Biz Buzz: Breakup?
Is flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) planning to end its codeshare deal with Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways?
That seems to be a possible scenario, based on a new report by think tank CAPA-Center for Aviation. The break-up of the partnership—sealed in 2014— seems underpinned by a variety of factors, including weakening Middle East yields, overcapacity and increased competition.
According to the report, the flag carrier was in fact considering cutting flights to parts of the Middle East next year, suspending even its Abu Dhabi service, described as a “weak” route, while expanding to other international markets such as China and the Untied States.
As for Etihad, apparently the codeshare deal turned out “more beneficial” for the gulf carrier and has failed to generate “significant volumes” for PAL on the Manila-Abu Dhabi route. Etihad was getting a better deal for its domestic connections in the Philippines, a benefit PAL did not have beyond Abu Dhabi.
The good news, according to CAPA, is there are other partners, such as Qatar, Gulf Air and even a resumption of an Emirates codeshare. That’s despite some tense exchanges a few years back over Emirates using contested Manila-Dubai frequencies.
We’ll watch this space closely. Until then, abangan! —MIGUEL R. CAMUS
Easing Christmas traffic
As the actual Christmas holidays draw near, the discussion—apart from all that Yuletide cheer—invariably leads to Metro Manila’s traffic headache.
Those fortunate enough to travel by plane, and basically anyone who transits around the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, are thus excited about that phase of San Miguel Corp.’s Naia Expressway that will connect to Terminal 3 of the Manila airport complex.
Opened a few months ago was a link from the Entertainment City casino complex along Manila Bay to Naia Terminals 1 and 2.
The stretch to Terminal 3, heavily used by Cebu Pacific as well as a number of international airlines, took a bit more time to finish due to numerous right of way issues along the expressway’s alignment. Those, fortunately, were hurried along with great effort from the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Of course, December 2016 was the target opening for this Terminal 3 section but an actual date has yet to be finalized. Internally, we’re hearing a Dec. 7 “target.” Our sources say the section is ready for operations.
All the remains is a toll operations permit from the Toll Regulatory Board. Hopefully that is forthcoming and motorists can start enjoying the new expressway. —MIGUEL R. CAMUS
Recognized for excellence
He and his partners went through a difficult breakup with the country’s biggest audit firm just a few years ago, but it seems that Roman Felipe “Manny” Reyes is now reaping the benefits of his bold move to start his own firm.
Reyes, the co-founder and chair of Reyes Tacandong & Co., has been selected as the winner of the 2016 edition of the Asia-Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards for the Philippines in the Professional and Business Services Industry category, Biz Buzz learned.
Organized by Enterprise Asia—a leading regional NGO for entrepreneurship development in Asia—the award recognizes each year a select few business leaders across Asia who have shown outstanding performance, presence and growth in the business community.
In the case of Reyes (who is known more as a dealmaker rather than an accountant nowadays), the award acknowledges his leadership and determination to make Reyes Tacandong become a beacon of excellence.
After just six years, the all-Filipino firm has become the fastest-growing professional services firm in the country, starting with only 20 professionals and 40 clients—and now, with more than 650 CPAs and lawyers, serving more than 2,000 clients, including a third of the top 100 companies in the Philippines in its Makati office, as well as branches in Davao, Cebu and Iloilo.
Some notable awardees from the Philippines included 2015 winners Vivian Que-Azcona of Mercury Drug Corp. and Tony Tan Caktiong of Jollibee Foods Corp. and 2016 Lifetime Achievement Awardee, Henry Sy Sr. of SM Investment Corp. Congratulations are in order. — DAXIM L. LUCAS
HSBC on a roll
For the eighth time over the last nine years, HSBC has been named “Best Bond House in the Philippines” by the financial publication The Asset.
And while every bank claims to be able to understand its institutional and corporate clients’ financing requirements, this award validated HSBC’s own claim that it could deliver quality, well-structured and tailor-fit solutions for its stakeholders, big and small.
HSBC’s debt capital markets team continued to prove its abilities in liability management—an exercise that allows issuers who have a series of outstanding high coupon bonds to buy them back at or exchange them for, lower rates under today’s markets. This enables issuers to realize interest expense savings, manage debt maturities and reduce refinancing or currency risks.
Earlier in the year, HSBC acted as global coordinator and lead manager for the Republic of the Philippines’ $2-billion 25-year bonds and accelerated 1-day switch tender offer exercise—which won “Best Bond in the Philippines” from The Asset and “Best Sovereign Deal in Asia” from Finance Asia.
Last October, HSBC also acted as dealer manager for ICTSI’s $375-million hybrid securities, which used a cascading tender offer structure to buy back securities and won “Deal of the Year in the Philippines” from Finance Asia.
In the domestic space, HSBC acted as an Associate in Globe Telecom’s P17-billion consent solicitation exercise, which also bagged The Asset’s “Best Corporate Liability Management in the Philippines.”
HSBC also proved its balance sheet strength, acting as mandated lead arranger and bookrunner in Bank of the Philippine Islands’ debut $400-million syndicated loan, this year’s winner of “Best Syndicated Loan in the Philippines” from The Asset. —DAXIM L. LUCAS