business

Toyota Hilux Continues to Lead Philippine Pickup Segment

August 5, 2019

Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) closes the first half of 2019 topping key market categories including the pickup segment, having sold a total of 10,554 units of its long-running top seller Toyota Hilux.      Based on sales figures from January to June this year, the Hilux bested its competitors in the pickup segment, gaining 35% increase in sales versus the first half of 2018 numbers, illustrating the growing demand for Commercial Vehicles (CV).      Toyota Hilux sales are highest in Metro Manila with 4,261 units sold year-to-date, followed by Region III with 1,219 units sold year-to-date in the Central Luzon area.      “Hilux is synonymous with Toyota. The model has been in our lineup for more than five decades, and proves itself time and again to be the prime example of Toyota’s strength as a manufacturer,” said TMP Vice President for Marketing Elijah Marcial.      “Through the years, the Hilux garnered a global reputation for its sturdiness. Its overall utility as a pickup truck, combined with high ground clearance and excellent towing power, makes for a reliable daily hauler for business and family use,” she added.      The Toyota Hilux is currently offered in 12 variants across all dealerships nationwide. Price starts at PHP 829,000.      TMP remains to be the top automotive manufacturer and distributor in the country with a total of 73,454 units sold nationwide in the first half of 2019. For the month of June 2019, TMP sold 14,568 units, a 27.8% increase from June 2018’s numbers. Toyota’s top five best-selling models from January to June 2019 are as follows: Vios, Hilux, Innova, Fortuner, and Wigo.

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Hino Leads PUV Modernization Forum at Biggest Gathering of PH Transport Cooperatives

August 5, 2019

Hino Motors Philippines (HMP), one of the pioneer supporters of the government’s Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program, shares insights on modernizing the country’s transport system and its efforts as a modern jeepney provider at the 4th Transport Cooperative National Congress held during Philbus and Truck 2019.      The congress, which caps off the three-day expo happening at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, serves as a platform to further discuss the PUVM program. It gathers together suppliers, transport cooperatives, drivers, related government agencies and other stakeholders.      The leading exhibition of the movers and shakers in the transportation and commercial vehicles industry, Philbus and Truck 2019 encourages modern jeepney manufacturers nationwide to support the government’s call for a better transportation system in the country.      Senator Win Gatchalian expressed his optimism about the implementation and impact of the PUVM program during this talk. He noted how modernizing the Philippine transport system can lower the health risks of both commuters and drivers, normalize driver work hours, increase the drivers’ guaranteed take-home pay and reduce overall travel time by about 20 percent.      Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin Delgra III echoes the same, highlighting that the PUVM program will not only ensure safer and more convenient public transport but will also provide employment opportunities. One of the things he stressed is the importance of the standardization and consolidation aspects of the program. According to him, the regulation, monitoring and engagement of transport operators will result in a more efficient system.      This month officially marks the second year of Hino as a local provider of modern jeepney units. In addition to being an exclusive distributor of premium trucks and buses, Hino has expanded into modern jeepneys, manufacturing one of the first batches of PUV units in compliance with the requirements set by the Bureau of Philippine Standards. This first set of PUV units from Hino incorporates a speed limiter, safety features, GPS, CCTV, dashboard-mounted camera and Beep card system to offer both driver and passengers a more comfortable and safer riding experience. HMP Chairman Vicente Mills, Jr. shares, “We at Hino stay committed to our promise of total support by bringing modern jeepneys closer to the Filipino people. We have been working hard in our plant to address the growing need for modern PUV units. Our modern jeepneys guarantee the same quality that Hino is known for worldwide. We take pride as the only local truck and bus one-stop shop that not only provides commercial vehicles but also assembles chassis and engine using our body-building capabilities.”

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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

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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.

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LANDBANK to boost lending to agriculture

August 2, 2019

LAND BANK of the Philippines (LANDBANK) said Mindanao will receive the biggest chunk of the bank’s loans, with the region having the biggest agricultural area in the country.      “Since Mindanao is the biggest agricultural area, then of course Mindanao will continue to get a very large of our loans to agri,” LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo told reporters at the sidelines of a central bank event on Friday.      Ms. Borromeo said the bank is looking to increase its loan to the agriculture sector by 20% by 2020 through “intensified efforts.”      “Historically, our agri loan portfolio has been growing by more than 15% year-on-year. Probably with the intensified efforts we might reach 20% growth. Not this year (but) probably in 2020,” she added.      In his State of the Nation Address last month, President Rodrigo R. Duterte threatened to abolish the LANDBANK for supposedly neglecting its mandate to finance agricultural projects and endeavors, criticizing the bank for being “mired with so many commercial transactions.”      However, the bank earlier said it is the only bank compliant with the Agri-Agra Law. Republic Act 10000 or the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act mandates banks to allot at least 10% of their total loanable funds to agrarian reform beneficiaries and 15% for farmers and fisherfolk.      Data provided to reporters showed LANDBANK’s exposure to the agriculture and fisheries sectors amounted to P177.32 billion as of end-June, 22.17% of the lender’s total loan portfolio of P799.64 billion — 16.8% higher than P151.78 billion recorded as of June 2018.      This is on top of the P42.31 billion lent to the “mandated” sector, which includes small farmers including agrarian reform beneficiaries and their associations (P42.17 billion) as well as small fishers and their associations (P140 million).      Meanwhile, Ms. Borromeo said the bank is encouraging small farmers to join cooperatives and associations as it looks to “intensify” its lending to the agricultural sector.      “We are the biggest lender to the agriculture [sector] already. So we just need to reach out to more small farmers and their cooperatives, which is what we’ve been trying to do year after year. We just need to intensify it some more,” she added.

