Biz Buzz: Ambassador Manny PangilinanBy the staff
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Amid rising tension between the Philippines and China, businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan flew to Beijing a few days ago to meet with officials of China’s biggest offshore oil and gas producer, China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC)—which is owned by the Chinese government—to discuss oil/gas exploration prospects in Recto Bank.
An industry source said the meeting had gone “very well” and that it looks like Philex Petroleum (which controls Forum Energy plc) will indeed end up working with China in Recto Bank.
A Filipino banker said in jest that this exploration could be a “grand conspiracy” between MVP and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario (who used to work for the MVP group) to find a diplomatic solution to diffuse the tension in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
So instead of this major gas find (that’s even bigger than Malampaya) heating up the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China, working together on a commercial basis is seen doing the opposite.
The source close to MVP lent some credence to the banker’s theory.
The source said this coming to terms with CNOOC—although the details are still sketchy at this time—will not only positively affect business but also the geopolitical environment (which could otherwise dampen the euphoria over the gas find).
“It should augur well for the country!” the source said.—Doris Dumlao
The ADB money trail
Last week’s Asian Development Bank annual meeting not only brought out the best in the country (its “coming out party” as Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said), it also brought out the buck from the country’s biggest corporations.
Topping the list of sponsors in the Diamond category were San Miguel Corp., its unit Petron Corp., the SM group, its banking unit BDO, and the “official mobility sponsor” BMW.
(We hear that Diamond sponsors shelled out $500,000 each.)
The next tier—Gold—had Ayala Corp., Globe Telecom, the First Pacific group, its local unit Metro Pacific and Hyundai.
Silver sponsors included the Development Bank of the Philippines, HSBC, the Land Bank of the Philippines and Standard Chartered Bank.
Finally, Bronze sponsors for the event were Deutsche Bank, First Metro Investments Corp., Morgan Stanley, Unionbank and UBS.
The SM group, of course, provided the venue for the events in the Philippine pavilion at the SMX complex, while the most high-profile officials, media-wise at least, were the leaders of the Ayala and Gokongwei groups.
Surprisingly, the San Miguel group, which shelled out a large stash of cash for sponsorships, opted to stay low key.—Daxim L. Lucas
Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas may want to reconsider his plan to force airlines to cut their flights at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila, all to reduce flight delays.
One industry official says asking budget airlines, which have driven the growth of air travel in the country, to cut flights may have dire consequences on the Aquino administration’s tourism program.
If flights are reduced to 36 per hour (down from the average of 46 to 50 today), roughly 115 flights per day would be canceled. This means seven million less passengers a year, assuming that there are about 180 passengers per flight.
Not only would the Department of Tourism’s goal of increasing foreign tourists to 10 million by 2016, from three million in 2010, not be met, arrivals may even shrink, the official said.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez has yet to speak out on the issue, but the official said the government should find a win-win solution, instead of just punishing local airlines.—Paolo Montecillo
New man at NEDA?
The latest buzz is that Malacañang is considering candidates from the University of the Philippines School of Economics for the top post at the National Economic and Development Authority.
If the indications prove true, there could be a new man at NEDA’s helm soon, and nearly just as soft-spoken as the present one.
Economic Planning Sec. Cayetano W. Paderanga Jr. could not be reached for comment on this latest buzz.
Several times in the past, word had spread that the country’s top economist would be leaving his post to go back to private practice. Just as many times, the switch did not take place.
Since returning to the Philippines from his teaching stint in Japan to serve again as director general of NEDA, Paderanga (who also served under President Cory Aquino) has hinted several times that he would not be staying long.
In the end, of course, it’s up to President Aquino whether or not there would be a new man in NEDA.—Riza T. Olchondra
Unkind to minorities
This publicly listed financial institution has so much room to improve on its corporate governance and concern for minority investors.
It recently convened a stockholders’ meeting to approve the sale of assets to a new investor but appeared to be half-hearted in doing so. It filed its definitive information sheet and notice of meeting to shareholders with the PSE too late for online posting (posted only on the day itself and after the meeting had begun). This meant that investors whose shares were held by their brokers were disenfranchised.
It called for a meeting at a punitive hour—8 a.m.—and even started it about 15 minutes ahead of schedule. From the start, management had already set the tone that they would not entertain objections or questions.
In addition, the 2010 and 2011 financial statements were filed only during that meeting. The sale of assets—a deal that was four years in the making—was inevitable, but the company could have explained it better to the minority investors.—Doris C. Dumlao
More MSCI guessing games
DMCI Holdings and Philex Mining have been previously cited as among the market’s top picks for prospective inclusion in the next MSCI Philippine index rebalancing by Morgan Stanley Capital International this month. JG Summit, which recently widened its public float, has also been cited.
But the list of candidates has apparently expanded, with some also betting on the potential inclusion of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. Initially, MPI was only riding on the euphoria over the natural gas exploration prospects of Philex Petroleum, but after MPI remained buoyant after the gas exploration euphoria died down, it must be the MSCI guessing game at work.-Doris C. Dumlao
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Tags: ADB annual meeting , Air Transport , China , Manuel V. Pangilinan , MSCI Philippine index , National Economic and Development Authority , oil and gas – upstream activities , Philippines , stockholders’ meeting