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Biz Buzz: Bizmen’s ‘backup’

/ 07:14 AM May 15, 2015

Believe it or not, quite a number of business personalities—even among the Makati Business Club crowd—are inclined to support Vice President Jejomar Binay in next year’s presidential elections, albeit veeeery quietly.

But that was before this well-organized operation against the Vice President got underway.

Now, we hear that many of these businessmen are starting to fret that the anti-Binay operation may actually bear fruit.

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As such, we hear that several of them are now scouting around for alternative 2016 presidential candidates. And by “alternative,” we don’t only mean an alternative to Binay, but also an alternative to the current crop of potential candidates like Senator Grace Poe or Interior and Local Governments Secretary Mar Roxas.

Because they are businessmen, many of them want this alternative candidate to have the welfare of the Philippine economy as his or her top priority. Indeed, many of them are smarting from what they say were too many wasted chances by the current Aquino administration in addressing very basic economic issues like the country’s weak infrastructure system.

And believe it or not, consensus is growing among these businessmen for a particular business-minded politico.

Who is he?

Previously portrayed in public as a Villain, this potential candidate may seek public Vindication for what happened six years ago, and may just end up with the Validation he desires.

The question is: Will he end up Vanquished once more, or Victorious the second time around?–Daxim L. Lucas

The Airbus cometh

One of France’s most popular aviation exports is coming to town next week in hopes of luring buyers here with its newest baby.

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Of course, we’re referring to plane maker Airbus, which is flying its long-range A350 XWB—or extra wide body—to Manila on May 20 in its product debut in the Philippines.

The move underscores the country’s growing importance in the global aviation space and is also a nod to our domestic carriers, which have been eyeing expansion moves to more distant destinations in North America and Europe.

But it doesn’t come cheap. Airbus’ 2015 price list ranges from $270 million to $428 million.

The Philippines is a naturally strong market for Airbus—the manufacturer supplies the bulk of the fleet of most of our domestic carriers. Only Philippine Airlines, in fact, has planes from its biggest competitor, United States-based Boeing, via the latter’s B777- 300ERs. —Miguel R. Camus

MVP in Asean

The MVP group has also received new offers to participate in new ventures in Southeast Asia. One of these is a $600-million toll road project in Vietnam that will link Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) to the city outskirts.

To recall, MPIC has gained a foothold in Vietnam through a 45-percent interest in CII Bridges and Roads Investment Joint Stock Co. (CII), an urban infrastructure developer in Ho Chi Minh City.

The group is keeping its option to raise its stake in CII (maximum foreign ownership limit is 49 percent). But MPTC president Ramoncito Fernandez said the strategy would be to make this existing investment “bloom” first. Nevertheless, the group has the option to join any new venture CII will undertake.

CII is expected to triple the size of its project portfolio in the next three years. It operates 17 kilometers of toll roads with daily vehicular traffic of 38,000, while 55 kilometers of new toll roads are either contracted or are being constructed, with an expected daily traffic of 43,300 vehicles.

MPIC chief finance officer David Nicol said the group was also looking at a provincial water project in Indonesia, which he said could benefit from Maynilad Water’s expertise in non-revenue water management. Some toll road projects have likewise been offered to the group.

At the same time, Nicol said, the possibility of an increase in interest in Thailand’s Don Muang Tollway Public Co. was “becoming more imminent.”–Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

E-mail us at bizbuzz@inquirer.com.ph. Get business alerts and a preview of Biz Buzz the evening before it comes out. Text ON INQ BUSINESS to 4467 (P2.50/alert).

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TAGS: A350 XWB, Air Transport, Airbus, Business, businessmen's bet, Investments, Jejomar Binay, MPIC, politics, presidential bet, roads, Vietnam
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