 THE DEPARTMENT of Energy (DoE) is targeting to introduce futures and capacity markets as part of innovations in the electricity market next year, its secretary said.

“At the end of this year, we will see a reserve market in place. Next year, we are working on a futures market and then we will have a capacity market that will also be in place by next year,” Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla said during an economic briefing in San Francisco, California on Thursday.

Mr. Lotilla said the move is part of the agency’s reforms to attract investors and to ensure “a level playing field” for them in the Philippines. He did not discuss further details about the proposals.

As described by the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP), a commodity futures contract “prescribes the delivery of a particular commodity; can be settled by the delivery of such commodity or payment of the cash thereof; and usually offset before delivery data; and usually has standardized terms.”

In September, the DoE greenlit the commercial operations of the reserve market through Department Circular 2023-09-0026, which is targeted to start on Dec. 26.

The joint application was filed by the IEMOP and the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. in October 2022 for the implementation of the co-optimized energy and reserve market at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.

The reserve market will facilitate the trading of ancillary services or power reserves needed to support the transmission system.

According to the circular, the IEMOP is directed to complete preparations and start limited live dispatch operations by Dec. 25.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) granted preliminary approval to the application for amendments to the price determination methodology (PDM). Asked for an update, the ERC said that the final determination of PDM is still under evaluation. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera

Cemex, Filinvest unit plan ground-mounted solar energy system Thu, 16 Nov 2023 16:05:26 +0000 CEMEX HOLDINGS Philippines, Inc. has inked a contract with Filinvest-ENGIE Renewable Energy Enterprise, Inc. (FREE) to develop a 10.08-megawatt (MW) ground-mounted solar system in its facility in Naga City, Cebu.

“This solar energy partnership is another milestone under Cemex’s Future in Action program, as we progress closer to our goal of reducing scope 2 emissions, coming from electricity sources that supply us, to less than 24kg of CO2 (carbon dioxide) per ton of cementitious product by 2030,” Cemex Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Luis Guillermo Franco Carillo said in a statement.

According to the company, the solar energy project is expected to avoid 10,000 metric tons of CO2 a year.

FREE is a joint venture company between FDC Utilities, Inc. (FDCUI), the power utility unit of Filinvest Development Corp., and ENGIE Services Philippines, a unit of French company ENGIE.

“We are proud to partner with FREE, a company that shares our vision to address climate change through sustainable projects. This is a win not only for Cemex, but also for the planet as we take concrete steps in making renewable energy the future of the industry,” Mr. Franco said.

Aside from the solar energy deal, the companies have also entered into a memorandum of understanding to explore the implementation of various renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions for Cemex’s facilities.

FDCUI President and CEO Juan Eugenio L. Roxas said that the companies are “poised to set new benchmarks in clean energy integration, signaling transformative alliance that reflects a collective dedication to environmental stewardship and forward-thinking business practices.

“Filinvest and ENGIE, leveraging our combined expertise, are pleased to play an integral role in helping Cemex climb the sustainability mountain,” Mr. Roxas said.

At the local bourse on Thursday, Cemex’s shares went up by three centavos or 3.75% to close at P0.83 apiece. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera

PHL firms seen unprepared for AI Thu, 16 Nov 2023 16:04:25 +0000 ONLY 17% of organizations in the Philippines are ready to utilize and deploy artificial intelligence (AI), with the majority of them expressing concerns about the impact of not adopting these technology advances, a study released on Wednesday said.

In a report issued by Cisco, the technology firm said that about 44% of the organizations in the country are considered chasers or those that are moderately prepared; 35% are followers or those with limited preparedness and about 4% are laggards or those that are not prepared to leverage AI technologies at all.

The report noted that almost all or about 97% of businesses recognized the urgency of adopting AI technologies while its adoption has been slower in the past years.

“AI has so much propensity to help across the business. There’s so many different aspects around how AI can help,” said Carl Solder, Cisco chief technology officer for  Australia and New Zealand.

AI-powered technology will greatly contribute to boosting the digital economy as it is seen to help raise evenues for businesses, Mr. Solder said.

