business

Sharp better solutions for a better life 2

December 4, 2019

With the continuous evolution of technology and the significant role it plays in the everyday lives of people, Sharp Philippines Corporation (SPC) continues to introduce products that aim to incorporate ease and convenience into the Filipino household. SPC’s products are categorized into four sections, or what they refer to as Solutions – that seek to address the needs of consumers. These are: Entertainment Solution, Clean & Comfort Solution, Health & Beauty Solution and Business Solution. Products highlighted last November 28, 2019 at The Madison Events Place complement those that were launched earlier in July. Though SHARP’s global direction is to bring in the latest products with 8K and AIoT technology, the company also devotes its resources in coming up with items packed with technologies that enables efficiency, provides comfort and promotes good health.  The audience was treated to a visual display as well as live demonstrations conducted by their corresponding Product Specialists, showcasing the features and capability of the items.   Entertainment Solution Having introduced the AQUOS 8K LED TV for the Filipino market last July, SHARP now presents its Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) series of Full HD and 4K HDR Android Televisions. Eligible Android TVs are Google Assistant ready, enabling users to interact with their devices and perform tasks such as playing music/videos, searching for the latest news among others, all hands-free. The new line of Android TVs comes with features such as Comfort Mode, a special AV Mode that reduces 50% of blue light. It also has an Advanced Bluetooth version, which allows users to connect the television to their external Bluetooth speakers.  Have your own personal cinematic sound system with the AQUOS Sound Partner AN-SX7A. It is compatible with a wide variety of devices and is extremely portable; resting comfortably on ones shoulders. The Acoustic Vibration System provides powerful sound and heavy bass, ensuring an immersive audio-visual experience that is perfect for when you are playing video games or enjoying the latest shows on Netflix.  Clean & Comfort  Solution      Personal hygiene is an important aspect in a Filipino’s life. Apart from ensuring the cleanliness of our own being, we want this to be reflected in our homes as well; a place considered as a sanctuary for individuals and families alike.      SPC has your well-being in mind; that is why they develop products that help achieve and maintain a fresh, comfortable environment. These are: Washing Machines, Ractive Air Vacuum Cleaner, Mite Catcher, Air-conditioner with AIoT J-Tech Inverter Technology and Air Purifier/Cleaner equipped with SHARP’s original Plasmacluster Ion Technology.      The application or use of these products are not only limited to homes, as they can also be utilized in venues such as offices, schools, hospitals and other establishments with high population densities; sure to benefit its occupants.  Health & Beauty  Solution      We try to keep ourselves healthy through proper exercise and appropriate diet. This also reflects on the food that we consume and how it is cooked. With SHARP’s Healsio Hotcook, healthy cooking is made possible as the natural moisture and original flavor from ingredients together with its nutritional values are retained, compared to conventional cooking. Dishes are hassle-free; with automatic control and various cooking programs depending on your menu, just place all the necessary ingredients and wait until it is finished. Voila! Your meal is now ready to be served.      Looking good is also tantamount to feeling good. When we exert even the littlest effort in fixing ourselves up, be it reporting to work every day or attending an event, we feel much more confident in facing the world. Beauty appliances for women, such as the Hair Dryer, Hair Iron and Curling Ion with Plasmacluster feature lessens dirt and prevents hair damage. The Scalp Massager on the other hand, reduces dry scalp and keeps our hair healthy. Business Solution      Understanding the needs of businesses, SHARP also has dedicated products that cater to the corporate sector through their dynamic displays that project clear and beautiful images for application as digital signages or for business meetings via the internet.      SHARP has also acquired and further developed the Dynabook Laptop, designed for business professionals and workplace environments. Combining their technologies (displays, sensors etc.) with that of Toshiba, they seek to produce market-leading computers and other devices. The Dynabook features a thin design with long-lasting battery and is rated with MIL-STD-810G for utmost durability.        Committed to quality and innovation, SHARP will continue to develop products that will bring Better Solutions for a Better Life to consumers.

