corporate

Alsons’ P1-B debt papers rated above average

May 2, 2020

THE Alcantaras’ Alsons Consolidated Resources, Inc. (ACR) on Thursday said it had been given an above-average credit rating for the latest tranche of the P2.5-billion commercial papers it registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2018.     In a stock exchange disclosure, the listed firm said it had received a PRS (Philippine Rating Services Corp.) A plus rating and a stable outlook for the second tranche of its commercial papers amounting to P1 billion.     The credit rating meant that the company has an above-average capacity to meet its financial commitments.     Among factors cited by PhilRatings as basis for the rating were “the positive growth prospects for Mindanao which will bring about an increasing demand for power” and the company’s “ability to establish joint ventures with strong partners for particular projects.”     The stable outlook, on the other hand, meant that the rating is likely to be maintained or to remain unchanged in the next 12 months.     Meanwhile, ACR sees no major delay in the projected start of the commercial operations of its two on-going power plant projects in Mindanao.     One of these is the 14.5-megawatts (MW) hydroelectric power plant at the Siguil River basin in Maasim, Sarangani province, which is expected to begin commercial operations in 2022. The other one is the 105-MW San Ramon Power, Inc. baseload coal-fired power plant in Zamboanga City, which is slated to commence operations in 2023. “Even with the current quarantine, we do not foresee a major delay in the targeted commencement of operations for our Siguil and SRPI projects,” ACR Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Tirso G. Santillan, Jr. said in a statement.  

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SMC donates 85,000 liters more of fuel to shuttle front-liners

May 2, 2020

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) marked Labor Day yesterday with a fresh donation of 85,000 liters of free fuel for government’s Libreng Sakay programs, which provide free transportation to thousands of medical front liners and workers reporting to hospitals throughout Metro Manila.     The donation, which consists of 40,000 liters of fuel for the Metro Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) free shuttle program and another P45,000 liters for the Department of Transportation’s (DoTR) parallel program, were provided by San Miguel subsidiaries SMC Infrastructure and Petron Corporation.     Worth an estimated P2.8 million, the fuel donation is the second such grant that the two SMC businesses have given recently to benefit medical front liners fighting the Covid-19 global pandemic. All in all, the company has given a total of 170,000 liters, worth P5.8 million, for the shuttle services.     “This is our simple way of honoring our brave and selfless medical workers on Labor Day. We want to continue honoring them by helping provide them this convenient, safe, and free means of transportation when they go on duty. Yes, it is a small thing, especially considering the risk they take and the sacrifices they make every day. But we are hoping it will at least make a little difference to them knowing that their government and donors like us, continue to support them in any way we can,” said SMC president Ramon S. Ang.     Apart from fuel, SMC Infrastructure also waives toll fees for medical front liners at toll roads it operates, namely the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR), South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), the Skyway System, NAIA Expressway (NAIAX), and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX).     While recognizing that efficient transportation is a must for doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners at this time, the bulk of SMC’s efforts to help medical workers is focused on providing them with life-saving equipment and much-needed COVID-19 testing machines.     Recently, SMC donated five sets of Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) Covid-19 testing machines and High-Throughput Automated Nucleic Acid Extraction machines, that effectively doubles government’s testing capacity, with an additional 11,000 tests per day.     It has also distributed over 54,000 sets of medical-grade personal protective equipment (PPEs) to over 100 hospitals and another 10,000 PPEs manufactured by local garments exporters, to the Philippine General Hospital.     It has also thus far donated over 1.1 million liters of disinfecting 70% ethyl alcohol to hospitals, LGUs, and other vital institutions, made at its reconfigured liquor facilities under Ginebra San Miguel Inc.