He said driving better levels of proficiency through the use of artificial intelligence is “ultimately going to translate into better customer experiences, better levels of productivity for those organizations, which is hopefully going to drive better levels of profitability and revenue as well.”

The Philippines’ digital economy is projected to reach a value of as high as $150 billion by 2030 as the e-commerce boom continues, according to a recent report by Google, Temasek Holdings, and Bain & Company.

According to the report, the country is expected to reach between $80 billion and $150 billion in gross merchandise value by the end of the decade.

While AI-powered technology is considered revolutionary in the digital landscape, this advancement also comes with great threats amid cybersecurity attacks getting more sophisticated.

Mr. Solder said that while there is a danger in utilizing AI as it can be leveraged to create new forms of compromise, many organizations will benefit from it to also combat any cyber threats in the digital space.

“Analyzing inspecting and understanding and learning about all those new threats then it’s about building the software tool sets on top of that and leveraging the power of artificial intelligence to scan and look across the network in order to identify potential attack vectors, maybe anomalous behavior that might be happening,” he said. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

Filinvest Land’s bond offering now rendered effective by regulator Thu, 16 Nov 2023 16:03:24 +0000 LISTED property developer Filinvest Land, Inc. (FLI) said its shelf registration of debt securities is now rendered effective after its registration statement was cleared by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

In a stock exchange disclosure on Thursday, FLI said it received the SEC order on Nov. 15 rendering effective the company’s registration statement for the shelf-registered peso-denominated fixed-rate bonds and the corresponding certificate of permit to offer securities for sale for the first tranche.

According to FLI, its bonds have an aggregate total of up to P35 billion, with the P12 billion bond offering being the first tranche consisting of P10 billion with an over-subscription option of up to P2 billion denominated fixed rate bonds.

Recently, FLI’s bond offering secured the PRS Aaa credit rating, which is the highest rating, as well as a stable outlook from Philippine Rating Services Corp.

The joint lead underwriters and bookrunners of the offering are BDO Capital and Investment Corp., BPI Capital Corp., China Bank Capital Corp., East West Banking Corp., First Metro Investment Corp., PNB Capital and Investment Corp., RCBC Capital Corp., and SB Capital Investment Corp.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Trust and Investments Group will serve as the trustee.

As of September this year, FLI logged a 22% increase in its attributable net income to P2.44 billion while total consolidated revenues and other income rose 11% to P15.72 billion led by growth from its residential and mall business segments.   

On Thursday, shares of FLI fell one centavo or 1.79% to 55 centavos apiece. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Vista Land’s net income increases 70% as real estate segment boosts revenues Thu, 16 Nov 2023 16:02:23 +0000 VILLAR-LED property developer Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc. (VLL) posted a 70% increase in its nine-month net income on the back of higher revenues led by its real state segment.

In a stock exchange disclosure on Thursday, VLL said its net income for the January-September period climbed to P8.2 billion from P4.82 billion.

The company’s consolidated revenue improved 18% to P27.4 billion. Its real estate revenue rose 17% to P12.2 billion. It said rental income hit P11.8 billion, without giving a comparative figure.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization improved 21% to P15.2 billion while core net income, excluding the gain from insurance proceeds, increased 30% to P6.8 billion. 

As of end-September, VLL launched 27 projects valued at about P40 billion.

VLL Chairman Manuel B. Villar, Jr. said the company is anticipating a boost in its commercial centers as well as residential sales amid the approaching holiday season. 

“With the holiday season approaching, we eagerly anticipate welcoming an increased number of customers to our commercial centers as well as our overseas Filipinos coming home during the holidays which bodes well for our residential sales,” Mr. Villar said.

Mr. Villar added that VLL has launched more projects this year, which increased reservation sales by 10% to P53.1 billion for the nine-month period.

“We are delighted with our results, as we remain optimistic with the industry for the rest of the year with the strong gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5.9% coupled with sustained growth in overseas Filipino remittance and revenge spending from consumers, all of which contributed to the positive performance of the group,” Mr. Villar said.

