Biz Buzz: Will it be Ayala or SM?


An anticipated annual shareholders’ meeting of the Ortigas clan’s flagship holding firm, OCLP Holdings, may push through Friday in an event that could tip the balance of power within the company’s board in favor of Zobel-led Ayala Land Inc. over rival SM Investments, led by the country’s richest man Henry Sy.

But SM’s allies within OCLP Holdings are still moving to postpone the meeting, possibly for the third time this year, through the Court of Appeals. The plan remains the same: to force the Ayala-backed faction to enter into arbitration proceedings to settle their disputes as contained in OCLP Holdings shareholders’ agreement.

Both Ayala Land and SM, through their Ortigas allies known as the Rafael Ortigas group and the Fernando Ortigas group, respectively, have been at a stalemate since last year as neither side has a majority stake.

But highly placed sources told Biz Buzz that Rafael’s group might have finally enlisted the backing of the influential Roman Catholic Church, the single-biggest non-Ortigas shareholder with a 9-percent stake.

This makes a scenario for Ayala Land to gain “management control”—without necessarily buying out the shareholders—very possible.

SM, on the other hand, had proposed to buy out the shareholdings of Fernando’s side and those of Rafael’s side, whose group initially agreed before backing out of the deal.

OCLP Holdings still owns an attractive landbank of 55 hectares in Metro Manila, including the iconic Greenhills Shopping Center and parts of the Ortigas business district, hence, Ayala Land and SM’s keen interest.

Right now, Fernando’s group is keen on pursuing an initial public offering, possibly by March 2014, which observers pointed out would be a more amicable outcome for both Ortigas factions.

However, relations between the two remain delicate and tense and it appears that an amicable solution will remain elusive as ever.—Miguel R. Camus

K-Water deadlock

Contrary to “misinformation” that it was no longer keen on taking over the 218-megawatt hydropower Angat plant that it won from a bidding years ago, Korea Water Resources Corp. (K-Water) is still very much keen on clearing the stumbling blocks and closing the purchase. Neither is it true that K-Water is haggling for a discount on the purchase price.

“Somebody is trying to scuttle the deal,” a source from K-Water said, noting that since the Supreme Court has upheld the validity of the sale of the plant to the Korean firm, talks are ongoing with the government to resolve the remaining issues.

The Koreans actually want the bidding terms retained but an auxillary plant of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System will eat up the water rights originally committed for its use when the power plant was bid out in 2010. Under the original bidding terms, 58 cubic meter per second (cms) will be made available for power generation but the MWSS wants 15 cms for its 28-MW auxillary power plant.

To break the deadlock, K-Water has proposed to the government two alternatives to make it “whole:” For the MWSS to compensate K-Water for the value of the 15 cms, which is estimated at $8 million a year for the next 20 years or K-Water to be allowed to operate the 28-MW auxillary plant instead of bidding it out to another investor and the Korean firm, in turn, will give the proceeds from generation of up to 9 cms or about $4.2 million a year and any additional water that MWSS is able to course through the Angat dam later.

If the MWSS has other alternatives to compensate for eating up on its water rights, the K-Water source said the Koreans were willing to listen.

Some say that those who want K-Water out of the picture are concerned that K-Water will just flip to either the Metro Pacific or San Miguel groups. But while the Koreans are indeed in talks with these groups on a strategic partnership, K-Water is not walking away from the project.—Doris C. Dumlao

‘Silent’ NCIP under fire

The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) is the government agency tasked to look after the welfare of the country’s “katutubo” tribes, especially where these peoples’ lives are affected by external factors like mining.

If you listen to some concerned groups, however, the NCIP has been found wanting in carrying out several of its key mandates. In fact, a group of indigenous peoples’ organizations recently went all they way up to the United Nations to protest what they believed was the disservice being done to them by this government agency.

These groups prepared a statement that was read by Fr. Rex Reyes Jr. during the 12th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues last May 30 in New York. Fr. Reyes is associated with the Stop the Killing of Indigenous Peoples Network in the Philippines and secretary general of the National Council of Churches of the Philippines.

In his speech, the prelate hit the NCIP for being “silent on the violation of human rights of indigenous peoples brought about by massive resource extraction.”

The NCIP, he said, also “remains silent on a Philippine mining bill that places the interest of indigenous people at the back seat in the name of foreign investment and development.

“It remains silent on the extrajudicial killings of indigenous peoples, 35 cases of which are documented under the current president. It remains silent on the harassment of indigenous peoples human rights workers like Jude Baggo, conducted by the state’s security forces,” he added. “It remains silent on the state’s anti-insurgency policy that undermines human rights and civil liberties.”

