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09:50 PM February 26th, 2013

By: the staff, February 26th, 2013 09:50 PM

This Western Visayan electricity distributor is now sending shockwaves to stakeholders as P825 million of hard-earned funds—equivalent to more than half of its total cash holdings and more so of its equity—have been trapped in Export and Industry Bank, which was shut down by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas last year.

Management has admitted to stockholders that the company was in a “challenging situation” that would require “a lot of hard work and prayers” after being caught offguard by Export Bank’s closure, based on documents obtained by Biz Buzz.

All along, the utility had assumed that Banco de Oro would step in last year as the bank’s white knight, but a court case with nagging implications on contingent liabilities soured the much-awaited takeover deal.

But having a large stash of cash going down the drain due to the closure of one of its banks is not all that this utility needs to address. This utility was ordered by the Energy Regulatory Commission years ago to refund customers due to overcharging. It was also required to follow a certain amount committed for capital expenditures and this was feared to be in limbo. If the company’s financial standing is weakened by this significant loss, its capability to provide a level of service that its stakeholders require is now put into question.

This company’s franchise is also bound to expire in a few years. Given the company’s woes and unless there’s a sudden change in its (mis)fortunes, rough sailing in Congress is seen to be more likely than not. Doris C. Dumlao

On a roll

Still enjoying the halo effect of having brought economist Nouriel Roubini to the Philippines recently—and having the world renowned “Dr. Doom” give a rosy prognosis for the country—the investment banking arm of the Metrobank group is all set to enjoy another set of laurels.

According to our source, First Metro Investment Corp. will be given a set of awards by Philippine Dealing and Exchange Corp. (the country’s bond exchange) during the latter’s annual awarding ceremonies on Thursday for the country’s best financial institutions that deal with fixed income securities (a.k.a. bonds or tradeable debt instruments).

Based on the trading activities on the bond exchange in 2012, FMIC is set to be named the country’s top brokerage house for corporate securities and the top corporate securities market maker. It was also ranked second in the fixed income broker category, and third in both the fixed income dealer and the corporate issue manager categories.

Perhaps more importantly, FMIC will also be awarded the “Cesar EA Virata Award” for investment houses. This is the highest award given to a bank or investment house for trading performance monitored by PDEx.

FMIC is a repeat winner in this category, having also won the plum last year when the award was first introduced.

In an industry where bragging rights count a lot, we hear that some FMIC officials are now thumbing their noses at rival firms, especially BDO Capital and BPI Capital. Daxim L. Lucas

Gaga over Gaggenau

Businessman Alfred Ty has just cooked up a deal with German brand Gaggenau to supply the kitchen appliances at the 45-story Grand Hyatt Residences at Federal Land’s block in Fort Bonifacio Global City.

Gaggenau is to kitchen appliances what Porsches and Lamborghinis are to exotic cars—extremely pricey and cutting edge in design and performance.

Gaggenau refrigerators, cook tops and ovens will be standard equipment in all 220 units of the Grand Hyatt, including the entry-level unit, which sells for a little over P20 million.

The deal was done just in time before the arrival last week of Grand Hyatt’s top brass from Chicago who were in town to comb through every corner of the design plans for the luxury pads.

Grand Hyatt is currently the leader in hotel occupancy and food and beverage services in Asia’s major cities and its officials are making sure that Federal Land’s hotel and condo are up to par with the American hotel brand’s standards.

Residents will enjoy concierge services of the adjacent five-star hotel similar to the lifestyle currently enjoyed by the lucky few living at the Raffles Residences in Makati. But unlike the Raffles, the Hyatt Grand Residences is in a separate tower from the hotel, which provides more security and privacy for its residents. Gil Cabacungan

Mr. Bipolar

It’s not uncommon for people in the workplace to tease “moody” colleagues or tag irritable superiors as “bipolar.”

Jokes aside, bipolar disorders among workers could cut office productivity if left unmanaged, officials said at the recent Management Association of the Philippines membership meeting, where a program was unveiled to inform business leaders about what is also commonly known as manic-depressive illness.

The talk turned light, at least in one corner of the audience, as attendees recalled one public servant sometimes called “bipolar” (perhaps not to his face) for unpredictable bouts of irritability and sharp responses to questions.

Among the famous bipolars are Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Plato, Wolfgang Amadeus-Mozart, Virginia Woolf, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Ted Turner. If it ever turns out that Mr. Public Servant is indeed bipolar, at least he’d be in interesting company. Riza T. Olchondra

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