Meanwhile, VLL President and Chief Executive Officer Manuel Paolo A. Villar said the company’s leasing portfolio has already exceeded the pre-pandemic level in terms of foot traffic.

VLL’s portfolio spans over 1.6 million square meters of gross floor area across 45 malls, 56 commercial centers, and seven office buildings.

Mr. Villar added that VLL’s land bank currently spans more than 3,085 hectares across the country.

“The demand for our residential developments, spanning both horizontal and vertical segments, remains robust and sustained, with the strong interest from overseas Filipino buyers, constituting approximately 60% of our total sales,” Mr. Villar said. “Our strategic approach to maximizing prime land is actively underway, with the continuous launch of Vista Estates nationwide.”

“We are consistently enhancing our residential business by offering more vertical and upscale projects, while our leasing sector is maintaining its growth trajectory for the period,” he added. 

VLL is engaged in the residential and commercial property development businesses through six distinct business units consisting of Camella Homes, Communities Philippines, Crown Asia, Brittany, Vista Residences, and Vistamalls.

On Thursday, shares of VLL at the local bourse closed unchanged at P1.62 apiece. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

SPNEC suffers bigger net loss Thu, 16 Nov 2023 16:01:23 +0000 SP New Energy Corp. (SPNEC) reported an attributable net loss of P49.73 million for the third quarter, wider than the P15.51 million recorded in the same quarter last year.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Wednesday, the listed energy firm said its gross revenues stood at P269.62 million, without disclosing a comparative figure.

The company’s gross expenses were at P123.15 million while gross profit was at P146.47 million.

For the nine months through September, SPNEC’s attributable net loss also widened to P106.98 million compared with P49.68 million in the previous year.

As of November, Solar Philippines Power Project Holdings, Inc. (SPPPHI) held 74.38% ownership of SPNEC’s outstanding common shares.

In March, Metro Pacific Investments Corp. entered into a share purchase agreement with SPPPHI to “acquire the latter’s rights, title and interests in and to SPNEC” with 1.6 billion common shares.

Meanwhile, MGen Renewable Energy, Inc., the renewable energy unit of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), said last month that it had signed an investment agreement with SPNEC and SPPHI to develop solar and battery energy storage systems.

Under the agreement, SPNEC will serve as the primary vehicle to develop 3,500 megawatts (MW) of solar panels and 4,000 MW of battery energy storage systems in Luzon.

Meralco Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Manuel V. Pangilinan earlier said that he was hoping to complete the deal by the end of this year.

The project is estimated to have a required investment of P200 billion throughout its implementation, Mr. Pangilinan said. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera

How PSEi member stocks performed — November 16, 2023 Thu, 16 Nov 2023 16:00:32 +0000 Here’s a quick glance at how PSEi stocks fared on Thursday, November 16, 2023.

Sia-led firms report double-digit profit growth Wed, 15 Nov 2023 16:15:53 +0000 LISTED companies MerryMart Consumer Corp. (MM) and DoubleDragon Corp. (DD) led by billionaire Edgar J. Sia II logged better attributable net incomes in the third quarter.

In a stock exchange disclosure on Wednesday, DD said its net income attributable to the equity holders of the parent company for the July-to-September period rose 94% to P626.15 million from P322.64 million last year.

DD’s third-quarter revenues declined 13.8% to P2.2 billion from P2.56 billion but was offset by a 7% decline in costs and expenses to P1.28 billion from P1.38 billion. 

For the nine months through September, DD said its attributable net income rose 9.3% to P1.43 billion compared with P1.31 billion last year.

The company’s revenues climbed 3% to P6.15 billion from P5.97 billion a year ago.

“DD’s nationwide Philippine portfolio of titled hard assets strategically located in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, is expected to fully mature by 2025 and expected to exceed over P250 billion in hard real estate asset value by 2030,” the company said, adding that the value excludes its overseas asset portfolio.

Some of DD’s business interests include community malls CityMall, hotel chains Hotel101, and warehouse complexes.

Meanwhile, MM said in a separate disclosure on Wednesday that its attributable net income in the third quarter rose 82% to P9 million from P4.95 million last year. 