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AboitizPowerPeople Spreading Positive Energy: WILFRED – Finding Meaning in Our Mission

May 1, 2020

Energy can be considered a country’s lifeblood. It nourishes, empowers, connects, and moves us. Without power, critical infrastructure like hospitals, food and drug manufacturing, and banks would have difficulty operating.  Our team members in the power sector may not be in the front lines, but they have a mission of their own in this pandemic — spreading the positive energy that will help the country heal. This has become their “why” in the mission to keep the lights on.  “Whenever I used to ask my colleagues how they felt about their work, they usually give the generic answer. ‘It’s the usual business. This is the work we do as technicians'— and then here comes the pandemic.”  A great many people walk through life in search of their “why”. The reason they wake up every morning. The reason they do the work that they do. To the Japanese, this is ikigai (reason for being) - anything that gives a deep sense of purpose to someone’s life.  Wilfred Manatad had always found himself pondering on his “why” and while the Aboitiz Group has the noble “why” of driving change for a better world, it wasn’t until the pandemic that he was able to translate this into his own purpose.  “It was late in the night, I just read the announcement that we were preparing to activate business continuity plans. I reached out to my teammates and told them, ‘I think we’re going on lockdown. We need to gear up,’” Wilfred recounted.  “I didn’t expect the answer they gave, because they were all enthusiastic. They said that this time the time we get to do our part and support the frontliners. I was initially expecting resistance, but the answer I got instead was of compassion,” Wilfred said. “It’s time to help our community.”  From the resounding positive feedback from his peers, Wilfred found a deeper sense of meaning to the work that they do as part of the Electrical team of Therma South, Inc.’s (TSI) Maintenance department.  “There’s more meaning in the work we do. It’s not just the usual business. Though we’re rarely in the spotlight, we play a vital role in helping the country. We’re the ones in the backstage. We keep the show running,” Wilfred said.  Rendering duty to keep the lights on is not an easy task. Apart from being away from family for almost a month, the team has also been stripped down to a skeletal workforce during the facility quarantine. The usual work for four or five people now falls onto the shoulders of two.  “We only have two people on the electrical team on duty for each batch. That means we have to be smart with our time and conserve our energy, because you never know if you’ll be called to do small fixes or bigger ones that consume more energy,” Wilfred shared.  As part of the Maintenance team, Wilfred’s duty entails keeping the power plant in tiptop condition. This means the regular field work for the conduct of preventive and corrective maintenance.  A deeper sense of meaning is not the only thing Wilfred discovered during the pandemic. People often discover things about themselves in times of crisis, and for Wilfred, he discovered a brand of resilience he didn’t know he was capable of.  “Technicians have different specializations. For example, one can be good at protective relaying and another is good at partial discharge monitoring, but since we’re separated into three skeletal teams, sometimes the expert won’t be there in your shift. We can call and seek for guidance, but we’d still need to do the work on the ground. More than anything, this experience has made us step up and strengthen teamwork,” Wilfred shared. “We’re able to do work that’s usually out of our comfort zone.”  Wilfred enjoins his fellow team members to adopt the same kind of resilience and spread positive energy.  “Nothing will happen if you always worry. Instead of worrying, focus on and enjoy what you do. Above all, look for the purpose why you’re doing what you do. Because if you find meaning, you’ll be fulfilled.”  “You will enjoy what you do compared to working without knowing the essence of what you’re doing. Know your purpose and meaning. Make it your own,” Wilfred said.  Wholly-owned AboitizPower subsidiary Therma South, Inc. (TSI) owns and operates the 300-Megawatt Davao Baseload Power Plant located in Binugao, Toril, Davao City. TSI is certified in four ISO standards: Quality Management (ISO 9001:2015), Environmental Management (ISO 14001:2015), Occupational Health and Safety Management (OHSAS 45001:2018), and Asset Management System (ISO 55001:2014). Along with Therma Luzon, Inc. and Therma Visayas, Inc., the three primarily compose the Coal Business Unit of AboitizPower. (PR)

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DOST invites local designers to develop ventilators for COVID19 treatment

