A Brown files shelf registration of 50-M shares

July 23, 2021

A BROWN Co., Inc. has filed for the shelf registration of 50 million cumulative, nonvoting, non-participating, and nonconvertible peso-denominated perpetual preferred shares, along with an offer supplement for its initial P1.5-billion offering.      The company on Wednesday said it submitted a registration statement to the Securities and Exchange (SEC) on Monday. It is subjected for the commission’s review and approval.      The 50 million offer shares will be sold in tranches within three years from the effectivity of its registration statement.      For its first tranche, the company will sell 10 million preferred shares for P100 each, with an oversubscription option of up to five million preferred shares to raise as much as P1.5 billion.      A Brown aims to use proceeds from the first tranche to support the development of its real estate projects in the pipeline, landbanking activities, funding for subsidiary Irradiation Solutions, Inc., and for other general corporate purposes.      “It is in a position to venture into pockets of growth areas as seen in the current thrust to supply the necessary housing inventory to address the backlog in the economic and socialized segments,” A Brown said in a statement.      The company is planning to allocate as much as P600 million for its property developments in Tanay in Rizal, Bukidnon, Butuan City, Misamis Oriental, and Cagayan de Oro.      It added that it has eight ongoing projects in Cagayan de Oro and Butuan City, with 17 more in the pipeline covering 400 hectares.      Meanwhile, up to P400 million will be spent on landbanking initiatives in Tanay, Rizal, Cagayan de Oro City, Butuan City, and Bukidnon.      “Landbanking is focused on areas where the company has local presence and a competitive advantage. Properties adjacent completed and ongoing projects will support expansion phases,” A Brown said in its offer supplement.      “The company is also looking into new areas where it can consolidate sizable portions to come up with integrated mixed-use developments,” it added.      The company currently has 293 hectares in its land bank.      Should the company need additional capital to fund land acquisitions, it plans to tap internally generated funds and credit lines from local banks.      Around P350 million from the proceeds will be allocated for the funding requirements of Irradiation Solutions, A Brown said. The subsidiary is developing its Tanay Multipurpose Irradiation Facility Project, which is aimed to be the first commercial E-Beam irradiation facility in the country.      The company assigned PNB Capital and Investment Corp. as the sole issue manager, lead underwriter, and sole bookrunner for the transaction.

Cebu’s IT-BPM sector ‘more resilient’ amid pandemic

July 14, 2021

CEBU City -- Cebu’s information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) industry has proven itself to be among the resilient sectors here even as the economy continues to reel from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.      Such observation was shared by Aseem Roy, country head of Wipro Philippines, during the opening of the four-day virtual 2021 Transformation Summit on Monday, organized by the Cebu IT BPM.Organization (CIB.O).      “The pandemic was a litmus test to what Cebu City and Cebu province have to contribute and how well we cope with adapting to some global trends,” the top official of the Indian BPO company told the virtual conference.      The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed a lot of industries, pushing the IT-BPM sector in particular to widely adopt flexibility as to how it operates.       A number of BPO companies have since allowed their employees to work from home and offer more flexible work arrangements, as the pandemic has significantly changed how industries operate.      Despite the challenges, the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) said the outsourcing sector still posted employment growth in 2020 of about 23,000 people, bringing the total to 1.32 million.      This was primarily due to more jobs created by resilient industries such as e-commerce and healthcare, in Metro Manila as well as Cebu, according to property consultancy firm Colliers International Philippines.      In Cebu, the IT-BPM industry employed about 180,000 to 190,000 workforce as of last year, up from 170,000 two years ago, according to estimates earlier disclosed by CIB.O president Pert Cabataña.       Wipro’s Roy said they are “fairly confident” that Cebu has the capability to outshine with the top outsourcing hubs in the world.      “The Cebu IT-BPM industry has become stronger and more resilient,” he said.      Roy said that Cebu, being the country’s key top IT-BPM investment destination outside Metro Manila, has the “capability to transform and lead” as the stakeholders bring collective efforts to further push the industry forward.   Cebu’s advantage      According to Colliers, Cebu remains a preferred business destination outside Metro Manila due to its competitiveness in terms of manpower, infrastructure, and cost of doing business.      Based on the results of Tholons’ 2021 survey, three of the 100 most attractive outsourcing sites in the world, Cebu ranked 52nd.      Among Tholons’ criteria are talent, skill and quality, business catalyst, cost and infrastructure, and innovation and capital.      “In our view, Metro Cebu will likely remain a viable destination for firms looking to open space outside of Metro Manila beyond this Covid-affected period, even for higher-value outsourcing services such as healthcare and technology firms,” said Joey Bondoc, associate director for research at Colliers Philippines, when sought for comment.      Among the firms operating knowledge process outsourcing in Metro Cebu are Google, Tech Mahindra, and Kuehne+Nagel.      In the first quarter of 2021, Cebu recorded notable office deals, which came from outsourcing and traditional companies including 24/7 InTouch Philippines, Aldesa BPO, Nokia and the Philippines Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, based on data from Colliers.      The bulk of these transactions were in Cebu Business Park in Cebu City. (PNA)

