Philex completes feasibility study on Silangan project

August 5, 2019

PHILEX Mining Corporation on Thursday said the definitive feasibility study for the first phase of the Silangan Project is finally complete.      The Silangan mine is a large-scale, high-grade copper-gold development, with a number of greenfield and brownfield components, located in Surigao del Norte, Mindanao.      Its tenements are composed of three deposits -- Boyongan, Bayugo and Kalayaan, with the latter being held by the company through a joint-venture with Manila Mining Corporation.      Silangan has been branded as one of three big-ticket mining projects seen to propel the Philippines as a major regional copper producer.      Based on the development timeline, the Silangan Project will be developed in phases. The Boyongan deposit, which is planned as the maiden phase, will be fully developed within 2.5 years and is expected to commence commercial production by the second half of 2022.      The first phase of the Boyongan deposit has an initial estimated mine life of 22 years. For this initial stage, Silangan is expected to yield high grade mineable ore grades of 0.63 percent for copper and 1.20 grams per tonne of gold.      The second phase, which will be comprised of the Bayugo deposit, is scheduled to undergo preliminary feasibility study for underground sub-level cave mining within the year.      Bayugo is expected to be mine-ready as early as the fifth year from the start of Boyongan’s commercial operations. The remaining substantial mineral resource and inventory including Kalayaan and the remnants of Boyongan will be subjected to future studies.      In terms of methodology, Philex said it will be adopting underground sub-level cave mining for ore extraction which will feature a state-of-the-art milling facility that will utilize modern convention technologies for ore processing.      “We are thrilled with the outcome of the study which reaffirms the immense potential and magnitude of the project.      Over the next few months, we will be focusing our efforts on raising equity and financing for mine development,” said Eulalio B. Austin Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Philex Mining Corporation, in a statement.      The mining firm is set to earmark around USD750 million for the development of the Boyongan ore body.      For its fund-raising exercise, Philex has appointed reputable financial institutions J.P. Morgan for equity investment and Mizuho for project financing.      It has also engaged international law firm White & Case and Philippine law firm Sycip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan as legal consultants.      Meanwhile, Philex Board of Directors reported a net income of PHP391 million for the first half of 2019 while core net loss narrowed to PHP19 million or almost break- even.      For the second quarter alone, the company registered a core net income of PHP93 million, marking a sharp rebound after a challenging start.      Total tonnes milled was at 3.805 million from 4.388 million in the first half of 2018. Metal production was slowed down by programmed maintenance and other unscheduled repair works of aging mining equipment as well as uncontrollable power interruptions that resulted in lesser operating days.      Consequently, gold and copper production were at 23,675 ounces and 12.007 million pounds versus previous year’s haul of 34,583 ounces and 14.149 million pounds, respectively.      Gross revenues recorded at PHP3.365 billion from PHP4.646 billion while smelting charges decreased to PHP276 million from PHP377 million for the first half of 2018. Net revenues stood at PHP3.089 billion from PHP4.269 billion for the first half of 2018.      Average realized prices for gold and copper were at USD1,316 per ounce and USD2.75 per pound against USD1,314 per ounce and USD3.11 per pound year-on-year.      Following a core operating loss in the first quarter, Philex has swung back to profitability in the subsequent period after realizing the impact of improved operational efficiencies and cost containment measures that were carried out in the first three months of 2019.      As a result, metal output increased by 8 percent to 1.973 million tonnes for the second quarter of 2019 from 1.832 million tonnes for the first quarter of 2019.      Gold and copper production came in at 13,182 ounces and 6.280 million pounds for the second quarter of 2019 compared to 10,493 ounces and 5.727 million pounds for the first quarter of 2019, respectively.      Philex is optimistic that global interest for mineral products will stay robust in the long- term with consistent growth from Asia particularly from China, led by its power and infrastructure sectors.      Also, notable advancements in electric vehicle technology and renewable energy will also serve as demand catalysts to drive usage for copper materials.      On the domestic front, Silangan is envisioned as a key economic and social contributor for the development of Mindanao in particular and for the country in general, through substantial tax payments and the creation of more than 3,000 new jobs in Mindanao, where the project is located, to be supported by an expansive corporate social responsibility agenda. (PNA)