The company’s third-quarter revenues rose 23.7% to P2.08 billion from P1.68 billion a year ago.

MM said its nine-month attributable net income rose 12% to P25.95 million from P23.14 million last year.

Revenues from January to September climbed 27% to P5.79 billion compared with P4.55 billion in 2022, led by a 27% surge in revenues for the sale of goods to P5.69 billion.

Currently, MM’s nationwide network covers 119 branches, as the company sustains the expansion of its brick-and-mortar stores and further improves its wholesale supplier application.

The company is eyeing to have 1,200 branches nationwide and to generate P120 billion in systemwide recurring consumer sales revenues under its Vision 2030 target.

“As we enter the busiest season of the year for the retail industry, we maintain our focus in strengthening the backbone of our business operations as we enhance and further automate our supply chain,” Mr. Sia said.

“We look forward to rolling out more distribution centers across the country in the coming months to expand the service areas of MerryMart Wholesale as well as support the continuous opening of our brick and mortar retail stores nationwide,” he added.

On Wednesday, DD shares rose 26 centavos or 3.68% to P7.33 each while MM shares fell one centavo or 0.95% to P1.04 apiece. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Phoenix Petroleum and Chelsea Logistics incur wider Q3 net loss Wed, 15 Nov 2023 16:14:37 +0000 PHOENIX PETROLEUM Philippines, Inc. incurred a net loss of P1.62 billion in the third quarter (Q3), wider than its P948.61 million loss in the same quarter last year, amid lower revenues.

Its gross revenues sank by 35.8% to P15.25 billion from last year’s record of P23.74 billion, the listed independent oil firm said in its quarterly financial report disclosed on Wednesday.

For the July-September period, revenues from the sale of goods declined by 36.5% to P14.7 billion from P23.14 billion a year ago.

Fuel service and other revenues were slightly down by 0.3% to P507.21 million while rent income slid by 51.4% to P42.07 million.

The third quarter’s net loss brought Phoenix’s nine-month losses to reach P3.68 billion, or more than three times the P1.07 billion suffered in the same period in 2022.

From January to September, the company’s topline stood at P42.80 billion, lower by 57.2% from the P99.92 billion posted last year.

The company attributed the decline to the 46.7% decrease in total volume sold at 1,156 million liters versus the 2,177 million liters last year.

It said the decline in domestic volume was a result of the implementation of its Third-Party Supply Model or 3PS where a third party supplies the oil firm’s retail requirements directly and in return, the company earns service income.

During the three quarters, revenues from its sale of goods in the Philippines went down by 69.9% to P10.45 billion from last year’s P34.67 billion.

Sales revenues also dropped in Singapore and Vietnam, sinking by 53.5% to P27.88 billion and 21.9% to P2.85 billion, respectively.

For its depot and logistics segment, revenues during the period rose by 2.5% to P1.61 billion from P1.57 billion last year.

Real estate revenues increased 41.2% to P12.82 million from last year’s P9.07 million.

Phoenix said last month that its board of directors had approved its divestment from its trading and supply subsidiary PNX Petroleum Singapore Pte. Ltd., in which it held an 85% stake as of September, via a share buyback.

The company explained that the move was aimed to “generate additional working capital to support core business operations.”

It also announced that it was looking at entering into a sale-and-leaseback agreement with BDO Unibank, Inc. to restructure its debts.

Assets involved in the proposal are some terminals, depots, and retail stations.

At the local bourse on Wednesday, shares of the company went down by P0.83 or 13.88% to close at P5.15 apiece.

Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp. recorded a net loss of P613.52 million in the third quarter, wider than the P489.14 million incurred a year earlier.

From July to September, its total revenues went up by 2.9% to P1.77 billion from P1.72 last year, the quarterly financial report of the shipping and logistics arm of the Udenna group showed.

The company’s improved revenues for the period were pulled down by higher expenses for the period.

For the nine months through September, the company trimmed its net loss to P1.04 billion from P1.49 billion a year ago.

Nine-month gross revenues climbed by 15.6% to P5.35 billion from P4.63 billion in the corresponding period last year.

