business

Emperador’s global presence continues to expand across North America, Europe and China

October 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines - Emperador Inc. – the world’s largest brandy company owning the iconic Emperador Brandy and Fundador Spanish Brandy de Jerez – continues its aggressive growth across North America and Europe during the first nine months of the year even as the global pandemic adversely hit most countries in these continents.       Fundador, Tres Cepas, and Emperador brands have been growing consistently, particularly in the United States, Canada, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and Greater China. In Spain, brands owned and produced under Grupo Emperador España S.A. continue to dominate the brandy market with 40% market share.      Fundador has been particularly showing spectacular performance even in North America. In the United States alone, Fundador achieved 23% growth during the first nine months of the year. In Canada, sales have also tripled during the first nine months as Fundador Light has been made available in Alberta, Canada as a new expression this year. The new Fundador Double Light was also rolled out across the US.       Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, Fundador grew 185% during the first nine months, while in Italy, it recorded 15% growth during the same period. Emperador’s brandy performance, on the other hand, achieved 8% growth in Mexico during this period.      “We are glad that the company was able to deliver solid performance in the first nine months of 2020 on the strength of its international business that we have developed in the past five years.  The highest international growth comes from China, which is expected to more than double from last year, which will be driven by the premium single malt brands and brandy.  We are confident that this will pave the way for further growth in the future for Emperador,” says Glenn Manlapaz, chief executive officer, Emperador International.      As international sales of its brandy and whisky products in various markets around the world, Emperador recorded 11% growth in its net income to P5.9-billion during the first nine months of the year while third quarter earnings achieved 26% record growth to P2.5-billion as overseas demand for its products surged amid the global pandemic.       “The success of our international expansion boosted company earnings, bringing stability and growth at a time when the Philippines wrestles with the impact of the coronavirus.  Emperador’s global business saw double-digit growth as it adapted well to new consumption trends,” says Winston Co, president, Emperador Inc.      Emperador Inc., which owns Emperador Distillers, Inc., Scotch whisky maker Whyte and Mackay Group, and Bodegas Fundador in Spain, has brandy and whisky brands that are available in more than 100 countries around the world.

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SHELL’S 2ND VIRTUAL ART INTERACT SPOTLIGHTS MINDANAO | Creating stories of hope in isolation