Jollibee sets sights on Indonesia

August 2, 2019

PHILIPPINES’ Jollibee Foods Corp. is training its sights on Indonesia, with newly acquired US chain Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL) its entry point in the economically expanding and densely populated Southeast Asian neighbor, its top officials said.      Jollibee has for years planned to bring its Chickenjoy fried chicken and sweet spaghetti restaurants to Indonesia, but last week’s $100-million investment for the struggling coffee chain has bought it a foothold in the market of 260 million people.      “One thing that might emerge and very interesting is Indonesia,” Chief Financial Officer Ysmael Baysa told Reuters.      The restaurant scene in Indonesia is cornered by the likes of Restoran Sederhana, McDonald’s Corp, and Yum! Brands, Inc.’s KFC and Pizza Hut.      “Coffee Bean gives us an immediate presence in Indonesia and also gives us a platform on which we can further expand our business there,” Mr. Baysa said.      Jollibee’s purchase of money-losing Coffee Bean from private equity firm Advent International and others was its largest foreign acquisition to date, and its second coffee brand after Highlands Coffee in Vietnam. Coffee Bean has 101 outlets in Indonesia among its 1,189 branches across 27 countries.      Jollibee, the Philippines’ best-known brand, started as two ice cream parlors four decades ago, but soon shifted to the burgers and fried chicken that have been a big draw at home and among many of the estimated 10 million Filipinos who work or have settled overseas.      Through its 12 brands and franchises, Jollibee operates 3,195 outlets in the Philippines and has a further 1,418 dotted across Southeast Asia, the Middle East, the United States, Britain and China, among them Smashburger, Yonghee King, Chow King, Greenwich, Red Ribbon, plus franchises of Dunkin in China and Burger King in the Philippines.      Jollibee is eyeing a turnaround of Coffee Bean to make it profitable in 12-18 months, Mr. Baysa said. Coffee Bean posted $313 million in revenue and a net loss of $21 million last year.      The Philippine fastfood chain was worth $5.8 billion prior to announcing its acquisition but shed $890 million in market value in two days as investors sold its stock on concerns about it over-spending on a money-losing coffee chain. It has since recouped more than half of the losses.      Jollibee President and Chief Executive Ernesto Tanmantiong said the firm aims for 50% of sales to come from overseas within three to five years, from about 27% now.      It aims to be among the world’s five biggest fastfood firms, he said, adding it has no qualms about delving into a coffee market peppered with big names such as Starbucks Corp. and Tim Hortons.      “It’s a very big market to enter,” he told Reuters, adding that the company would continue to broaden its portfolio of businesses when it sees good opportunities.      “Our strategy is to have strong organic growth as well as strategic acquisitions,” he said. — Reuters

AboitizPower posts P8.6-billion first half net income

August 2, 2019

Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower) reported a net income of P8.6 billion for the first half of 2019, 5% lower than the P9.1 billion recorded last year. Without one-off gains, the company’s core net income was P8.5 billion, 19% lower than the P10.5 billion recorded in the same period last year, which was largely the result of the higher volume and cost of purchased power during the first half of 2019.      Spot market prices were exceptionally high during the first half of 2019, and the company purchased replacement power due to outages and contracting ahead in preparation for incoming capacity. “The first half of 2019 was challenging for AboitizPower as Luzon faced supply issues leading to the elections. Nevertheless, we remained committed to serving our customers to the extent of providing them with replacement power that we bought from the spot market at rates higher than our contract prices,” Emmanuel V. Rubio, AboitizPower Chief Operating Officer, said. Results of Operations Generation and Retail Electricity Supply      AboitizPower’s generation and retail electricity supply business recorded consolidated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of P17.8 billion in the first half of 2019, 12% lower than the P20.2 billion recorded during the same period last year. Capacity sold for the first half of 2019 decreased by 6%, from 3,213 megawatts (MW) in 2018 to 3,035 MW in 2019, due to Therma Mobile, Inc.’s bunker C-fired diesel power plants being put on preservation mode in the first quarter of 2019.      “With supply stabilizing and with our new capacity coming in, we are positive about exceeding our 2020 target of 4,000 MW attributable capacity, which will allow for a steady and sustainable long-term growth momentum,” Rubio noted. Distribution      AboitizPower’s distribution business recorded a consolidated EBITDA of P3.7 billion, 5% lower than the P3.9 billion last year due to lost margins from the decommissioning of the Bajada power plant. Energy sales rose to 2,842 gigawatt-hours (GWh), a 5% increase from the 2,719 GWh recorded in the first half of 2018, primarily driven by the increase in new customers across all segments. About AboitizPower      AboitizPower is the holding company for the Aboitiz Group’s investments in power generation, distribution, and retail electricity services. It advances business and communities by providing reliable and ample power supply at a reasonable and competitive price, and with the least adverse effects on the environment and host communities.      The company is one of the largest power producers in the Philippines with a balanced portfolio of assets located across the country. It is a major producer of Cleanergy, its brand for clean and renewable energy with several hydroelectric, geothermal and solar power generation facilities. It also has thermal power plants in its generation portfolio to support the baseload and peak energy demands of the country.      The company also owns distribution utilities that operate in high-growth areas in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, including the second and third largest private utilities in the country.