The company attributed its higher top line to its shipping business, which recorded P5 billion in revenues for the period, or about 93% of its total revenues.

Broken down, its passage business accounted for P1.4 billion of revenues, while the freight segment contributed P2.4 billion, which it said was due to higher cargo volumes.

The charter and tugboat segments generated revenues of P462 million and P281 million, respectively.

Further, logistics revenues recorded P378 million as of September.

Total expenses for the period, however, reached P5.3 billion, a 3.3% climb, from P5.13 billion in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Chelsea Logistics has expressed optimism about sustaining its growth momentum.

“This improvement in our revenue’s performance is a testament to the hard work, dedication and innovation of our entire team, who have adapted to the challenges and opportunities of the changing market,” said Chryss Alfonsus V. Damuy, the company’s president and chief executive officer.

Chelsea Logistics will continue to strengthen its business segments as it aims to return to profitability, he said.

“As we enter the fourth quarter of the year, the Group is confident that we will maintain our momentum and meet our strategic objectives. We have a robust pipeline of new products and services, a devoted and expanding customer base, and a clear vision for the future,” said Ignacia S. Braga IV, chief financial officer of Chelsea Logistics.

At the local bourse on Wednesday, shares in the company closed unchanged at P1.24 apiece.

Both Phoenix and Chelsea Logistics are chaired by Davao City businessman Dennis A. Uy. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera and Ashley Erika O. Jose

Megawide trims Q3 net loss as revenues surge Wed, 15 Nov 2023 16:13:36 +0000 SAAVEDRA-LED Megawide Construction Corp. trimmed its net loss for the third quarter after a surge in revenues. 

The company said in a stock exchange disclosure on Wednesday that its July-to-September net loss shrunk to P30.06 million from P529.28 million a year ago.

Megawide’s revenues in the third quarter improved 34% to P4.4 billion from P3.27 billion last year led by its construction operations, which grew 30% to P4.21 billion from P3.25 billion.

From January to September, Megawide said its consolidated net income hit P332.5 million, a turnaround from the P970.4 million net loss in the same period last year. 

Megawide’s nine-month revenues rose 47% to P15.6 billion led by increases in its construction, landport, and real estate businesses.

The company’s construction segment, which accounted for 97% of total revenues, posted a 47% growth in revenues to P15.2 billion.

“Our growth trajectory remains intact, with our pursuit of big-ticket infrastructure projects, like the Malolos Clark Railway Project and soon the Metro Manila Subway, and high-value commercial developments, such as the Westside City Resorts Complex, materializing,” Megawide President and Chief Executive Officer Edgar B. Saavedra said.

“We are confident that over the long-term, this direction will unlock a strong and steady earnings momentum for the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) segment,” he added.

Megawide’s landport operations at the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX), which contributed 2% of the top line, had a 23% increase in revenues to P339.7 million as of September.

“PITX continues to serve as a key junction for commuters, through additional long-haul trips to various destinations across the country and as a strategic link to the EDSA Bus carousel, resulting in high passenger throughput of more than 106,000 daily as of September,” PITX President Jaime Raphael C. Feliciano said.

PITX’s commercial occupancy reached 80% while average passenger spending in September was at P36.9, up 61% from last year and exceeding the previous record of P35.5 in June.

“The trend is expected to improve further as new offerings, such as Tim Hortons and Robinson’s Easymart, opened their doors to PITX patrons in the third quarter of the year, offering a more holistic commuting experience,” Megawide said.

Office occupancy rates in PITX doubled to 65% as of end-September from 33% at the start of 2023, and is expected to benefit from the scheduled launch of Manila Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 Asia World Station by next year.

“By next year, the LRT1 Asia World Station will be operational and direct access to PITX will strengthen the facility’s value proposition as an office hub and convergence point for workers and travelers alike,” Megawide said. 

Megawide said its nine-month real estate revenue reached P36.5 million, representing the two months’ share by real estate firm PH1 World Developers, Inc., which was acquired in July.

“The segment is expected to contribute more significantly to consolidated revenues in the next two to three years, as new and existing developments steadily reach payment milestones and increase construction progress,” Megawide said.

