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Biz Buzz: Southern alliance

/ 11:08 PM April 21, 2013

After the Panlilio group’s long search for a partner to unlock values out of its vast seaside landbank in Cavite, we won’t be surprised if property giant Ayala Land Inc. soon comes into the picture in a bid to replicate south of Metro Manila in its northern resort community Anvaya Cove.

ALI is in discussions on a prospective property deal with Boulevard Holdings Inc. involving some of the group’s landbank such as the 3,000-hectare Puerto Azul complex. This is widely believed to be a strategic move for ALI, which is aggressively expanding its footprint across the country. This is especially since rival SM group has already established its own beachfront leisure empire in the south with the 5,000-ha Hamilo Coast in neighboring Nasugbu, Batangas.

But from what we gather, any prospective deal will not involve the acquisition of BHI, as some stock pundits theorize. “I don’t think it’s related to the company itself. Probably, there are some properties that our people are talking about. It could be [us] buying some properties but not an M&A (merger and acquisition),” said ALI president Antonino Aquino, noting that ALI’s strategy has mostly been to form joint ventures and not take over listed holding companies. “We’re looking at all options relative to those possibilities,” he said.


Bobby Dy, ALI executive vice president, said in a separate interview that the company was “always on the lookout for opportunities.” Doesn’t ALI have too much on its plate now given its other resort community projects in Palawan and Anvaya in Bataan? Dy said: “There are different markets that we serve wherever we’re present. The market is big enough.”

The Anvaya Cove township model may also be replicated in Palawan where ALI has a 300-ha landbank bordered by a three-kilometer beachfront. Although its El Nido operations are for now focused on only four low-density high-end resorts, plans are underway to introduce residential products. Any township project in this pristine area, ALI assured, would be respectful of the environment. If there’s going to be any conflict between nature and development, ALI would always act to favor nature, Aquino said. Doris C. Dumlao

Done deal

THE SALE of the 218-megawatt Angat hydroelectric power plant in Bulacan may soon be a done deal.

Following the signing of a new memorandum of agreement over the water protocol last week, insiders disclosed that state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. was now finalizing the date for the awarding of the “certificate of effectivity” to Korea Water Resources Corp. (K-Water), three years after the company won the bidding for the Angat power facility.

Sources said the awarding of this certificate to the leading water resources and power firm in South Korea signaled the “official start of effectivity of asset purchase agreement” or the contract that governs the sale of the power facility to an entity. One insider pegged the date of the awarding on April 23, Tuesday, but another source said PSALM has not set a final date yet. But whatever the date may be, one thing is sure: the Angat hydropower facility will have a new owner very soon. Amy R. Remo

Win-win for PNCC

PHILIPPINE National Construction Corp. (PNCC) chair and president Luis Sison is apparently more than happy to keep remitting dividends to the government, despite a case filed by a William Gatchalian-controlled minority shareholder of the state-owned firm.


The company, Forum Holdings Corp., recently asked the courts to allow PNCC to keep its profits (naturally, since this would benefit the shareholders) instead of remitting them to the government as dividends. But Sison—who has time and again played a crucial role in helping preserve the assets of PNCC—said that remitting dividends to the government is a fact of life for state-owned firms.

“In fact I was part of that decision [to turn over the funds to the government] and voted for the remittance,” he said. “It was unanimous.”

He pointed out that if Forum’s case prospers, and the courts order that the funds stay with PNCC, it will still redound to the benefit of the state firm, and by extension, the state. Sison points out that Gatchalian attempted to buy the government’s stake in PNCC early in the last decade for a mere P1.2 billion, but this was thwarted by the courts.

“PNCC is worth at least 25 times that if the government would already allow us to build the Connector Road with Citra,” he said. This, of course, is the not the first time Sison is fighting to preserve PNCC’s health. He was  instrumental several years ago in fending off an attempt by would-be creditors of the firm to takeover its assets. Having done this, Sison helped save PNCC and Filipino taxpayers an estimated P18 billion worth of valuable land. Daxim L. Lucas

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