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Biz Buzz: PLDT tries a new tack

business / Columnists
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Biz Buzz: PLDT tries a new tack

/ 05:24 AM September 29, 2017

How does a company motivate its employees to work harder? How about P1 billion to start off with?

This seems to be the case at telco giant PLDT Inc., which approved a “transformation incentive plan,” mainly for key officers and executives.

Its main feature is the release of “rewards” in the form of PLDT common shares. Conditions, of course, involve PLDT meeting certain profit milestones until 2019.

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The amount of shares that can be rewarded would be as much as 860,000—or about P1.38 billion based on PLDT’s current market value.

Of course, it goes without saying that any paper gain (or decline) would move as PLDT hits or misses its targets. So far, the telco seems on the mend, but everything changes fast in this industry.

We see an added bonus to this exercise: it could finally reveal who might succeed PLDT’s big boss Manuel V. Pangilinan as the company’s next CEO. Pangilinan, of course, had said he was not rushing to select a successor.

Requirements are pretty typical: excellent credentials, dynamic, possibly charismatic and willing to die for the job, as Pangilinan had put it once. —MIGUEL R. CAMUS

PCC swamped

After all that talk about how change is coming, people don’t seem to talk much about what to do once it’s finally here. This was the predicament for a number of domestic companies that want to do mergers and acquisitions (M&As), especially since, for the longest time, they did not have an antitrust watchdog breathing down their necks.

So far, there are 122 notifications of mergers and notifications filed at the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) since early last year—all of which involve dealings that meet the P1-billion notification threshold.

Majority of these, according to PCC Chair Arsenio Balisacan, were between domestic firms, while only 36 involve multinational companies (MNCs).

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With other competition jurisdictions having been established much longer than the one here in the Philippines, it is expected that MNCs would have a better grasp in dealing with an antitrust body compared to their local counterparts.

“Interestingly, when it’s a foreign firm involved, they are actually very familiar with the practice abroad. Where we are encountering a lot of resistance are in domestic firms,” Balisacan said.

“But of course, that’s understandable,” he would later clarify.

Under the law, PCC has 30 days for the first phase of the review of an M&A. Pass this phase and the M&A is good to go. So far, a lot of these M&As gave PCC less reason to probe deeper. Out of 122 cases, 99 were passed within 30 days, while the remaining few reached the second phase, which lasts for 60 days.

But that’s not to say there weren’t a few roadblocks along the way. To assure a smooth review, PCC did not start the 30-day countdown unless the submissions were complete, Balisacan said. This meant that some submissions had to be returned in order to let the companies work on the requirements.

So yes, there is change, and most would agree that the change is good. But now that it’s here, it would still take some getting used to. —ROY STEPHEN CANIVEL

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