Very big’ improvement in telco services by 2020: Rio

July 31, 2019

DEPARTMENT of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr. on Tuesday said Filipinos will feel a big improvement in telecommunications (telco) services nationwide come 2020.      “Our program for 2020 is that before the end of next year, our people will feel a very big improvement in our telecommunications services nationwide,” Rio said during ‘The Presser’ of the Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) attended by key clusters of the executive branch at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) building in Quezon City.      The DICT official said the improvements in telco services will stem from a high-speed internet infrastructure to be built in partnership with Facebook and Dito Telecommunity Corporation (Dito), the country's third major telco player.      “The most significant statement of the President during his SONA yesterday was that the selection process for the third telco, there is no corruption that was involved. And he was so serious in this statement, he even swore over the tomb of his father. The first time the President did that in a SONA,” Rio said.      Aside from faster internet services at home, the high-speed internet infrastructure project with Facebook will help provide Filipinos with better free Wi-Fi in public places and better e-government services.      “We will have then a very big bandwidth to be coming from Facebook. Two terabits per second that we can now use for free Wi-Fi and for our e-government to give basic services, online services, to our people even in the remotest area of our country,” Rio said.      “This is actually a program that is instructed by the President on the DICT,” he added.      On November 15, 2017, officials of from the DICT, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and EDGE (Facebook) signed a landing party agreement for a high-speed internet infrastructure project called the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure that would produce an “ultra-high-speed information highway” connection in the country.      On July 8, 2019, Mislatel Consortium, now Dito Telecommunity, was awarded a permit to operate as the Philippines’ third telco provider by President Duterte in a ceremony at the Malacañang Palace. (PNA)

DMCI Homes launches QC project to meet rising demand

July 26, 2019

Premier Quadruple A developer DMCI Homes has launched Cameron Residences to add to its growing portfolio in the country’s biggest city in terms of population.      "Quezon City more than ever is shaping up to be a real estate hotspot with the government's aggressive infrastructure push in the area. We hope to help address the increasing demand by launching more projects in the city in the coming months," assistant vice president for project development Dennis Yap said in a statement on Tuesday.      Stretched out along Mapalad Street, Roosevelt Avenue, Quezon City, the Modern Tropical-themed development is a few minutes from the Skyway extension project, which is on its way to completion.      With this new development, going from Cameron Residences to Makati will soon take just 30 minutes --a big leap from the current two-hour travel from Quezon City to the country’s financial capital.      Also anticipated to contribute ease to daily commute is the Metro Manila Subway Project which reportedly has seven stations in Quezon City -- Mindanao Avenue, Tandang Sora, North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, East Avenue, Anonas, and Katipunan.      Likewise, the MRT-7 railway system, which will take passengers from San Jose del Monte, Bulacan to North Avenue, Quezon City is another significant infrastructure project that will promote convenient travel in the area.      Restaurants, leisure zones, shopping malls, hospitals, universities, government institutions, and business districts located near the area make the 45-level residential tower an ideal investment for end-users, upgraders, and investors looking for living spaces in the heart of Quezon City.      “We will aim to maximize the property’s excellent proximity to future infrastructure projects to create a working resident’s haven in Northern Metro Manila,” Yap said.      Known for its resort-inspired condominium communities, DMCI Homes intended the single-tower development to give residents a good balance of exquisite living spaces and areas for fun and leisure.      Included in the outdoor amenities are the following: garden area, lap and leisure pools, kiddie pool, kids’ play area, gazebo and sky promenade.      Indoor amenities, meanwhile, include snack bars, game area, lounge area, fitness gym, sky lounge. Facilities such as eight high-speed elevators, laundry station, convenience store, water refilling station, and mailroom are also provided for the convenience of the residents. (PR)

Cebu Pacific interested in Cebu-Mati flights

July 22, 2019

MATI City — Budget airline Cebu Pacific is interested in launching flights between Cebu and Mati City once the latter’s airport opens for commercial operations, according to Mati Mayor Michelle N. Rabat.      “Cebu Pacific ang nakakita ng (has seen the) potential ng ating (of our) Mati as a tourist destination,” she told the media on Thursday, noting that the carrier has expressed intent to serve the Cebu-Mati route.      Negotiations over land ownership issues on the airport’s site has started, said the mayor, whose clan is among those involved in the talks.      “We have yet to settle the issue of the land where the airport is built. I don’t want it to sound biased but it is owned by the Rabat-Rocamora, our families,” said Ms. Rabat, adding that “some documents” have gone missing.      The airport was built in the early 1980s under then Davao Oriental governor Francisco G. Rabat, the incumbent mayor’s father.      “We will try to settle that, to pacify the families (and tell them that there is a) commitment that eventually bibilhin yan (it will be paid for), but for now, allow us to develop so we can open it,” Ms. Rabat said.      She further explained that the national government, specifically the Department of Transportation, could not step in for rehabilitation if they do not have the pertinent documents on the project.      One of the main improvement works needed is an expansion of the existing 1,625-meter runway to accommodate bigger aircraft.      A P200-million fund from the national budget, through the Department of Tourism, has already been allocated for the runway.      Ms. Rabat said they are aiming to reach a settlement within the year, with support from the Davao Oriental provincial government.      “Hopefully we will be able to hit the target,at nakatutok din ang gobernador dito sa project na ito (the governor is also focusing on this project),” she said.      Gov. Nelson L. Dayanghirang earlier said the airport’s opening is one of his priorities to boost, not just tourism but the overall investment climate in the province.      “Both the provincial and the (Mati) city government believe that the reopening of the airport will bring more opportunities for the growth,” said Mr. Dayanghirang said earlier this month.      Davao Oriental’s popular tourist destinations include the Dahican Beach in Mati, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Mt. Hamiguitan, and Aliwagwag Falls, among others.      Mr. Dayanghirang said the provincial government is also working on the construction of an inland resort as well as an 800-person capacity convention center.


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