In September, PH1 launched two new projects in the vertical and horizontal spaces, the Modan Lofts in Ortigas Hills, valued at about P8.7 billion, and the Northscapes at San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, with an estimated value of P1.9 billion for the first phase, respectively.

On Wednesday, shares of Megawide at the local bourse closed unchanged at P3.17 each. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Apex Mining earns P1 billion on higher gold, silver revenues Wed, 15 Nov 2023 16:12:35 +0000 APEX Mining Co., Inc. reported an attributable net income of P1.03 billion in the third quarter, 14.8% higher than the P898 million in the same period last year, amid higher gold and silver revenues.

In a regulatory filing, the company said that its top line rose by 10.9% to P3.04 billion from P2.74 billion the previous year.

It said the higher average realized gold price of $1,913 per ounce during the year and favorable Philippine peso to US dollar exchange rate added to further lift revenues.

Gold and silver revenues amounted to P2.92 billion and P116.71 million, respectively. Total volumes reached 26,856 ounces for gold and 89,648 ounces for silver.

The company’s Maco mine site in Davao de Oro has a total gold production of 24,665 ounces, 4% higher than the prior year.

Total tons milled from the site rose by 4% for the three-month period to 218,879 tons, while daily mill throughput was 2,478 tons.

For the nine months ending September, the company’s attributable net income fell by 6.1% to P2.31 billion from P2.46 billion last year.

Apex Mining’s top line increased to P8.73 billion, up 16.2% from P7.51 billion in the same period in 2022 on the back of higher gold revenues at P8.38 billion. The company’s silver revenues amounted to P345.5 million.

The company said that as of Sept. 30, the combined operations of its Maco mine and Sangilo mine in Benguet operated by its subsidiary Itogon-Suyoc Resources, Inc. milled a total of 701,713 tons for a 3% rise from the previous year.

It added that the consolidated gold ounces sold by the two operations reached 77,652 ounces, or 6% higher than the 73,219 ounces in 2022.

From January to September, the Sangilo mine milled 104,270 tons of ore, 15% higher than the previous year. It had a gold recovery rate of 86%.

Meanwhile, the company said that based on its Mine Reserves and Resource Certifications from 2021, its mining operation in Maco has enough reserves and resources to continue its targeted daily production rate of 3,000 tons until 2032.

Apex Mining shares rose by 3.15% or eight centavos to close at P2.62 apiece on Wednesday. — Adrian H. Halili

Villar’s AllHome posts 21% income decline Wed, 15 Nov 2023 16:11:33 +0000 VILLAR-LED AllHome Corp. logged a 21% decline in its net profit for the third quarter on the back of lower sales.

In a regulatory filing on Wednesday, AllHome said its net profit from July to September dropped to P139.55 million from P176.48 million last year.

The company’s third-quarter sales fell 3.5% to P2.74 billion versus the P2.84 billion posted in 2022.

In contrast, AllHome said its net income for January to September rose 46% to P582 million from P399 million a year ago.

The higher net income comes despite the company’s nine-month sales falling 3.6% to P8.78 billion from P9.11 billion last year due to lower demand.

“This was brought about by the weakened demand in the hard categories as customers deferred their purchases for home construction and finishing owing to rising inflation, while soft categories remained steady,” AllHome said. 

AllHome Chairman Manuel B. Villar, Jr. said the company is expecting a strong performance in the fourth quarter and a positive outlook for next year.

“We are heading into [the] last quarter of 2023 — historically strong for AllHome — and beyond that, a positive 2024 outlook,” Mr. Villar said. “We are confident in the performance of our soft categories, as this shows that new homeowners are now entering into the furnishing stage, and we see this further picking up to close out 2023.”   

“This uptick in AllHome’s soft categories also coincides with a holiday season where travel and movement restrictions from the pandemic are gone, and overseas Filipino workers will be coming home to their families, which only bodes well for AllHome,” he added.

Meanwhile, AllHome President and Chief Executive Officer Benjamarie Therese N. Serrano said the company is pleased with its business results as of September.