October 20, 2020

Mindanao is hailed for its abundant natural resources and breathtaking landscapes. But beyond its pristine beaches and lush mountains is a burgeoning community of creatives who are injecting their unique Mindanaoan identity into art and using it as a force for good. As the country continues to grapple with COVID-19, Mindanaoan artists are stepping up to create stories of hope while in isolation. Following the theme of “HOPE IN OUR ART,” Pilipinas Shell’s 53rd National Students Art Competition (NSAC) held the second leg of Virtual Art Interact last October 17, in collaboration with creative collective Fringe Manila. Virtual Art Interact is also a platform where creatives can share their insights about their profession for the next generation. While the pilot event focused on the Luzon art scene, this recent forum put the spotlight on the growing community of creators in Mindanao. Since NSAC’s inception, Shell has acknowledged the vital role of visual artists, illustrators, sculptors, and other imaginative talents in shaping the youth and country’s future—especially now. “Through NSAC, we pledge our support to keep artists and art institutions alive. We want to amplify the youth’s voices, and continue the conversation on art’s importance,” said Sankie Simbulan, Country Social Performance and Investment Manager of Pilipinas Shell.  Simbulan continued, “The ethnic and cultural diversity of Mindanao and its rich history have given birth to a young generation of artists whose voices need to spread and be heard throughout the Philippines.”  Andrei Pamintuan, Creative Director of Fringe Manila and host of Virtual Art Interact, added, “This is a great opportunity to share stories from Mindanao. It’s important to be inclusive, especially for platforms like this, so that we can showcase the diversity of what’s happening in the Philippines.” Having survived many conflicts and calamities, Mindanao has proven itself to be a region of resilience—with artists at the helm of inspiring hope that propels the community forward.  Through his projects with Mindanao local governments, Zabala has been championing a fresh perspective of the region that does not let its past define its future. “At work, our goal is to recreate Mindanao’s image using art. For example, we created a campaign called ‘Zoom in Zamboanga City’ that is inspired by our rich history, nature, tourist spots, native patterns, and more,” Zabala explained. Being no strangers to crises, Zabala and fellow Mindaoan artists immediately heeded the call to once again inspire hope and courage as COVID struck the country. He shared, “The pandemic is a challenge for everyone. People have lost jobs, families have gone hungry, and mental health is affected. As public servants and artists, our work should never stop. We have since created several campaigns that promote generosity and kindness in the community.” Zabala, who did a live demonstration of digital illustration during the event, also discussed the many themes present in today’s art. “There are so many stories now about struggles and difficulties, both personal and in our country [Ang daming stories ngayon tungkol sa struggle]. As creatives, we use art to express our emotions and what we are going through.”  Zabala also pointed out one essential, if often overlooked, role that artists perform during crisis: “We also act as historians who visually piece together this moment in time—including all the contemplation and uncertainty it holds. When we look back on this period someday, art will help us make sense of it.” Isko Andrade, a former contestant and three-time winner of the NSAC, shared how he overcame the more discouraging moments during the pandemic. “COVID-19 has affected my career as an artist because of cancelled shows and exhibits, but I choose not to dwell on the negative side [Maraming nag-iba since nagka-COVID. Na-affect yung career ko as an artist kasi madaming cancelled shows at exhibits, pero di lang ako tumitingin sa mga negative].  “‘The pandemic has given me time to focus on myself, my craft, and taught me to appreciate and find inspiration in everything—whether they’re big or small [Pero ngayong pandemic, nakafocus ako sa sarili ko at sa art ko. Na-appreciate ko din ang bawat bagay, maliit man o malaki].” The Bulacan-based Andrade looked back on how opportunities presented themselves to him in the middle of adversity. One such door was his win during the NSAC competition in 2014. His winning oil on canvas piece, entitled ‘Ipinagkakait na Kalayaan,’ was in itself an example of triumph over adversity:  this life-changing canvas depicts paintbrushes ready to be buried, and was inspired by the death of his mother and the pains that come from being part of a broken family.  He said, “As a young student artist from the province, I had simple dreams of finishing college and getting a normal job. I didn’t think I could ever win NSAC, but it was such a big help for me and my family. I was able to pursue my art, and I learned to dream bigger. [Dati, pangarap ko lang sa probinsya ay makatapos ng pag-aaral at kumuha ng trabaho. Nakakatuwa dahil di ko akalain na mananalo ako sa NSAC. Sobrang laking tulong ng NSAC. Nakatapos ako ng pag-aaral at natuto akong mangarap ng higit sa pangarap ko.]” Zabala concurred that creative platforms such as NSAC are bringers of hope that can keep communities alive during the most difficult times. He said, “Art is a great tool for healing. It’s cathartic. We can use it to give people something to hold on to as they live through the pandemic.” Simbulan reminded the audience to remember and explore its rich heritage to mine stories for encouragement. She said, “As Filipinos, we have a wealth of culture and creativity that can act as reservoirs of hope and fuel for economic recovery. We can all learn a thing or two from artists—how to create more with less, how to discover new perspectives in the mundane, and how to find the silver lining amid this isolation..” The next and final leg of Shell Virtual Art Interact is set to happen on November 7 and will focus on the Visayas region. Meanwhile, the awarding of the NSAC, which currently has 1,300 entries, will take place on November 27. For more information, keep posted on Shell Philippines’ website and social media accounts.  Website: www.shell.com.ph Facebook: Shell

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SHARP PLASMACLUSTER ION TECHNOLOGY REACHES 90MILLION IN SALES GLOBALLY AND RELEASES NEW STUDIES IN REDUCING AIRBORNE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (SARS-CoV-2)

