business

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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Toyota and Suzuki Enter into Capital Alliance Agreement

September 9, 2019

Toyota Motor Corporation and Suzuki Motor Corporation announced that the two companies entered into an agreement regarding a capital alliance (the “Alliance”) today, in order to establish and promote a long-term partnership between the two companies for promoting collaboration in new fields, including the field of autonomous driving.      The two companies began considering business partnership on October 12, 2016, and since then have continued to consider specific details. On March 20 of this year, the companies announced that they would begin specific considerations in order to engage in joint product development and collaboration in production, in addition to promoting the mutual supply of products, by bringing together Toyota’s strength in electrification technologies and Suzuki’s strength in technologies for compact vehicles.       Separately, the automobile sector is currently experiencing a turning point unprecedented in both scope and scale, not only because of enhanced environmental regulations, but also from new entries from distinct industries and diversified mobility businesses. The two companies intend to achieve sustainable growth, by overcoming new challenges surrounding the automobile sector by building and deepening cooperative relationships in new fields while continuing to be competitors, in addition to strengthening the technologies and products in which each company specializes and their existing business foundations.       Specifically, to take up challenges together in this transitional era, the two companies plan to establish and promote a long-term partnership between the two companies for promoting collaboration in new fields, including the field of autonomous driving.       The execution of the capital alliance agreement is a confirmation and expression of the outcome of sincere and careful discussions between the two companies, and it will serve for building and promoting their future partnership in new fields.      In order to develop and promote a long-term partnership between the two companies, the companies plan to acquire each other’s shares based on the Alliance.       Toyota plans to acquire 24,000,000 shares of common stock in Suzuki (4.94% ownership of the total number of shares issued by Suzuki as of March 31, 2019 (excluding treasury shares) with a total value of JPY 96 billion) by underwriting the disposition of treasury shares by way of third-party allotment conducted by Suzuki.       Likewise, Suzuki plans to acquire, through purchase in the market, shares in Toyota equivalent to JPY 48 billion. These share acquisitions will be implemented after the companies obtain approvals from the foreign competition authorities.      Source: www.globalsuzuki.com

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Toyota Safety Sense: Humans and Machines Working Together for Safer Driving

September 9, 2019

According to the World Health Organization Global Status Report, road accident statistics in the Philippines has constantly increased since 2016. A number of accidents have resulted in injuries or deaths, some of which could have been avoided if motorists are taking extra safety measures.      For leading mobility company Toyota, safety features are just as essential to the car as any other advanced functional technologies. That is why it the company is set to actively rollout its proprietary Toyota Safety Sense (TSS).      In addition to the passive safety features which we are already familiar with such as the vehicle’s impact absorbing structure, seatbelts, and number of airbags, TSS incorporates active safety features which identify factors that may cause accidents and aid the driver in eliminating these factors      Some of the features available under TSS are Pre-collision System (PCS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), and Automatic High Beam (AHB).      Pre-collision System (PCS) – detects the possibility of a collision using various sensors and reacts accordingly, also taking into consideration the countermeasures taken by the driver. Upon detection of a possibility of collision, the driver will be warned with beeps and visual warnings. When the possibility of a collision is higher and the driver applies brakes, the brake assist system will apply additional pressure to the brakes as needed. When an even greater possibility of collision is detected and the driver did not apply brakes, automatic brakes will be activated to prevent the collision.      Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) – when driving at cruise control, the vehicle drives at constant preset speed and will adjust within the set cruise speed upon detection of another vehicle in front to maintain appropriate distance.      Lane Departure Alert (LDA) – detects driving lanes and alerts driver when the vehicle departs from its designated lane. This feature operates at a vehicle speed of more than 50km/h, with a road width of more than approximately 3.0m.      Automatic High Beam (AHB) – while the headlight’s high beam setting is in use, the system automatically switches to low beam upon detection of vehicles at a certain distance in front or incoming vehicles on the opposite lane. The system will return to the high beam setting once the vehicle in front is at an appropriate distance or the incoming vehicle has passed.      These features fall under certain classes, with classes and feature variations available in selected new models and variants globally. With safety as Toyota Motor Philippines’ number one priority, select TSS features is available with the all-new Hiace Super Grandia Elite. More models will soon carry TSS’ active safety features that can give Filipino motorists and their families peace of mind, further supporting ever better lives through ever better cars.

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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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Land Bank to expand banking services in remotest provinces

September 4, 2019

THE Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) will expand the coverage of its banking services by setting up additional satellite centers and deployment of mobile tellers in remotest and depressed provinces nationwide.      In an interview with the Philippine News Agency, LBP First Vice President for Strategic Planning Elcid Pangilinan said the bank has approved in principle the opening of over 250 banking outlets in an effort to strengthen and improve the financial infusion for un-banked areas.      The bank has targeted to complete the project in the next five years aimed at improving the urgent need for financial infusion in areas not being reached by the LBP.      Pangilinan explained the deployment of mobile tellers was in line with bank’s objective of educating people, specifically the farmers and fisherfolk in far-flung provinces, to appreciate the value of the bank.      He noted that majority of those in the farm and fisheries sector have not been exposed or introduced in rightful way of depositing and withdrawing their hard-earned money.      Citing the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas report, Pangilinan said there are about 533 unbanked provinces and municipalities and "it is our aim to reach out to these places and serve the people."      Of the approved over 250 places deprived of the banking services, the LBP branches will be set up in the northern part of Luzon, Visayas in its eastern part, and in western part of Mindanao.      While he did not divulge the amount which the bank will infuse in the two projects, Pangilinan assured that it has sufficient money to carry out its commitment, noting that LBP has been named as top four in terms of assets and deposits.      Pangilinan was one of the official representatives to the two-day meet on Reducing Disaster Risks Towards a Resilient Agricultural Sector hosted by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Studies (SEARCA) here from Aug. 29 to 30, 2019. (Lulu R. Principe/PNA)

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