Biz Buzz: The ties that bindBy the staff
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Sudono Salim, aka Liem Sioe Liong, may have passed away over the weekend, but don’t expect any earthshaking changes at the First Pacific group, much less at one of the biggest Philippine conglomerates, the PLDT Group.
While Salim—who died of old age at 95 last Sunday—is the patriarch of Indonesia’s largest business group and owner of Hong Kong-based First Pacific, the day-to-day operations of the huge business empire have been taken care of by his son Anthoni Salim for many years now.
Under the younger Salim, the empire, which includes noodle-maker Indofood, has grown to employ as many as 100,000 people spanning several industries around the world. Anthoni chairs First Pacific, whose assets are mainly invested in the Philippines, thanks to the trust tycoon Manny Pangilinan enjoyed with the Salim patriarch.
Those who have been predicting fireworks between Anthoni Salim and MVP will likely be disappointed, however, as both gentlemen have reportedly come to respect each other’s strengths (as opposed to the “sibling rivalry” rumor that sometimes goes around about them).
“That’s more myth than reality,” said one Filipino businessman who has dealt with both men. “Remember the golden rule: he who has the gold…”
Anthoni Salim is, of course, estimated to be worth $8.5 billion. So there.—Daxim L. Lucas
CPA, for a change?
Three months after the term of Securities and Exchange Commissioner Raul Palabrica ended, the Palace has yet to appoint a successor, although several names have been floated around.
According to the grapevine, one prominent candidate is auditing veteran David Balangue, who retired as chair of SGV in 2009. Balangue was among those who questioned the legality of a proposed SGV integration with Ernst & Young.
If and when Balangue joins the SEC en banc, it will be a rarity in the lawyer-dominated commission. The nomination, said to be backed by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Balangue’s former colleague in SGV, is expected to inject a fresh perspective into the top brass of the corporate watchdog. Also nominated to the post, as earlier reported in this column, was lawyer Hubert Guevara, a former director of the SEC enforcement and prosecution department and, more significantly, a kin of a Liberty Party stalwart.
In the meantime, Palabrica (a former PLDT official and Inquirer ombudsman) is carrying over the term while the Palace is mulling over its options.—Doris C. Dumlao
Selling manpower unit
What do ABS-CBN, the Asian Development Bank and SM Malls have in common aside from being iconic institutions? They all tap the janitorial services of Environment and General Services Inc. (EGSI), a unit of the APC Group which, in turn, is Belle Corp.’s mining and energy affiliate.
But because APC is moving toward power and infrastructure, it is putting up for sale this cleaning and manpower outsourcing services company.
Despite its reputable list of clients, APC has to let go of EGSI—which has about 2,400 employees and a yearly turnover of P300 million to P400 million. “We want to focus on our core businesses,” says APC chair and president Willy Ocier.
EGSI incurred a net loss in 2011 of P3.4 million from P2.5 million in 2010, which was attributed to the increase in operational costs. But based on APC’s annual report, its revenue is expected to improve in 2012 because of an order from the Department of Labor and Employment pegging the allowed mark-up on service contracts to 10 percent effective Dec. 5, 2011. The previous mark-up ranged from 2.5 to 10 percent.—Doris C. Dumlao
Keeping the faith
A publicly listed mining company that recently underwent management restructuring is said to be in “soul searching” mode as mismanagement in the past had drained company resources and turned off prospective investors.
We wonder whether the former bosses of the company are also waxing existentialist. Our sources said they were “well compensated” and one of them was already working on another potentially lucrative project. Think “Diwalwal” to put two and two together.
To those who have just joined or remained in the company, we wish you the best of luck!—Riza T. Olchondra
Waiting for Godot
In recent weeks, attendees at several mining-related events have been asking one another whether the mining policy will come out, and come out soon.
There have been several “false alarms,” however, including one where the policy would have been released before the President’s trip to the United Kingdom and the United States.
Sources said the people crafting the policy have yet to present a concrete proposal on profit-sharing, which is the main sticky point in the whole body of policy/directives. Apparently a recent meeting has been postponed “indefinitely,” and consultations may still be forthcoming regarding revenue-sharing.
Will the policy still matter by the time it comes out, in whatever form it takes? Certainly, something concrete on revenue-sharing or harmonizing national and local laws will move investors. At the very least, the government would at last restart mining applications—something that miners claimed was keeping new investments from flowing into the country.—Riza T. Olchondra
Get business alerts and a preview of Biz Buzz the evening before it comes out. Text ON INQ BUSINESS to 4467 (P2.50/alert).
Short URL: http://business.inquirer.net/?p=64833