October 7, 2020

Sharp Philippines Corporation (SPC), with its goal of bringing convenience, protection, and lifestyle evolution to every Filipino household, recently launched its campaign “Stay Home, Stay Sharp”. It features products that are designed for the new normal setting — and one of its key features is Sharp's exclusive technology, the Plasmacluster Ion (PCI) Technology. In this time of global health crisis, this is SHARP’s way of keeping our homes free from viruses and bacteria. The Plasmacluster Ion Technology Sharp’s revolutionary technology, the Plasmacluster Ion (PCI) Technology will help Filipino households achieve a safe sanctuary. It has been proven to be effective against suspended airborne viruses and microbes that contaminate our air, leaving it cleaner and healthier.  This exclusive technology is a unique air purifying solution to eliminate disease-causing bacteria and viruses from poor air quality and it has been proven safe to humans regardless of the amount of ion concentration released in the air. The Plasmacluster Ions, which are the same type of positive and negative ions that is present in nature, come in contact with the airborne threats in the air, undergoing chemical reactions on their surfaces to form OH radicals. These OH radicals decompose the proteins on the surface membrane of the airborne threats by taking the hydrogen. Without protein, the airborne threats are disabled and in effect, deactivated. The hydrogen then combines with OH radicals, and together they transform to water which is released into the air. Tested by Over 30 Institutions and Organizations  Since 2000, Sharp is developing and improving Plasmacluster Ion Technology and with collaboration with over thirty (30) independent third-party research institutions and organizations across the globe, Sharp has been continuously promoting academic marketing to demonstrate the effectiveness of its Plasmacluster Ion Technology. In fact, there are numerous independent research organizations that have proven its clinical efficacy in suppressing the activity of harmful substances including influenza viruses, drug-resistant bacteria, and mite allergens, as well as in reducing bronchial inflammation levels in children with asthma. Above all, product safety, which is one of the biggest concerns of consumers before buying a product, has also been confirmed through research and studies. Rest assured, Sharp will continue to contribute to society by conducting a wide range of studies demonstrating the effectiveness of Plasmacluster Ion Technology. On the effectiveness of Plasmacluster Ion Technology in Reducing Airborne Novel Coronavirus Disease (SARS-CoV-2) In recent joint research conducted with Professor Jiro Yasuda of the National Research Center for the Control and Prevention of Infectious Diseases/Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, Japan, Professor Asuka Nanbo, a Board member of the Japanese Society for Virology of the same institution, and Professor Hironori Yoshiyama of the Department of Microbiology, Shimane University Faculty of Medicine, and in cooperation with Nagasaki University, an internationally respected authority on infectious disease research, Sharp’s Plasmacluster Ion Technology was able to reduce floating novel coronavirus particles in the air, claiming it as a world first. Viruses present on the surface are much easier to eliminate with simple disinfectant,s unlike airborne viruses.    In the said study, Plasmacluster Ion Technology, which emits positive hydrogen ions and negative oxygen ions through a plasma discharge, demonstrated that the virus infectious titer was reduced by more than 90%.  A solution containing the novel coronavirus was released into a three-liter apparatus equipped with a Plasmacluster Ion device. The device discharged 10 million ions per cubic centimeter (cm3). Results claimed that the infectious titer in the retrieved solution was reduced by 91.3 percent in just 30 seconds compared with one that was not being exposed to Plasmacluster Ion. Sharp’s Corporation Masahiro Okitsu, Senior Executive Managing Officer, Smart Appliance, and Business Solution assured that the brand will continue to provide effective solutions in lowering the risk of infection. “Based on the result of this experiment, we will consider and provide effective uses of the Plasmacluster Ion Technology to mitigate the risk of coronavirus infection.” 90 Million Sales Mark Globally Currently, Sharp equips their appliances with Plasmacluster Ion (PCI) Technology to make them suitable for your home’s needs in this new normal. These are the appliances for cleaner and safer air: Refrigerators, Air Conditioner, Air Purifier (with mosquito catcher, with humidifier, with dehumidifier), Ion Generator, and Mite Catcher. In fact, the brand is now working to incorporate this technology to their Electric Fan products for the local market and it will be launched soon. As of April 2020, Sharp announced that it has reached the 90 million sales mark of products equipped with the Plasmacluster Ion Technology through its collaborations with different global businesses and industries such as hotels, hospitals, health clinics, restaurants, trains, vehicles, offices, banks, schools, training center, and supermarkets to name a few. Sharp will continue to expand the application of Plasmacluster Ion (PCI) Technology on its current industrial field of expertise and will seek new ways to apply it to other fields especially on medical devices.