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DOF won’t withdraw pending ‘sin’ tax bill

November 25, 2019

THE Department of Finance (DOF) will not withdraw its proposal seeking to increase “sin” taxes on alternative tobacco products despite President Duterte’s pronouncement banning the public use and importation of vapes and electronic cigarettes.      Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that legislative deliberation on proposed higher excise taxes on e-cigarettes and vape products should continue in the Senate as they await the President’s executive order (EO)on the ban.      “We are awaiting the EO on this matter from the Office of the President. In the meantime, we urge the legislature to pass the measure that is pending their approval,” Dominguez told reporters in a mobile phone message late Wednesday when asked if the DOF will still push for higher taxes on e-cigarettes and vapes.      President Duterte recently directed authorities to ban the use of vapes and e-cigarettes in public as well as their importation, saying “it is toxic, and government has the power to issue measures to protect public health and public interest.”      Last week, the Department of Health (DOH) reported the first case of e-cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury (EVALI) in Visayas.      In recent months, a spike in the number of cases of EVALI has also been seen in the United States, with over 2,000 cases reported, and 39 people having lost their lives.      Earlier, both the DOF and DOH said that it was better to regulate the use of vapes and e-cigarettes in the country than imposing a blanket ban on these products.      According to the health and finance departments, a total ban may just force vapes and e-cigarettes onto the black market, where the products would be harder to control by the government.      President Duterte had endorsed higher taxes on alternative cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, or Senate Bill No. 1074, as his urgent measure that needs to be passed by Congress before yearend and implemented beginning January 2020.      In his letter to the Senate leadership, President Duterte sought the swift passage of the bill “to address the urgent need to generate additional revenue to support the effective implementation of the Universal Health Care Act and to further protect the right to health of the people.”      SB-1074 aims to align the tax rate of heated tobacco and vape with traditional cigarettes at P45 beginning next year, P50 in 2021, P55 in 2022, and P60 in 2023, with five percent annual increases onwards.      The proposed bill also covers alcoholic beverages, which once passed into law will increase the tax on distilled spirits from P23.5 to P90 per proof liter with a 20 percent ad valorem tax beginning next year.      Meanwhile, fermented liquors and alcopops would be taxed at P45 per liter, up from P25.4. Finally, a specific tax of P600 would be imposed on sparkling wines, while a specific tax of P43 would be imposed on still and carbonated wines beginning 2020.      The DOF expects SB-1074 to raise at least P47.9 billion in incremental revenue for its first year of implementation.

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Vista Land, Mitsubishi Estate form joint venture

November 22, 2019

VISTA Land & Lifescapes, Inc. (VLL) has teamed with Japanese real estate developer Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd (MEC) to develop a mixed-use, high-rise condominium along Taft Avenue, Manila.      The partnership is being formed through a 60:40 joint venture company between VLL’s vertical development arm Vista Residences, Inc. (VRI) and MEC’s subsidiary Mitsubishi Estate Residence Co., Ltd. (MER).      VLL President and Chief Executive Officer Manuel Paolo Villar said “This joint venture is a testament to the increasing trust and confidence of customers and investors alike in Vista. It highlights our growing profile not just with buyers but also with existing and potential partners, both here and abroad.”      This will be the MEC Group’s first residential development project in the Philippines.      “We are confident that this collaboration shall bring about a skillfully engineered and beautifully designed tower at the heart of the university cluster in Taft, and we hope to explore more opportunities with Vista Land to develop the rich potential of the real estate industry in Asia. We believe this joint venture is only the beginning, paving the way for a long-term and fruitful partnership,” MER Director and Senior Managing Executive Officer Yutaro Yotsuzuka said.      VLL is a recognized authority in homebuilding and community development with established presence all over the Philippines, while the MEC Group boasts of a diversified portfolio that has expanded to international markets including the US, UK, Australia, and other countries in Asia.      This joint venture is an opportunity for both companies to combine their architectural, engineering, and technological expertise for a project that will address the rising demand of the student population in Taft.      The condominium offers over 1,000 residential units spanning 32 stories, plus seven floors of parking spaces and one ground floor featuring various commercial establishments.      It is set to be launched in the first half of 2020, with turnover targeted in the second half of 2024. (PR)

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Del Monte unit starts selling US facilities

November 22, 2019

DEL MONTE Pacific Ltd. said its US subsidiary is improving its capacity utilization, as it has sold or in the process of selling assets of four US-based production facilities.      The listed canned fruit manufacturer told the stock exchange yesterday US subsidiary Del Monte Foods, Inc. (DMFI) sold and transferred its Cambria, Wisconsin operations to Seneca Foods Corp. on Nov. 1.      It also disposed of equipment at its Crystal City, Texas facility and is looking at selling the remaining assets of the factory.      For its facilities in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota and Mendota, Illinois, DMFI already signed a sale agreement and is targeting to complete the deal by the fourth quarter of its fiscal year, or within February to April next year.      “Production at rationalized facilities is being transitioned to other DMFI production facilities in the United States as well as to strategic co-packers. These divestitures will enable DMFI to significantly improve capacity utilization at the remaining plants in its production network,” it said.      Del Monte Pacific announced in August it is divesting these facilities as a way to reduce costs.      Through the initiative, the company said it expects its EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) margins to increase by about 225-275 basis points (about $50–60 million) over the next two years.      DMFI said it is now on-track to exceed its EBITDA targets for the full-year ending April 2020.      Savings from its cost cutting efforts will be used to expand the company’s brands as it said it wants to ride on the current consumer appetite for “convenient, healthy and tasty plant-based foods.”      Aside from operational changes, Del Monte Pacific said it is currently exploring refinancing the approximately $1.4 billion loan of DMFI. This includes a $442.5-million asset-based loan facility, a $670-million first lien term loan and a $260-million second lien term loan, which are due to expire on Nov. 2020, Feb. 2021 and Aug. 2021, respectively.      “The group has continued to support the capital structure requirements and deleveraging efforts of DMFI, including the purchase, over the last 20 months, of approximately $231 million of DMFI’s second lien term loan,” it said.      Del Monte Pacific posted a net loss of $38.3 million in the first quarter ending July, a turnaround from the net income of $3 million last year, due to one-off expenses from the disposal of its assets in its Crystal City, Texas facility.

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NGCP plans to invest up to P463 billion in next 10 years

November 22, 2019

PRIVATELY owned National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) targets to invest up to P463 billion in the next 10 years to improve the country’s power transmission backbone, it said on Wednesday to mark the 10th year of its franchise.      “Our projects, which will be worth P188 billion by end of 2019, and those in the pipeline, are meticulously planned by our engineers and updated year after year with careful consideration for the needs of every single area in the country,” the company said in a statement.      It said the projects in the pipeline, which include alternative transmission corridors and the development of resiliency policies for power transmission facilities, are detailed in its transmission development plan.      NGCP, which holds a 50-year franchise that started in 2009, said it is on-track to complete the Mindanao-Visayas interconnection project (MVIP), which is considered as the largest energy infrastructure in the history of the country. It previously placed its investment in the project at P52 billion.      “We are dedicated to completing the MVIP by December 2020 not only because we committed this, but also because interconnection among the three main grids is long overdue,” it said.      “The interconnection of Visayas and Mindanao was first proposed by government in 1984; but it was private entity NGCP which brought the government’s decades old plan from the feasibility stage to the implementation and completion stage,” it added.      In the coming years, the company said it is set to complete more projects, including the 500-kilovolt (kV) substation projects in Taguig and Marilao; and the 230-kV substation projects in Pasay, Navotas, and Antipolo. These substations will cater to the load growth of Metro Manila. NGCP is also set to complete the Cebu-Bohol 230-kV interconnection project that will accommodate the load growth and provide reliability of Bohol Island; and the Nabas-Caticlan-Boracay interconnection project that will cover the load growth and provide reliability of the Boracay Island. It is also committed to finish the Visayas voltage improvement project to boost the power quality in the area.      In Mindanao, it is targeting to complete the 230-kV backbone project that will upgrade the southern region’s transmission capacity and secure the reliability of power transmission services in the area. It is also upgrading the island’s substation to increase the capacity and improve power quality. The 138-kV Kabacan substation project is expected to help in ensuring power reliability in south western Mindanao.      NGCP, led by majority shareholders Henry T. Sy, Jr. and Robert G. Coyiuto, Jr., said it strives to become the strongest power grid in Southeast Asia and has so far invested P151 billion in the government’s aging transmission system.      “A total of 5,626 transmission structures, 2,472 circuit-kilometers of transmission lines, 18 new substations, 63 upgraded substations, and an additional 15,634 MVA (megavolt ampere) of transformer capacity has been installed in the past 10 years,” it said.