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In Pursuit of Driving Pleasure – All-new Toyota GR Supra

August 2, 2019

The All-New Toyota GR Supra, otherwise known as the A90 or Mk. V, is the first-ever Toyota Supra to be retailed in the Philippines. Following a 17-year hiatus, the legendary Supra makes a comeback and takes the motoring world by storm upon its international debut in Detroit, USA. Now on its fifth generation, the new Supra is the first global Toyota Gazoo Racing model, with all units being manufactured at the Magna Steyr plant in Graz, Austria. Toyota Gazoo Racing, or GR, is Toyota’s performance development arm which aims to produce ever-better cars through motorsports. The GR Supra is the culmination of Toyota’s racing expertise.      The Philippine variant of the All-New Toyota GR Supra is powered by a twin-scroll turbocharged, in-line six-cylinder engine that produces a maximum output of 335 hp and 500 Nm of torque. A flagship sports car through and through, the GR Supra is a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive coupe that comes exclusively in 3.0L displacement and 8-speed automatic transmission.      Both chassis and body frame are masterfully crafted to enjoy a 50:50 front-rear weight distribution, crucial in achieving optimum cornering performance. In addition is a wheelbase-to-tread ratio of 1.55*1—one of the smallest among mass production sports cars—contributing to its excellent turning and responsiveness.      The All-New Toyota GR Supra is also armed with Adaptive Variable Suspension. Its front wheels are equipped with double-joint type MacPherson Strut, while the rear wheels come with Multi-Link suspension. The Supra features a Limited Slip Differential and ventilated disc brakes. Its high body rigidity, low center of gravity, and aerodynamics all combine to give the driver ultimate driving speed and precision.      Set as low and wide as possible, the All-New Toyota GR Supra has an athletic stance that evokes a dynamic look referred to by Toyota engineers as the “Condensed Extreme”.      Its prominent grille is flanked by large air intakes on both sides, whose character lines meld seamlessly down the flared spoilers and trapezoidal bumper with dual exhaust pipes plus diffuser. The silhouette profile is perfectly accentuated by 19-inch forged aluminum wheels, with custom-made tires by Michelin.      The All-New Toyota GR Supra has a distinct illumination setup: the front features six-lens LED headlamps that integrate daytime running lights and turn signals, while the rear lamps combine turn, tail, and stop into one stylish main ring. The dot-type LED backup lamps are located in the center of the lower bumper. A Follow-Me-Home lighting feature is also present.      The interior of the Philippine variant comes purely in black, with muted carbon accents for an understated luxury feel. The Alcantara sports seats are equipped with lumbar support and 8-way power memory adjust, and the 3-spoke leather steering wheel has both manual tilt and telescopic adjust for optimum ergonomics.      Aimed at millimeter driving precision, the All-New Toyota GR Supra has a narrow-sectioned dashboard that offers expansive forward visibility. The vehicle intuitively assists its driver in focusing on the road through an advanced Heads Up Display (HUD) plus responsive Paddle Shifters, complemented by 8.8-inch TFT-LCD Multi Information Display gauge.      Keep the cabin comfortable through a dual-zone, push-type air conditioning and stay entertained with an 8.8-inch TFT LCD touchscreen display with Bluetooth and USB connectivity that synergizes with its 12-speaker, High-Fidelity surround sound system powered by JBL.      In Toyota, safety is always a priority especially for its high-speed performance models. The All-New Toyota GR Supra has seven (7) SRS airbags, 3-point Pre-tensioner and Force Limiter seatbelts, as well as Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control, and an Anti-Lock Brake System.      The All-New Toyota GR Supra 3.0L Philippine variant starts at PHP 4,990,000. It comes in eight (8) striking colors: Prominence Red, Lightning Yellow, Deep Blue Metallic, White Metallic, Silver Metallic, Ice Gray Metallic, Black Metallic, and Matte Storm Gray.

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