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Heated tobacco products will benefit public health

August 23, 2020

THE US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization for IQOS to be marketed as a modified risk tobacco product is aligned with the claims of a leading tobacco harm reduction expert that the introduction of heated tobacco products (HTPs) as better alternatives to conventional cigarette will see public health gains. Helen Redmond, adjunct professor at New York University-Silver School of Social Work, said the introduction of HTPs or heat-not-burn (HNB) tobacco products will benefit public health. She noted that there is a widespread, mistaken notion that nicotine causes cancer and other health problems. “That is false,” the professor said. “The use of nicotine is no threat, because nicotine is not the problem. Combustible tobacco is … What causes health problems is lighting tobacco on fire. The combustion releases thousands of toxic chemicals.”  The US FDA, in its recent issuance, concluded that the commercialization of IQOS in the US, a heated tobacco product, developed by Philip Morris International, is “appropriate to promote the public health.” “The availability of IQOS is an incredibly important development for the millions of Americans who continue to smoke and who suffer almost half a million preventable deaths each year,” Redmond said. It has been known for decades that tar, and carcinogens found in tobacco smoke, causes the death and disease associated with smoking, and not nicotine.  HTPs are smoke-free devices that heat, instead of burn specially-designed tobacco units to release a flavorful nicotine-containing tobacco vapor. The most popular HTP brand today is IQOS—an electronic device that heats tobacco-filled sticks wrapped in paper to generate a nicotine-containing aerosol.   “Several tobacco companies have developed HNB products like IQOS from Philip Morris and Glo Pro and Glo Nano from British American Tobacco. The technology is constantly evolving and becoming more user-friendly,” Redmond said. A recent study by Dutch researchers entitled, “A Method for Comparing the Impact on Carcinogenicity of Tobacco Products: A Case Study on Heated Tobacco Versus Cigarettes” assessed eight carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) to understand the likely health impact on individuals who switch to IQOS, compared to those who continue smoking. The researchers concluded that while not risk-free IQOS is associated with 10 to 25 times lower exposure to these carcinogens, and that this could translate into a substantially improved risk profile. The study was published on May 1, 2020 in the monthly peer-reviewed academic journal Risk Analysis. Smoke-free nicotine products include electronic cigarettes or vapes and Swedish snus. Public Health England consistently conclude in its annual reviews of all available evidence that E-cigarettes are around 95-percent less harmful than smoking.   Redmond also noted that e-cigarettes and HNB proved effective in making smokers switch since they offer the same pleasure, rituals and relaxation associated with smoking. The UK's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) concluded in its February 2019 clinical trials that e-cigarette was twice as effective as nicotine replacement treatments such as patches and gum in helping smokers quit. “E-cigarettes and HNB products make nicotine consumption much safer. In that, they are similar to patches or gums. The crucial difference is they look and feel like cigarettes, replicating the rituals and the enjoyment of smoking for people who switch from combustible tobacco—and therefore reducing the risk of relapse,” said Redmond. Redmond cited the case of Japan where nearly a third of smokers have already switched to HNBs. “HNB products have been available in Japan since 2014. The result—cigarette sales in the country have plummeted, outstripping anything abstinence-only messages have achieved” she said.

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PMI releases first Integrated Report on performance and headways in its smoke-free future vision