“We set out to implement initiatives towards optimization of our operations across the board: store revenue potential, energy and manpower initiatives — even warehousing. We are glad to see all of these bear fruit,” Ms. Serrano said.

“While we saw some slowing in our hard category performance, we also see a unique opportunity to wrestle market share from our competitors. In addition to our hard categories, the AllHome value proposition of one-stop full-line home center allows us to present to an attractive alternative to in terms of unique offerings and convenience to our customers,” she added. 

On Wednesday, shares of AllHome at the local bourse fell eight centavos or 5.71% to P1.32 apiece. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Business units lift FDC’s profit Wed, 15 Nov 2023 16:10:32 +0000 GOTIANUN-LED conglomerate Filinvest Development Corp. (FDC) posted a 28% improvement in its net income in the third quarter as its business segments posted higher revenues.

The listed firm said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday that its July-to-September profit attributable to equity holders of the parent company climbed to P1.99 billion from P1.55 billion in the same period last year.

FDC’s total revenues and other income in the third quarter rose 22% to P22.08 billion from P18.08 billion a year ago.

For the nine months through September, FDC’s attributable net income rose 57% to P5.9 billion from P3.8 billion a year ago.

The company’s total revenues and other income rose 26% to P64.6 billion compared with P51.1 billion last year.

“The increases reflected mainly the continued recovery of the businesses over prior periods which were adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” FDC said.

“The level of total revenues and other income of the conglomerate in the first nine months of 2023 already surpassed the amount generated before the pandemic of P63 billion in the first nine months of 2019,” it added.

FDC’s East West Banking Corp. posted a 33% increase in revenues led by higher interest income and the build-up of high-yielding fixed-income securities. As a result, the bank’s net income rose 59% to P4.7 billion.

Real estate saw a 22% increase in net income as overall revenues rose 15% carried by the growth of residential and mall revenues. The residential segment was boosted by the improvement in housing and medium-rise condo projects while mall leasing saw growth due to higher shopper traffic and the normalization of rental rates. 

The net income of FDC’s power segment rose 1% as revenues increased 19% led by higher electricity prices.

FDC’s hospitality segment posted a 53% increase in revenues on the back of higher occupancy rates and average room rates for hotel properties with the continued recovery of travel and tourism.

“We are pleased to report the strong performance of our portfolio with an impressive broad-based growth in revenues and profit across all our business segments in banking, real estate, hotels, power, and sugar despite the challenges of high interest and inflation rates,” FDC President and Chief Executive Officer Chiqui A. Huang said. 

“With enhanced business strategies and execution, and a resilient organization, we look forward to sustaining, if not accelerating, our growth in 2024 and the years ahead,” she added.

FDC’s subsidiaries include Filinvest Land, Inc., EastWest, and FDC Utilities, Inc. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Max’s Group’s net income down on higher expenses Wed, 15 Nov 2023 16:09:50 +0000 LISTED restaurant operator Max’s Group, Inc. posted a 53% drop in its attributable net income in the third quarter amid increased expenses.

In a regulatory filing on Wednesday, the company said its attributable net income fell to P68.35 million compared with P145.74 million last year due to higher expenses.

The company’s third-quarter revenues improved 4.3% to P2.91 billion from P2.79 billion last year.

Meanwhile, Max’s Group logged a 26% decline in its nine-month attributable net income to P313.72 million from P426.41 million led by increases in food and packaging costs, cost of labor, rent, and store-related expenses “that were instrumental in reinforcing the customer dining experience.”

The company said its revenues rose 13% to P8.8 billion while systemwide sales improved 10% to P13.8 billion. 

“The solid performance is owed to the group’s dedication to provide great food and great service to its growing base of customers. Max’s Restaurant and Pancake House are on track in rebounding from a challenging past three years as they capitalize on the growing market appetite for eating out,” it said.

“Meanwhile, Yellow Cab Pizza Co. and Krispy Kreme continue to be the group’s stalwarts in the off-premise channels, while [Max’s Group] international arm sustains its growing contribution with strong operations in the group’s operations in the rest of Asia, North America, and the Middle East,” it added.