Worse, Fr. Reyes related that during a dialogue between an indigenous group and the head of the NCIP, “the NCIP head told her audience that if they had no land titles, they had nothing to talk about.”

One solution? Fr. Reyes wants the government to put the NCIP under the scrutiny of an independent body that will closely monitor its effectiveness in executing its mandate.

There have been reports that NCIP’s chair, Brigida Zenaida Pawid, has been reappointed by Malacañang to the agency, but it remains unclear whether as chair or just one of the commissioners. Given the delicate relations between the country’s indigenous peoples and the mining industry, this issue bears watching closely.—Daxim L. Lucas

Get business alerts and a preview of Biz Buzz the evening before it comes out. Text ON INQ BUSINESS to 4467 (P2.50/alert).

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Guest

    Poor K-Water. The oligarchs are just too greedy. Learn to work with them if you want to make it in the Philippines.

    • batangpaslit

      profits is not necessarily dirty. profits is business’ equivalent to wages of the workers. but if as you said, greed is the motivation in engaging business, then that is altogether a different story.

  • batangpaslit

    paano nakinabang ang bayang pilipinas dito sa mga tulad nitong mga business expansion or development?

    • clanwolf

      Uh. More employment, taxes, business activity, increased property values, improvement of the areas’ security, generally most of the things Pnoy is bad at doing.

      • batangpaslit

        Bro, impressive!
        My follow-up question, however, is: how effective is the collection system of our government agencies who were mandated to collect revenues for the national coffer?
        Moreover, the collected revenues for the national coffer, how certain are the Filipinos that it will not be systematically stolen by way of having more Ms Napoles creating bogus foundations and appropriate pork barrel funds for bogus projects?
        Kaunti lang ang nakinabang…

      • clanwolf

        BIR is doing an adequate job. But Physical therapist Biazon consistently failed to achieve his targets. It seems those following the law are penalized. On the other hand, Napoles, a client of ES Ochoa’s law firm and others of her ilk will have business as usual. The budget has been signed already. Pnoy cannot feign ignorance of such practices. Would the PDAF bribe during the impeachment work if there was no tacit understanding that it would be converted later on using tried and tested deception methods? Lets not even start with a CCT program administered by Dinky Soliman, former head of CODE NGO which made LOTS of money on the PEACE BONDS scam. Napoles only followed a trail blazed by Dinky.

      • batangpaslit

        so, everything are just façade.
        if the Cabinet Secretary entrusted with public funds had figured in shenanigan activities in the past and this present controversial cash transfers; if the inner sanctorum of the Office of the President is headed by a chap who is lawyering for scammers and schemers—where is the Philippines going?

      • clanwolf

        Havent you heard? Were the gateway to hell.

      • batangpaslit

        did come across of the item; but, never got hold of the book. am up here at the North of 63-73, far from civilization. personally, I find your riposte extremely informative.

      • clanwolf

        Hehe. Unlike noytards, i made peace with my hypocrisy.

      • batangpaslit

        you mean, you are in privy to what you shared with the readers?
        so, you’re coming out albeit concealed with clean breast.
        it is cathartic for the soul…

      • clanwolf

        You cant pass by garbage without smelling the stink. You cant talk to cretins without them talking about their sheninigans.

      • batangpaslit

        Bro, you are a “gold mine” of info that investigative journalists are seeking for. You are a veritable source of firsthand info.
        Very authoritative, not hearsay info.
        I am privilege that you oblige me with replies and shared your insights being a personal witness to the wrongs going on. You’re poetic too in your lines.
        Indeed, am impressed and grateful.

      • clanwolf

        Well, just on the face, this admin is already comedic in a Brechtian, absurd sort of way. The loose women following the immoral example of national slot Kris Aquino barely compensates.

      • batangpaslit

        talagang galit ka, Bro, sa mga pangyayari, eh?
        pati ang kapatid, nadale….hahaha.

      • clanwolf

        Actually, the national slot Kris is his saving grace. Its a signal to the country that women can be seks maniacs and still be respectable. You can imagine the amount of bed hopping she made possible by her sterling example.

      • batangpaslit

        you can write an excellent satire, eh?
        tell me more
        Bro, am really impressed.

      • clanwolf

        I wish it were a talent bro. But with mongoloid Noy, it’s just like picking garbage off the ground. In fact, Inquirer is actually a surprisingly predictable newspaper. You can tell they’re printing a lie every time they start have an article with “President Aquino” in it.

      • batangpaslit

        media power.
        writers have no freedom what to write, except the media owner.
        you mean, mouthpiece ang PDI ni PNoy?
        on satire writing, cultivate it. who knows.
        the late Joe Guevarra is a satire writer….when I was a student, I always read his curt columns.
        I befriended his youngest son who is not working with SMC

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos