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Holcim to help UN Habitat, TESDA in Marawi rebuild project

September 16, 2019

Leading cement maker Holcim Philippines, Inc. will support a project by the United Nations Human Settlement Program (UN Habitat) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to build new homes for 1,500 families displaced by the conflict in Marawi.       Holcim Vice President for Communications Cara Ramirez shared during the 7th Annual Asia-Pacific Housing Forum organized by Habitat for HumanityPhilippines on July 31 that the company is set to fund masonry training for 300 beneficiaries.      UN Habitat will be responsible for recruiting the beneficiaries from among the residents of identified resettlement sites and coordinating logistics for the project. The TESDA, through its Regional Training Center inIliganCity, will administer the masonry course and certify as skilled workers those who pass.      Ramirez said the partnership with UN Habitat and TESDA is in line with the company’s corporate citizenship campaign, Holcim Helps, which tailors capacity-building support based on the needs of beneficiaries so programs are more sustainable and have a lasting positive impact.      “Holcim Helps focuses our efforts on education, livelihood, and infrastructure programs, which are designed in collaboration with our communities so we can identify the programs that are relevant to them and answers their needs,” she added.       Ramirez shared that Holcim Philippines had extended similar support to communities displaced by a natural calamity such as survivors of Typhoon Pablo in Compostella Valley in 2012 or vulnerable to one as the case of people living near the company’s Davao plant.       The support for masonry trainings were implemented through Holcim’s flagship Galing Mason program, which equips beneficiaries with skills that allow them to contribute to the rebuilding of their homes and provides them options for livelihood.       Ramirez shared these as part of her talk on the company’s efforts to contribute to addressing the deficit of quality shelters in the country.       She noted aside from providing quality cement to ensure the durability and quality of shelters being built, Holcim Philippines has also developed new products for specific applications that contribute to improving quality and reducing cost of construction.      “For example, local developers have grown to embrace masonry cement, which is better for finishing applications and more affordable than general purpose cement. While cement only accounts for roughly 10% of building costs, the savings from using the right cement can still help developers manage costs while also delivering quality shelters for their customers,” she said.      A biennial conference organized by Habitat for Humanity Philippines, the Asia-Pacific Housing Forumgathers both public and private stakeholders engaged in finding solutions for inadequate shelter issues and promoting affordable housing as a driver of economic growth. For this year’s forum, the newly formed Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development wasthe content partner.

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AirAsia PHL names new chairman

September 4, 2019

ORGANIZATIONAL changes continue for Philippines AirAsia, Inc. as the budget carrier announced over the weekend the appointment of corporate lawyer Joseph Omar A. Castillo as the new chairman of the board.      “We’re delighted to welcome Atty. Castillo as Chairman of the Board during this period of exciting growth for AirAsia,” AirAsia Group Executive Chairman Datuk Kamarudin said in a statement.      “Atty. Castillo brings a wealth of experience and strategic vision to the airline business, and we are confident that the company will continue to thrive under his leadership,” he added.      Mr. Castillo is replacing Marianne B. Hontiveros who held the post since 2014. Ms. Hontiveros was also chief executive officer and part owner of AirAsia Philippines.      The appointment of Mr. Castillo took effect yesterday. He joined the AirAsia Philippines board of directors earlier this year, and previously worked at private law firm Puyat, Jacinto & Santos (PJS) Law, where he led its transport and business process outsourcing practices and focused on labor relations, contract support, immigration and corporate fraud.      Prior to joining PJS Law, Mr. Castillo was part of Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz (ACCRA) Law Offices and the Baker McKenzie law firm. He was also vice-president for Downstream Operations of the PNOC-Exploration Corp. from 2011 to 2013.      He earned his law degree from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1997 and his bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the same university in 1993.      AirAsia Philippines also appointed a new chief executive officer, Ricardo “Ricky” P. Isla, replacing Dexter M. Comendador. Mr. Comendador was appointed chief operating officer.      Last June, the carrier likewise announced a change in ownership with the transfer of majority shares to businessman Michael L. Romero’s F&S Holdings, Inc., which now owns 44.4% of AirAsia Philippines.      Ms. Hontiveros and Zest-O Corp. Founder Alfredo M. Yao sold each of their 15.7% shares in the airline to F&S Holdings, leaving the remaining owners Antonio “Tony Boy” Conjuangco with 15.7% shares and Malaysia AirAsia International Ltd. with 39.9%.      AirAsia Philippines posted a profit of P593.07 million in the second quarter, surging 777% from last year due to a growth in passenger volume and ancillary revenues. It is aiming to swing to profit by yearend with a revenue target of P30 billion.      The budget carrier is also planning to launch an initial public offering before the end of the year.

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DoubleDragon on track to have 100 malls by 2021

September 4, 2019

DOUBLEDRAGON Properties Corp. said it is on track to have 100 malls under its portfolio by 2021, as it moves to secure all lots for the projects within the year.      “We’re still on target to have 100 malls by 2021…We have almost secured all lots, hopefully by end of this year, we’ll secure them,” DoubleDragon Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Edgar J. Sia II told reporters after the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Pasay on Friday.      Mr. Sia noted that only the construction of the malls will be completed by then, with operations to start soon after since they may experience delays with tenants.      The listed property developer is set to end the year with 51 malls, from its current network of 39.      “We’ll end this year with 51. So we’ll have to open 12 more. We build the same thing all the time, so it’s faster,” Mr. Sia said.      DoubleDragon’s mall business carries the CityMall brand, which is primarily located in second and third tier cities in the provinces. This aims to meet the demand for malls in provincial areas, while also avoiding competition from more mature players in key cities in the country.      CityMall is 66% owned by DoubleDragon. The remaining 34% is owned by Sy-led SM Investments Corp., which by itself is the country’s largest mall operator with 72 malls in the country and seven in China.      The company is counting on its commercial mall business to help boost recurring revenues by 2021, alongside its three other segments namely office leasing, industrial warehouses, and hotels.      It aims to have 1.2 million square meters (sq.m.)of leasable space across the four segments by 2020, around double its current 603,000 sq.m. This further supports its goal of hitting P10.8 billion in recurring revenues by 2021, after which the company will start declaring cash dividends worth about 30% of their net income to shareholders      This year alone, Mr. Sia said they expect to generate P4 billion in recurring revenues, and is seen to rise to P5.4 billion by 2020.      With more than one million sq.m. of leasable area under its portfolio by next year, the company is also eyeing to place its assets under a real estate investment trust (REIT) once regulators come out with the final rules.      “In the meantime, we’re just building more and maturing out leasable space. If the rules get delayed, the effect of that is we will just be able to raise higher amounts. But as soon as it’s ready, and it looks okay, we will go,” Mr. Sia said.      The company earlier said it wants to raise up to P15 billion from a REIT offering in early 2020, while its entire portfolio could potentially raise up to P59.4 billion      DoubleDragon’s net income attributable to the parent jumped 104% to P1.52 billion in the first half of 2019, after gross revenues surged 54% to P5.59 billion.

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Globe myBusiness expands reach, inks agreements with LuzViMin Business Partners

August 30, 2019

Globe myBusiness, the micro, small, and medium-size enterprise arm of Globe, expands its reach in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao as it signs separate partnership deals with 17 telecom resellers.      The retailers will now serve as accredited partners of Globe myBusiness and will act as the brand’s representative in various areas in the country where the Globe Store is not present. They will carry the different business solutions being offered by Globe myBusiness to MSMEs.      “We would like to celebrate our partnership with these resellers which we believe is key in further reaching out to MSMEs.  Together, we can accomplish great things and help our customers through their digital transformation,” said Cleo Santos, Globe myBusiness Sales Head.      For Luzon, Globe myBusiness partners are  Activ8 Enterprises, Noah Genesis, McBlues Marketing, Systemplus Computer Center, The First Plaza @ Daanghari, Oleron Computer Solutions Center and Ecotech Business Solutions, Inc.  Visayas is represented by  Alphard Marketing Services, 2kg Cable Services,  MVM Online Business Center, DCV Industrial Control Enterprises, G7 Documentation Services and Jab 8 Distribution Inc. while Mindanao partners include Permaheal, Abjanine Business Center Company, Dianne and Tweety Beverages Enterprises, Gwils Dry Goods Store.

