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Biz Buzz

/ 07:20 PM August 25, 2013

Globe’s new $200-M home

Globe Telecom Inc. may be trailing rival Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. in subscribers but if this were a race to the skies, the Zobel-led telco already claims the top prize.

We’re talking about Globe’s swanky new headquarters—naturally dubbed “Globe Tower”—located in the equally swanky Bonifacio Global City (which could end up in the hands of Taguig or Makati depending on which way the courts finally rule).


Globe said it intended to relocate its roughly 4,000 employees by September from several offices around the capital, including its former headquarters in Mandaluyong City.

The new building, which broke ground three years ago, stands 28 floors high and is aligned with globally respected LEED standards in terms of green design.

It is also envisioned to have a “clutter-free” and paperless environment.

The cost for all of this? A cool $200 million (about P8.8 billion), according to Globe senior adviser Peter Bithos.

PLDT is also considering a new headquarters of its own, which could involve buying out the entire 34-storey Alphaland Tower along Ayala Avenue in Makati City. The parties are still said to be in negotiations on what could be one of the city’s biggest real estate transactions.

PLDT has been mum on its offer but consultants like Jones Lang LaSalle estimate the building’s value at between P7 billion and P8 billion, according to its country head, David Leechiu.

Pangilinan, when asked about this during a recent briefing, noted that the top end of that range might be too high an asking price.

Then again, you don’t land on the list of Forbes Top 50 richest Filipinos because you like throwing money around. Miguel Camus



Power shift

After selling a 20-percent stake in power generation unit global Business Power Corp. (GBPC) to Orix Corp. of Japan for P7.15 billion last June, the group of taipan George Ty is likely to consolidate the remaining stake held by the Metrobank group into conglomerate GT Capital Holdings.

Metrobank, through investment banking unit First Metro Investment Corp., has a remaining interest of 29.11 percent in GBPC, which means that it can still unlock more than P10 billion (based on the pricing of the most recent deal with Orix) in extraordinary gains this year by selling the residue to the parent.

The banking unit can choose to defer the sale to GT Capital until next year so as to cushion the expected decline in net profit next year after this year’s hefty extraordinary gains. But our sources say the more likely scenario is to complete the restructuring this year ahead of the implementation of stiffer capital adequacy ratio requirements under the Basel 3 framework.

The prospective transfer of the remaining stake in GBPC to parent firm GT Capital, which already controls 50.89 percent of the power-generation unit, relieves Metrobank from large capital calls inherent in a capital-intensive business like power generation. It also allows the Metrobank group to focus on its core business of banking, whereas previously serving as the de facto holding firm for the Tys’ non-allied businesses. GT Capital now aptly serves such purpose.

This 2013 is also the year that Metrobank could end the year as the most profitable bank in the country, dislodging Bank of the Philippine Islands. Full-year net profit this year is widely expected to exceed P20 billion, partly due to one-time gains from the sale of shares in the car and power-generation businesses.  Doris C. Dumlao


Paranoid on pork

Amid the ongoing “pork barrel” controversy—and today’s (Monday) massive protest action in Rizal Park—some quarters in the Aquino administration remain deeply suspicious about the roots of the public outcry.

While initial suspicion fell on the Liberal Party as the hidden hand behind the pork barrel scam exposé (especially since many of the implicated lawmakers came from the minority), some Aquino administration officials believe that the growing flames of the public’s indignation are actually being fanned by the opposition.


“Let’s put it this way: If pork is abolished, that will also affect the administration’s ability to implement its programs,” one official said. “So it’s probably an opposition ploy.”

For the public, however, the identity of the hidden hand behind the scam does not seem to matter much, or if the movement will indeed be “hijacked,” as some administration officials fear.

Even the local business groups—normally a very fractious community—were united in condemning the pork barrel system and have called for reforms. But will real reforms be implemented? That’s the P10-billion question.  Daxim L. Lucas


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TAGS: Business, economy, Globe telecom, Investment, News, pork barrel scam
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