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Biz Buzz: Cartel breaker

/ 02:18 AM January 02, 2013

Some big players in the gaming industry are somewhat peeved by the aggressive recruiting tactics of Bloomberry Resorts Corp. of ports tycoon Enrique Razon Jr.

According to our sources, the well-funded Bloomberry has been poaching staffers left and right from some of the country’s best leisure and entertainment establishments, including the booming hotel industry.

Bloomberry, as we know, will be the first to operate its hotel-casino complex among the four investors in the $4-billion Entertainment City development of the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.


And since it has announced that it will open its doors by March 2013, Bloomberry has been on a hiring binge to make sure that it will be 100-percent ready in three months.

One of the richest poaching grounds for Bloomberry is rival Resorts World Manila casino of tycoon Andrew Tan, which is also an investor in Entertainment City.

“In fact, Andrew Tan is a little piqued because of the poaching,” said our source, adding that gaming and hotel industry players had been complaining that the pirating activities had distorted pay scales across the board.

In many cases, Bloomberry has offered to double the salaries of key staffers just to lure them into its new Solaire hotel-casino operation.

“It’s so difficult to compete with them since they have money to burn,” the source said.

Even casino-hotel operators in Macau and Singapore have been targeted, we hear, with Bloomberry luring home hundreds of experienced casino professionals by at least matching (and sometimes topping) their overseas wages.

Locally, Bloomberry has also gone on a series of “recruitment road shows” around the country to attract the best and the brightest—and most visually attractive, we hear—staffers for its casinos.

The road shows are packaged as exclusive parties where the prospective hires come in their best partying attires. The most… uhmm… compelling candidates are asked to report to a separate room where the formal recruitment process is made. Nice.—Daxim L. Lucas


Old flame

Beyond speculations of rivalry among local banking titans for control of Philippine National Bank—especially now that the exclusivity period on the talks with Bank of the Philippine Island has lapsed—the latest buzz is that the Lucio Tan group is likely to rekindle discussions with an old banking flame.

Chinese banking giant Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), which has had discussions with Kapitan’s group as early as 2010, is expected to make a new move, stock pundits say.

ICBC previously considered taking over 30 branches of Allied Bank. In exchange, the Lucio Tan group was supposed to get 10 branches on the mainland.

This prospective partnership, however, was overtaken by thorny political issues, especially with the escalation of territorial tension between the Philippines and China.

But since Kapitan has big projects in his land of birth, particularly in property development, getting a Chinese partner in the banking business is not farfetched.

If and when ICBC enters the picture, it will spice up the PNB-Allied Bank play.

As to how much bearing the still ongoing Philippine-China brawl could have on this, the jury is still out.—Doris C. Dumlao

BOC takeover

Four months after striking a deal to buy a controlling stake in a local commercial bank, Bank of Commerce, Malaysian banking giant CIMB is expected to consummate its takeover this month, industry sources said.

Money will finally change hands, translating to a windfall of about P12.2 billion for San Miguel Corp., in exchange for the 60-percent stake ceded to CIMB.

As earlier reported, CIMB has found a local guy to run Philippine operations: investment banker Simon Paterno, erstwhile managing director and head of the Philippine office of Credit Suisse.

Although CIMB is entering the Philippine market much later than its closest rival back home, the acquisition of Bank of Commerce will give it a much bigger footprint of 122 branches—more than double Maybank’s local network.—Doris C. Dumlao

Who’s afraid of integration?

The Asean’s economic integration in 2015 is fast approaching. And while most sectors are waxing optimistic, industry leaders are cautioning that not everything is as rosy as it seems, and domestic firms must prepare to do battle in a bigger, more competitive arena.

“With what is happening in Europe, people are beginning to doubt Asean integration,” Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. president Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr. said.

“While everyone is talking integration positively, it is difficult to implement  given that we are more diverse than Europe in terms of varying degrees of economic and technological development, we are not one contiguous land mass, and the fact that there are different religious and political orientations per country.”

The leaders of other sectors had earlier weighed in the pros and cons of integration.

Fastfood giant Jollibee, for example, expects regional expansion and job creation. But it also sees an increase in importation once tariffs are taken out from 2015 onwards, company chief financial officer Ysmael Baysa said during a forum.

The finance sector is vulnerable, too, said BDO Unibank Inc. president Nestor Tan.

Unless local banks build more strength in the small and medium enterprise segment where they already have an edge, they may be hurt by regional integration harder than they expect, Tan explained.—Riza T. Olchondra

Gangnam Globe

When Globe Telecom Inc. posted the Oppa Gangnam Style video featuring its top brass doing the popular horse-riding dance moves during the holidays, it revealed some details about the Ayala-controlled telco’s top honchos.

It also revealed some interesting items about the company’s future moves.

For one, it revealed a lighter side to CEO Ernest Cu, who can sometimes be a demanding and short-tempered boss, we hear.

It was Cu’s wife, Arlene, who convinced him to agree to do the video, insiders say. (The other Globe brass… well… they had little choice after Cu agreed to do it.)

It also revealed how the Globe chief is a car lover.

His two favorites—a white Audi R8 (featured as the favorite ride of the character Tony Stark in the “Iron Man” movie) and a blue Porsche 911—were used in making the video.

More importantly, the video—shot at Globe’s present headquarters on Pioneer Street in Mandaluyong City—may be the last time the venue will be featured in a company undertaking.

Bought from DMCI unit, Universal Rightfield, in the aftermath of the 1997 financial crisis, the current Globe building has definitely seen better days.

Next year, Globe will move to a spanking new building in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

The new futuristic-looking edifice (currently in its final stages of construction) is located near St. Luke’s Medical Center and will be an LEED-certified “green building.”

And since company employees are obliged to promote their own products, all their transactions at the building’s cafeteria and parking lots will be made with Globe’s G-Cash mobile system.  Daxim L. Lucas

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TAGS: and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Asean integration, Bank Of Commerce, Banking, Bloomberry Resorts, CIMB, employee poaching, Ernest Cu, gaming and casinos, Globe telecom, Oppa Gangnam Style video, Philippines, telco
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