July 6, 2020

Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) has published its first Integrated Report, a comprehensive overview of the company’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance and its progress toward delivering a smoke-free future—including the company’s ambition to switch more than 40 million adult smokers to its smoke-free products by 2025.  PMI said its Integrated Report 2019 demonstrates the role of the organization's strategy, governance, and performance in the creation of value over the short, medium, and long terms. The report further shows PMI’s approach and important progress in various ESG areas, while setting new and ambitious targets for 2025 that complement the company’s prior aspirations.  “Clarity of purpose is essential for the internal alignment of any company. Since we announced our smoke-free commitment in 2016, we have made enormous progress in terms of organizational capabilities, the integration of sustainability into every aspect of our transformation, and our business,” said André Calantzopoulos, PMI Chief Executive Officer. “PMI’s Statement of Purpose reaffirms our commitment to deliver a smoke-free future for the benefit of people who would otherwise continue to smoke and, hence, to global public health. It is clear to all of us at PMI that the biggest positive impact our company can have on society is to replace cigarettes with less harmful alternatives; this is at the very core of our corporate strategy and sits atop our sustainability priorities while we are progressing well on all others,” Calantzopoulos added.  The report cited PMI’s Philippine affiliate, PMFTC Inc., for its strong commitment to the development and growth of local communities. In particular, the company’s corporate social responsibility program Embrace, which involves charitable giving, social contributions and community investments that focused on access to education, women empowerment, economic opportunity, and most especially disaster preparedness and relief efforts. “As a leader in the tobacco industry and a top taxpayer in the Philippines, PMFTC has a responsible role to play in spurring economic development, empowering communities and sustaining our environment,” PMFTC President Denis Gorkun said. “We are proud of our company’s caring and giving culture. We are equally proud of our employees who champion the values of social responsibility as can be most recently seen in our societal response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gorkun added. In the report, PMFTC was cited as being in the forefront in providing relief assistance during disasters like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons and floods. More than 25,000 individuals received help in the past earthquake incidences in Batanes and Mindanao; and another 7,384 families benefited from relief items during the Taal volcano eruption in January this year. In these community efforts, “PMFTC employees were at the core of relief operations.” mentioning the company employees “spirit of volunteerism and compassion for the community.”   On top of helping communities, PMFTC has placed the safety and protection of its own employees a priority. Some 150 displaced employees were provided immediate assistance in the recent Taal volcano eruption. The Integrated Report 2019 also demonstrates how PMI is focusing its resources on developing, scientifically substantiating, and responsibly commercializing smoke-free products that are a better choice than continued smoking, with the aim of completely replacing cigarettes as soon as possible. The company believes that, with the right regulatory encouragement and support from civil society, cigarette sales can end within 10 to 15 years in many countries.  It also highlights the company’s most material sustainability topics, including the health impacts of the company’s products, an aspect often not captured by external ESG assessments.  The report focuses on this key area, and describes how the company is working to reduce the harm caused by tobacco use by replacing combustible products with scientifically substantiated reduced-risk alternatives.  From the previous sustainability reporting, PMI’s evolution to integrated reporting helps investors make the connection between the product-focused sustainability initiatives, which form the core of the ESG strategy, and the financial performance over time. The report also enables the company’s stakeholders to better evaluate the company’s progress in achieving its purpose. PMI’s Statement of Purpose, adopted by the company’s Board of Directors earlier this year and published in its 2020 proxy statement, is also available in the Integrated Report.

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Aboitiz bats for more infrastructure spend

May 18, 2020

ABOITIZ InfraCapital has urged for increase in infrastructure spending, whether funded by government or private sector, saying infrastructure will rebuild the battered domestic economy.     Cosette V. Canilao, Aboitiz InfraCapital President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said that Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), in particular, can help fill in gaps brought about by funding reallocations amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.     “We understand that the government earmarked funding from other programs, including infrastructure projects, to address the COVID-19 impact. The private sector through PPP, could take up the void that the reallocation from infrastructure projects has created,” Canilao explained.     For Aboitiz InfraCapital’s common tower project, discussions with partners Globe Telecom, Smart Telecom, and Dito Telecommunity on the first batch of towers are still ongoing.     “The current crisis has clearly proven the urgent need for digital infrastructure to support better telecommunication services, and the Aboitiz Group is ready to provide this through our common tower project,” she noted.     On-the-ground activities such as site surveys and site acquisitions are expected to resume once the Luzon and local ECQs are lifted.     Aboitiz InfraCapital also said it is ready to resume discussions with the government for its airport bids (Bohol-Panglao International Airport, Laguindingan Airport, and Ninoy Aquino International Airport [NAIA] as part of the NAIA Consortium), post-ECQ.     “We remain keen on the airport projects as we believe that these are vital in reviving the economy. As with all of the Aboitiz Group’s projects and businesses, we are as¬sessing COVID-19’s impact on our proposals,” Canilao noted.     The government and the private sector need to work more closely together in putting in place programs that would revive the travel and tourism industry, as it is one of the hardest-hit sectors in light of the current COVID-19 crisis.     Aboitiz InfraCapital is also open to discussing with the government its unsolicited proposal along with the Ayala Group and Unisys, for a National Identification Card (ID) system previously submitted to the PSA in 2018. The urgent need for a National ID system became even more ap¬parent under the present conditions to help hasten COVID-19 aid distribution.

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