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BPI targets 20% growth in sustainable loans in 2020

November 22, 2019

THE Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) is targeting a 20% growth in its sustainable loan portfolio by next year.      On the sidelines of a company event on Friday evening, BPI President and CEO Cezar P. Consing said the bank is looking to grow its sustainable loan book, which currently accounts for 10% of the total loan portfolio.      “What we’re trying is to improve our ratio… 10% of our loan book is sustainable and our renewable to non-renewable (ratio) is 50-50%, more or less. That 10% has to grow and the 50-50 has to overtime swing in favor of renewables but this takes time,” Mr. Consing told reporters.      BPI Head of Corporate Credit Junie Veloso said that the Ayala-led bank is targeting to increase its P130-billion sustainable financing portfolio by 20% next year.      “For the renewable energy and sustainable portfolio, it’s P100-P150 billion. Our target is to grow that by 20% next year. This is a long-term vision. Moving forward, we want to become more sustainable by pushing for sustainable financing,” Mr. Veloso said on the sidelines of the bank’s Sustainable Development Finance launch on Friday.      The bank’s Sustainable Energy Finance (SEF) portfolio has cumulative availed loans of over P130 billion as of June, majority of which or 63% are classified as renewable energy, while the remaining fall under energy efficiency (21%) and climate resilience (16%), according to Jo Ann B. Eala, head of sustainable development finance at BPI.      “We have a total of 330 projects funded already, almost half of that goes to energy efficiency, which refers to projects that bring down electricity consumption. You bring down electricity consumption and increase efficiency first, before you go to the sexier renewables,” Ms. Eala said during the same event.      However, Mr. Veloso said the bank’s funding has always been available but there is a lack of eligible projects.      “Our problem is less our desire to grow it but the availability of financeable projects. Capacity (of renewables) are smaller as compared to fossils like coal plants which are much bigger. Hopefully we can find those small ones so we can hit our growth target… Typically, when we say renewables, malaki na ang 50 megawatts for a single project (50 megawatts is relatively big),” he explained.      “Remember, we can only lend to projects that are there, the projects have to be there. If not, there’s nothing that we can do. It takes a while to develop them to the point that they are financeable,” Mr. Consing said.      While the bank is boosting its support to renewable energy, BPI Head of Corporate Banking John C. Syquia said that the bank is also pushing for energy conservation, arguing that “even if it were clean energy, you also want to use less of it”.      In September, the lender raised $300 million in ASEAN green bonds, a drawdown from it medium-term note (MTN) program to finance eligible projects under its Green Finance Framework.      BPI’s Green Finance Framework was launched in June, providing guidelines for any green bonds or loans issued by the bank, including the evaluation and selection of eligible projects, management of proceeds, and reporting, among others.      The Ayala-led bank’s net income stood at P22.03 billion in the first nine months of the year, 29.5% higher than the P17.01 billion posted a year ago.

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