Globe 1st PH company to set science-based goals for climate action

July 12, 2021

Stepping up its advocacy for climate action, Globe became the first and only Philippine company listed by the Science-Based Target initiative (SBTi) to commit to Business Ambition for 1.5 and has officially joined as a participant of the Race to Zero. The company has been a supporter of the #RacetoZero global campaign, spearheaded by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and COP26 Presidency, and the GSMA, an international mobile industry body, since its launch in 2020.      Globe’s commitment to establish science based targets and net-zero emissions by 2050 are in line with the Paris Agreement and #RacetoZero Campaign. The Paris agreement aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. Race to Zero is the UN-backed global campaign rallying non-state actors – including companies, cities, regions, financial and educational institutions – to take rigorous and immediate action to halve global emissions by 2030 and deliver a healthier, fairer zero carbon world by 2050.      All members are committed to the same overarching goal of reducing emissions across all scopes swiftly and fairly in line with the Paris Agreement, with transparent action plans and robust near-term targets. Led by the High-Level Climate Champions for Climate Action – Nigel Topping and Gonzalo Muñoz – Race To Zero mobilizes actors outside of national governments to join the Climate Ambition Alliance, which was launched at the UNSG’s Climate Action Summit 2019 by the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera.      Its sibling campaign – Race to Resilience – was launched at the 2021 Climate Adaptation Summit. It is the UN-backed global campaign to catalyse a step-change in global ambition for climate resilience, putting people and nature first in pursuit of a resilient world where we don’t just survive climate shocks and stresses, but thrive in spite of them.      “We recognize the critical need to take action now to counter climate change. The imminent crisis is already threatening people, businesses, and economies worldwide. Companies like ours have a vital role to play, utilizing innovations, technologies, and expertise to decarbonize our operations and serve as a guidepost for other organizations to follow,” said Ernest L Cu, Globe President and CEO.      Over the next 24 months, Globe will set verifiable science-based targets through SBTi, which will independently assess the company’s direct and indirect emissions reduction targets. SBTi enables private companies to set science-based emission reduction targets. It is a partnership between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).  Direct emissions include fuel combustion on-site from owned vehicles and generator sets, while indirect emissions cover electricity purchases and use of the organization.      Paul Simpson, CEO of CDP, one of SBTi’s partners, said: “The science is clear: to limit the catastrophic impacts of climate change, we must ensure warming does not exceed 1.5°C. The ambition is high, but it’s achievable — and science-based targets give companies a roadmap for getting there. Corporations worldwide have an unprecedented opportunity to be at the very forefront of the transition to a net-zero economy — and there is no time to lose.”      Globe has been making significant inroads towards its sustainability goals in recent years. Since 2019, the company has shifted to buying energy directly from power plants producing renewable energy. Today, its headquarters in Taguig, together with six offices and facilities in Makati, Quezon City, Tarlac, and Cebu, are powered by renewables. More locations are scheduled to start running on alternative sources of energy.      Likewise, the company has deployed over 7,400 Green Network Solutions such as hybrid generators, free cooling systems, and lithium-ion batteries to reduce its carbon footprint while opting for renewable energy solutions like solar panels and fuel cells at its cell sites.      These initiatives complement the company’s continued implementation of the internationally-recognized Environmental Management System (ISO 14001:2015) under the Integrated Management Systems (IMS). IMS also covers process quality and occupational health and safety across the organization.      To ensure best-in-class sustainability practices, Globe, early this year, announced its support of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) which forms the foundation of the company’s climate change strategy moving forward.      “Business as usual is no longer an option. Setting and working towards science-based targets will help protect our consumers and us against future disruptions. The zero-carbon transformation of Globe’s business is already unlocking many economic opportunities, enhancing competitiveness, creating jobs, and sustainable growth. Doing good makes good business sense,” Cu added.      From waste management to electronic SIM cards to cashless transactions, the company’s wide range of sustainability programs make operations more efficient and produce new revenue streams.      This commitment coincides with the Philippine Environment month. In line with this celebration, Globe is encouraging Filipinos to take part in climate action by properly disposing of electronic waste (e-waste). Globe At Home rewards its customers who swap their existing devices in exchange for new, advanced WiFi units with its “Swap and Save” campaign. Customers will receive a 500-peso discount for Globe MyFi LTE-Advanced and Home Prepaid WiFi LTE-Advanced devices when they drop-off their existing prepaid Globe MyFi, WiFi stick or Home Prepaid WiFi at any of the 48 participating Globe Stores on or before August 21 this year.      Globe’s SBTi commitment supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG), specifically UN SDG No. 13 calling for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.      To learn more about how to create a Globe of Good and make a difference visit

Vivant doubles growth in power retail marketing

June 28, 2021

DESPITE a Covid-limped year, Garcia-led Vivant Energy Corporation is well on its way to doubling the growth of its capacity in the retail electricity market – with it aiming for 25 megawatts by yearend from a current portfolio of more than 13MW.      “Right now, we are at 13.4MW, and based on what we have under negotiations, we would be ending the year with 25MW capacity of contracted capacity for retail supply,” Vivant Energy Executive Vice President and COO Emil Andre M. Garcia said. He expounded that the firm’s targeted clients are those in the 1.0-megawatt and higher base of electricity usage – and fundamentally, these are industries and big-ticket commercial establishments.      “A lot of them are in the 1.0MW range, that’s our niche market – lots of them are in the industrial space. And as far as the location, most of them are mainly in Visayas and Luzon,” Garcia specified.      The Vivant executive qualified that the customers they are catering to in the Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA) frame are strategically spread in the country’s two main power grids, hence, that is giving the company “right customer diversity’ in the power retailing sphere.      Garcia further explained “one of the reasons why there was a sudden growth in RES, because of Covid, a lot of things had slowdown. But now that a lot of things are opening up, a lot of the negotiations have continued, that’s why we’ve been able to grow that by yearend.”      Via its licensed retail electricity supplier (RES) subsidiary Corenergy Inc., Vivant Energy has introduced to targeted contestable customers “all-inclusive services” and tailor-fitted solutions to meet their energy needs.      As prescribed under the RCOA policy, contestable customers are those end-users that can already exercise ‘power of choice’ and directly contract their electricity requirements from preferred suppliers.      The suite of solutions that will be offered to targeted clients, according to Vivant, will include satisfying their energy needs, option for solar rooftop solution as well as engineering solutions or energy business solutions that stretches beyond the meter.      Solar rooftop solution is one investment domain that the company has been widening its business grips on – and it is also part of the package that they will be offering to clients in the electricity retail market space.      The RES unit of the company was registered with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in October 2012. Vivant Energy stepped up on its RES business last year.      The company indicated it is procuring supply “from a diverse mix of sources,” as it primarily takes into consideration the reliability of service as well as the cost impact on a particular customer.

Jollibee Foods optimistic of 2022 economic rebound

June 28, 2021

THE country’s largest fast food chain is confident that economic recovery is underway this year and even stronger in 2022.      Jollibee Foods Corp. chairman Tony Tancaktiong said during the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting Friday that the company is “encouraged and confident that the Philippine economic recovery will be underway within 2021” with the increasing vaccination rate.      More than 8.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines were already administered in the country.      Tancaktiong said many of the employees of the Jollibee Group have been vaccinated through their respective local governments, but the company will also provide free Covid-19 vaccine to those who have yet to be inoculated as well as giving vaccine access to their dependents.      “Close to 90 percent of our employees will be vaccinated. We, in Jollibee Group, is one with the country’s efforts in addressing the pandemic,” he added.      With the firm’s optimism in economic recovery this year, Jollibee Group chief executive officer Ernesto Tanmantiong said the company will be opening 450 stores this year, spending a record-high P12.2 billion.      Tanmantiong said its international business will drive the Group’s expansion, especially in China, Vietnam, and North America.      “With the positive outlook for China and USA given their earlier recovery from the pandemic, and the Philippines’ recovery underway as restrictions are lifted and vaccination rollout, we will accelerate our new stores expansion in the months ahead,” he said.      The executive added that in 2022, Jollibee Group expects to open at least 500 stores similar to its expansion rate prior to the pandemic and even higher than 500 stores in the succeeding years.      “The global crisis made more apparent the advantages of the geographical diversification of our business. We continued to invest for long-term growth even amid the pandemic in countries that presented opportunities,” Tanmantiong said.      Jollibee Group has 17 brands in 33 countries, with 5,815 stores worldwide as of end-May 2021. (PNA)

Vivant allots P5-B for power projects until 2023

June 21, 2021

VIVANT Corp. said on Thursday that it is allocating P5 billion in capital expenditures (capex) to finance its power projects until 2023, as the listed energy company detailed its plans to focus on renewable energy (RE).      “We’re allocating P5 billion in capex… for all power projects over the next three years so that’s until 2023,” Vivant Senior Vice-President for Power Emil Andre M. Garcia said during a press briefing on Thursday when the company held its annual stockholders meeting.      “We’re looking at all the types of generation for that,” he said.      However, he added that a “large” portion of the budget is dedicated to RE undertakings.      Mr. Garcia said that Vivant is allotting around P3 billion for power projects this year.      During the briefing, the official of the Cebu-based firm also detailed plans to focus on the solar rooftop sector.      “On the solar rooftop side, we’ll be ending the year with around 10 to 11 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity, and we have in the pipeline another 13 MW… Right now, we’re funding everything via equity so roughly its around $600[,000] to $800,000 per MW of the total project cost,” Mr. Garcia said.      Shem Jose W. Garcia, Vivant’s assistant vice-president for corporate communications and business development innovation, said the firm is planning to ramp up on RE projects in the coming years.      “What we have in the pipeline — we should be able to hit (or) increase our RE portfolio by 100 MW by 2023,” he said.      Vivant is hoping to add more renewables in its portfolio mix, which is currently made up of “95% conventional” power sources.      Vivant previously said its net income attributable to its parent firm decreased by 38% to P1.4 billion for the full-year 2020, as revenues declined.


Subscribe Now!

Receive email updates from Business Week.