Max’s Group President and Chief Executive Officer Robert F. Trota said that the company is confident that its brands will remain relevant in “today’s consumer.”

“Our reinvigorated efforts to provide customers with fresh experiences through product and retail innovations make us optimistic as the dine-in segment in particular gets a boost with the expected higher consumer spending in anticipation of the holiday season, the declining unemployment rate, and the overall trajectory of household consumption expenditure,” Mr. Trota said.

“These results underscore our steady growth rate notwithstanding the effects of challenging market conditions, and our teams are ready to channel this momentum into the Christmas season, priming us for a strong finish to cap the year,” he added.

As of the third quarter, Max’s Group store network covers 14 territories, with 591 Philippine branches and 66 stores across North America, the Middle East, and Asia.

Its shares at the local bourse fell six centavos or 1.55% to P3.80 apiece. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

PSE income improves nearly 20% Wed, 15 Nov 2023 16:07:28 +0000 LOCAL stock market operator The Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. (PSE) logged an increase of nearly 20% in its nine-month net income amid higher investment income.

“The PSE realized a net income after tax of P575.65 million, 19.9% higher from P480.07 million in the same period last year, on account of higher investment income,” PSE said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

It said investment income rose 210.7% to P128.76 million while its operating income dropped 19.8% to P545.38 million.

PSE’s operating revenues dropped 8.7% to P1.1 billion, of which 39.8% came from listing-related activities, and 30.7% from trading-related activities.

Other revenues such as certifications and product training contributed 12.7%, while market data and technology made up 11.5% and 5.3%, respectively.

Listing revenues fell 19.2% to P438.47 million from P542.73 million led by the 29.4% drop in initial listing fees as there were only three initial public offerings (IPOs) as of end-September.

For its nine-month performance, the PSE said P91.88 billion in capital was raised. Of the total, 58.4% came from follow-on offerings, 21.9% from private placement, 15% from stock rights offerings, and 4.7% from IPO.

Trading-related revenues during the nine-month period fell 8.8% to P338.25 million from P370.91 million as total value turnover fell 8.8% to P1.21 trillion as of end-September.

“Retail investors comprised 19.03% of total market transactions, lower compared to the 20.89% recorded in 2022. Meanwhile, percentage of foreign trading was steady at about 43% of total value of trades,” PSE said.

Market data revenues fell 16.1% to P126.49 million from P150.75 million last year while revenues from technology platform subscriptions rose 105.2% to P57.81 million.

“The increase in subscription revenue was on account of the implemented fee adjustments for the use of PSE’s front-end system,” the market operator said.

PSE shares at the local bourse closed unchanged at P170 apiece on Wednesday. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

PAL expands flight, signs codeshare deal with Singapore Airlines Wed, 15 Nov 2023 16:06:27 +0000 FLAG CARRIER Philippine Airlines (PAL) has expanded its codeshare partnership with Singapore Airlines (SIA), increasing flight options between their respective countries and adding more international destinations.

“The partnership is the product of a strengthened relationship with our fellow ASEAN mainline carrier, Singapore Airlines, and an enduring commitment to expanding our presence in Singapore,” Stanley K. Ng, president and chief operating officer of PAL, said in a media release.

The codeshare agreement, PAL said, will start by the fourth quarter of this year after regulatory approvals.

SIA will also codeshare PAL’s flights from Manila to 27 destinations in the Philippines, PAL said, adding that it will codeshare six flights of SIA in Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Milan, Paris, Rome, and Zurich.

“This agreement enables Philippine Airlines and Singapore Airlines to work more closely together, and find ways to offer our customers enhanced travel connections between Singapore and the Philippines,” said Goh Choon Phong, chief executive officer of SIA.

This collaboration between the two airlines will also support the growing demand for travel both in the Philippines and Singapore, he said.

PAL said the European codeshare sectors will be launched across its sales channels, as well as SIA’s in the coming weeks.

It added that the codeshare services to Copenhagen and Milan are the first air link to Denmark’s capital and Italy’s commercial hub. — Ashley Erika O. Jose