Biz Buzz: Man versus birdBy the staff
Philippine Daily Inquirer
After a brief lull, the battle for Manila Bay—or at least a portion of it—has resumed between safety advocates and aviation regulators, on one hand, and environmentalists and bird watchers, on the other. In particular, this battle, which is increasingly being waged in the publicity sphere, concerns the decades-old bird sanctuary on the fringe of Manila Bay, which also happens to be near the flight path of aircraft taking off from or landing at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Runway 06.
Amid the debate of human safety versus the environment, Biz Buzz took a look at the records lodged with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and found that there were a total of 247 bird strikes reported by one airline alone from January 2006 to August 2012. That’s an average of 35.3 potentially deadly accidents waiting to happen a year involving hundreds of airline passengers and hundreds more on the ground. (Incidentally, the month with the most number of bird strikes each year is October, most likely due to the increase in migratory birds from the Asian mainland).
For the country’s biggest carrier, Philippine Airlines, the airspace around Naia has proved to be specially problematic, costing the carrier millions of dollars in repairs for damaged jet engine blades, engine cowlings and windshields, among others.
For the same period in question, PAL reported 86 bird strikes (known in the aviation industry as BASH: bird aircraft strike hazard) around Naia. In contrast, the airline only reported nine bird strikes in Iloilo over an eight-year period and only eight in Bacolod.
Environmental groups and bird watchers have disputed these figures. (The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines is holding on Wednesday a press conference on aviation safety and bird strike incidents in relation to the Las Piñas-Parañaque critical habitat and ecotourism area, or the bird sanctuary, at Max’s Restaurant on Maria Orosa Street in Manila.)
So far, regulators and various aircraft operators based in Naia have been pushing for the relocation of the bird sanctuary to little avail, given the strong environmental lobby in the country at present.
But the new data about the hazards these migratory birds pose to aircraft and passengers are something to consider. It remains to be seen if the bird lovers (as well as some influential business concerns riding on the issue) will accede to the proposal to move the bird sanctuary—if this is indeed possible—to another location out of the planes’ flight path.—Daxim L. Lucas
7-Eleven’s new investor
Shares of the country’s biggest convenience store operator Philippine Seven Corp. (which is listed under the ticker SEVN) traded extraordinarily on Monday as foreign funds made inroads into the retail chain. This is, of course, seen as another vote of confidence on the Filipino consumer.
Suffice to say, the new investor is a “long-term fund that manages Ivy League endowments, among others,” PSC chief executive officer Victor Paterno says. About 41 million shares of SEVN were crossed by Deutsche Bank at P70 each on Monday, equivalent to nearly 12 percent of the retailer’s outstanding shares. The shares crossed were worth about P2.9 billion.
“Yes, that’s mostly them,” Paterno says. Because this is a significant ownership, it will have to be disclosed to the stock exchange soon. “We are very happy to have them on board,” Paterno says.
The local network of 7-Eleven has a store count of 746 as of end-June and employs 654 people in its stores and various support units. Gearing up for expansion amid buoyant consumer spending in the country, the retail chain has acquired under a long-term lease agreement a 3,200-square-meter covered warehouse space in Pasig City to boost its capacity to serve roughly 1,200 stores across the country.—Doris C. Dumlao
No backdoor listing now
Going public is part of the road map to be taken by the Po family’s Century Pacific group but the seafood canning firm is not in a big hurry to do so, according to Century Pacific founder and chair Ricardo Po Sr. Amid speculation that CPG may enter through the backdoor channel, Po said it was not in the horizon for now.
Last year, the Pos’ Century group bought about a third of boutique property developer Arthaland Corp., led by the group of investment banker Jaime Gonzales, the father of IPVG chief executive Enrique Gonzales. Thus, when IPVG disclosed that it was investing in a leading seafood exporter, Century Pacific crossed some people’s mind.
“Our company has been thinking of going public but we have not thought of going through the backdoor,” Po tells Biz Buzz. “We may have to be listed at a certain point in time but not now.” He says that Century Pacific is not the seafood company that will be infused into IPVG.
What is certain is that in the next month or two, the Century group will start the $20-million tuna processing operations in Papua New Guinea. The Pos invested in this partnership with leading global tuna supplier Thai Union and local fishing giant Frabelle to boost its private label canning business.
Apart from selling its own canned tuna brands like Century, 555, Blue Bay and Fresca, CPG exports to international buyers that, in turn, market canned fish under their own brands. “We’ve constructed everything and we’ll start operations maybe next month or after next month,” Po says.—Doris C. Dumlao
Fluor, one of the world’s leading engineering and construction companies, is celebrating 25 years of continuous operations in the Philippines in style. Fluor management and employees in Manila and Cebu are commemorating the important milestone with several major events in both cities.
Fluor opened its first Philippines office in Manila in 1987 and today the company has more than 2,200 professional employees in the country, and there is reason to believe that even more will be employed. The Texas-based company says the Philippine office is one of the fastest-growing in its network.
Established as a global execution center, the Manila office initially supported other Fluor offices in the global network, enabling the company to provide clients’ engineering, design and technical services 24 hours a day.
Over the years, the office has grown and expanded its capabilities and now offers a complete suite of full-service engineering, procurement, construction management and project management services. The two offices support projects in locations as diverse as the Middle East, South America, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, China and the Philippines.—Tina Arceo-Dumlao
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Tags: 7-Eleven , Air Transport , bird sanctuary , Century group , company , engineering and construction , Environmental Issues , Fluor , Investments , Markets and Exchanges , Philippines , Po family , Retail , Safety of citizens