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Del Monte Pacific shuts facilities in 4 US locations

August 23, 2019

DEL MONTE Pacific Limited (DMPL) is shutting several factories in the United States as part of a restructuring program that seeks to bring down costs.      In a statement posted on its website, the canned fruit manufacturer said it is closing facilities in four locations owned by US subsidiary Del Monte Foods, Inc.      The facilities include those in Sleepy Eye in Minnesota and Mendota in Illinois, which will stop production at the end of the current peak season. The company will also divest from its facilities in Cambria, Wisconsin and from its manufacturing assets in Crystal City, Texas.      DMPL will transfer production in these locations to other facilities within the US. The company looks to fully utilize the capacity of its existing plants after the divestment.      “This decision has been difficult and has come after careful consideration. This restructuring is a necessary step for us to remain competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace,” DMPL Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Joselito D. Campos, Jr said in a statement.      “Our asset-light strategy will lead to more efficient and lower cost operations,” he added.      The facilities are part of Del Monte Foods’ 10 plants in the US, which sells products under brands Fruit Naturals, Orchard Select, SunFresh, and Fruit Refreshers. The company also has two plants in Mexico.      In the Philippines, DMPL operates a 26,000-hectare pineapple plantation in Mindanao, dubbed as the largest fully integrated pineapple operation in the world. It also has a beverage bottling plant and frozen fruit processing facility in the country.      DMPL earlier postponed the P17.5-billion initial public offering of local unit Del Monte Philippines, Inc., due to market volatility. The company sought to raise money to prepay or repay the group’s existing debt.      In its fiscal year ending April 2019, DMPL reported a net profit attributable to the parent of $20.32 million, versus an attributable loss of $36.49 million the year before. Revenues, however, slipped 11% to $1.95 billion.      DMPL is listed on both the main board of the Singapore Stock Exchange and the Philippine Stock Exchange.

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Cebu Pacific pins growth hopes on cargo business

August 20, 2019

CEBU PACIFIC operator Cebu Air, Inc. is looking to ramp up the expansion of its cargo business, banking on the continued growth of the logistics industry.      “The business plan is for the cargo side to grow faster than the overall passenger side. If we succeed in that, then of course, by definition, we will grow (cargo) to a bigger portion of the total (revenue) pie,” Alex B. Reyes, vice-president of Cebu Pacific’s cargo division, told reporters in the launch of its first all-cargo freighter Wednesday.      “We’re just responding to the demand in the market place. If we can supply it, then we’ll grow along with the demand in the market place,” he added.      The Gokongwei-led budget carrier draws its profits from three business segments: passenger, cargo and ancillary services. In the first half, revenues from the passenger segment grew 18% to P33.35 billion, from ancillary services by 23.8% to P8.52 billion, and from cargo by 7% to P2.84 billion.      Mr. Reyes said Cebu Pacific is optimistic on its cargo business, noting that the 7% revenue increase in the past six months shows its growth potential in the region.      He said despite the 5.4% decline in Asia-Pacific demand for air freight as of June — based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) — Cebu Pacific was able to maintain its growth momentum during the period.      The company’s cargo business is still largely supported by the belly capacity of its Airbus fleet, but it is now exploring more opportunities, starting with all-cargo planes.      Cebu Pacific took delivery of its first all-cargo aircraft, a reconfigured passenger ATR 72-500, which it will start deploying next month. The next one is expected to arrive before yearend.      “The ATRs are supposed to supplement the total capacity that we have. But they’re still relatively small compared to the total network capacity,” Mr. Reyes said.      “The freighter is brand new to us in terms of operations. We don’t have experience yet operating an all-cargo aircraft. But this is the first step in that direction,” he added.      The ATRs will initially operate domestically, but the company aims to fly them within the region someday.      Cebu Pacific Vice-President for Commercial Planning Alexander G. Lao said the arrival of more Airbus planes and the operational launch of the ATRs in the remainder of the year prepares the company well for cargo expansion.      “The main portion of our cargo revenue business continues to be driven from the Airbus fleet, because that’s really a higher capacity aircraft in terms of both weight (and) volume, and the associated revenue with it,” he said.      “We believe that by the second half, we’ll actually grow much faster in terms of total seats and total flights than we did in the first half,” he added.      The new ATR freighter will fly out of Manila when it starts operations in September, but will be moved to the Sangley air base once it opens in November.      Cebu Air booked a net income of P7.14 billion in the first half of the year, up 116% due to an increased passenger volume and higher average fares.

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