May 1, 2020

With the spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines, the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) together with the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) is looking for designs of ventilators and respirators to augment the health care system cope with COVID-19 patients needing these medical devices. “As a leader in enabling scientific solutions through R&D, the DOST-PCIEERD together with PCHRD opens its doors to our innovators and researchers to share their innovations that will ultimately aid our government respond better to the pandemic and contribute to the healing of our nation,” said DOST-PCIEERD executive director Dr. Enrico Paringit. Paringit said the prototype must be made from medical-grade materials and components and should have an assist control (AC) mode, tidal volume, back-up or respiratory rate (RR), inspiration: expiration (I:E) ratio, fraction of inspired oxygen (FIO2), alarms, and humidifier. DOST-PCIEERD will support activities related to design and development, prototyping, fabrication and assembly of the prototype, simulation, pre-accreditation testing and calibration in collaboration with the Electronics Product Development Center (EPDC) of the DOST-Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC) and testing by an accredited inspection body of the government. Concept proposals, including preliminary works done, description of design, workplan, deliverables, with a letter of intent from the medical expert or hospital, and the budget should be sent through email at pcieerd@pcieerd.dost.gov.ph on or before 28 April 2020. For projects/prototypes that passed industrial standards, DOST-PCHRD will support the conduct of the clinical trials and other clinical acceptance protocols. DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya stressed the importance of evaluating the safety and efficacy of the ventilators. He said, “Ventilators are vital in ensuring that our patients, especially those confined in the ICU, are given the maximum care and support they need to recover. Aside from addressing the need to secure more ventilator units, we also have to make sure that the equipment we produce or procure are reliable and efficient.” Upon submission of proposal to DOST-PCHRD, the proponent must have partnered with medical experts, secured an ethics clearance from an institution capable of conducting clinical trials, and identified industry partner/s with a License-to-Operate (LTO) certificate from the Food and Drugs Administration – Philippines for mass production.  (S&T Media Service/Source:PCIEERD)y Information Institute

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Imported vehicle sales drop 34% in Q1 2020

April 30, 2020

THE Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID) reported a 34-percent decline in sales for January to March this year, the group reported Tuesday.      AVID said vehicle sales in the first quarter of 2020 reached 14,404 units, lower than the 21,949 units sold in the same period of 2019.     The drop in sales of imported vehicles in the country is mainly due to the closure of dealership networks since the quarantine measure was implemented by the government to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak.     “The industry is no stranger to adversity but this pandemic will be our toughest challenge yet. We estimate that it would take at least 12 months for the local industry to recover once the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) is completely lifted. There will be a ‘new normal’ and we must be quick to adapt since Filipino consumers will be even more prudent and looking for more value in their purchases,” AVID President Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo said.     Sales of passenger cars in the first quarter of 2020 plunged by 43 percent to 4,506 units from 7,848 units sold in the first three months of last year.     Light commercial vehicles’ sales also dipped by 29 percent to 9,806 units in January to March 2020 from 13,862 unit sales during the same period last year.     “Demand has likewise declined as consumers spend on more urgent needs. With this disruption, we estimate that car sales may drop by around 40 percent for the year,” Perez-Agudo added. (PNA)  

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SMC gives workers full pay

April 30, 2020

SAN Miguel Corporation (SMC) has committed to grant full-time pay to all its employees and extended workforce as the ECQ remains in effect, even as it works round the clock mobilizing resources to help address the larger societal and economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.     In a news release, SMC also announced that it has set aside P11.67 billion in tax, concession and contractual payments throughout the quarantine period to make available funds needed to respond effectively to the challenges of the pandemic.     Of the amount, SMC said it already paid government P8.77 billion, while the remaining balance will be remitted before the end of the ECQ.     Meanwhile, it has released full compensation with benefits amounting to over P3 billion for all its 66,557 employees, consultants and contract workers.     “These are trying times and while we, as a company, are not immune to the challenges of this crisis, the safety and security of our workforce will always come first. We do not want them worrying about their jobs,” SMC president and COO Ramon S. Ang said.     Ang said told SMC employees that he is “truly proud of the hard work that you, most especially our front-liners, have been doing in the midst of the challenges: delivering essential goods and services that are critical in this battle.”     To date, SMC and the businesses under it, have provided assistance of over P1 billion in the form of cash, food, flour, disinfectant alcohol, fuel, free toll and personal protective equipment (PPE) donations to vulnerable communities and front liners.     It has also built emergency quarantine facilities together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to help ease the pressure on health facilities flooded by patients needing intensive medical treatment resulting from the pandemic. (PR)  

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