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Biz Buzz: PAL party time


11:46 PM December 2nd, 2012

By: the staff, December 2nd, 2012 11:46 PM

Many things have changed since San Miguel Corp., led by Ramon S. Ang, acquired a stake in flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL). Under new management, PAL—which at 70 years of age enjoys the distinction of being Asia’s first carrier—expects to post a profit for its current fiscal year that ends in March.

Last Friday, the company also launched for the first time flights to the North American east coast, adding Toronto, Canada, to its extensive route network. With the airline’s recent success, PAL’s new management has decided to reward its employees with a company-wide Christmas party—the first company party in decades. All Metro Manila-based PAL and Air Philippines employees are invited to attend the company party on December 10 at the PNB Financial Center Banking Hall, with festivities starting at 5 p.m.

In the past years, PAL employees only had parties in their respective departments, with food and drinks paid for by employees themselves. This company party, of course, will feature free food and “good old San Miguel Beer.” The 70s-themed party will also have entertainment…dished out by “PAL talents and known entertainers,” the invite read. “Prizes in cash and in kind will also be raffled off.”

PAL employees will also be happy to know that those who won’t be able to attend the party because of official business (pilots having flights scheduled that day, flight attendants being on those flights, etc.) will be entitled to prizes to be raffled off that night.

Employees who are free that night but don’t attend won’t have their names in the raffle, of course.—Paolo Montecillo

Speaking of parties…

Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan’s TV5 launched its new online media portal last week. The new website, accompanied by an app for Android and, soon, Apple mobile devices, is being packaged as a “digital go-to girl” for netizens who want to know the latest events and other “happenings” in Metro Manila. also has sections for gadget and restaurant reviews, and fashion and travel blogs, among others.

The new online portal, however, launched with a rough start last week. According to our sources, a bag of high-end smart phones was stolen while the website’s staff were preparing for the launch at the NBC Tent in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, last Wednesday.

The smartphones, manufactured by one of the world’s leading PC manufacturers, were supposed to be used as demo phones for those attending the launch. The phone manufacturer was one of’s major sponsors for the evening.

Our sources say the phones were delivered early in the afternoon, but suddenly disappeared during preparations. The NBC Tent area had to be cordoned off in search of the thief, to no avail. Fortunately, the loss of the phones went unnoticed by the event’s attendees, who were treated to a fashion show and music from Pinoy rock band Razorback.—Paolo Montecillo

More marketmalls

After a pioneering “Marketmall” model that redeveloped a public market into a shopping center in Dasmariñas, Cavite, tycoon Henry Sy-led SM Prime Holdings is now evaluating proposals from several local government units to replicate this model elsewhere.

A hybrid between a farmer’s market and a shopping mall, SM Marketmall in Cavite replaced the former Kadiwa Public Market and opened about a year ago as a public-private partnership (PPP) between the city government and SM Prime. The Marketmall has an SM hypermarket, over a thousand wet and dry market stalls, restaurants and service centers.

Under such PPP model, the local government contributes the public market, which SM Prime redevelops. SM Prime then pays an annual rental fee with the use of the land and also pays real estate taxes on the newly constructed building.

“There are other LGUs that are interested because of the success of this market,” SM Prime chief finance officer Jeffrey Lim tells Biz Buzz. About three or more prospective venues for new marketmalls are under consideration.—Doris C. Dumlao

Seller’s choice

Amid the frenzy over the Bank of the Philippine Island-Philippine National Bank consolidation talks in the last two weeks, BPI president Aurelio Montinola III was in the United States for a Thanksgiving holiday break with his family. When he got back to Manila last week, media people were eager to hear from him about the merger talks. However, he stressed that there was still nothing to disclose to date.

So what’s the biggest incentive for BPI to embark on the PNB consolidation? “BPI has always had good fundamentals and then the industry is good,” Montinola said, adding that the central bank was encouraging consolidation within the banking system. “I’ve always said that in the acquisition game, it’s the seller’s choice.”

Incidentally, Montinola will receive Monday his much-deserved award as MAP [Management Association of the Philippines] Man of the Year. Under his able leadership, it’s no wonder that BPI—the country’s most valuable and profitable bank—is trading at close to three times its book value.—Doris C. Dumlao

PSE’s Bell Awards

Twenty years ago, the old Manila and Makati stock exchanges—upon the prodding of then President Ramos—consolidated to form the Philippine Stock Exchange. To recall, stock trading in the country started in 1927 when a group of American and Filipino businessmen formed the Manila Stock Exchange in the financial district of Binondo. In 1963, a second bourse was established in the newly developed financial area in Makati. The two were unified in 1992 to form the modern-day PSE.

As the highlight of this 20th anniversary celebration on Monday, the PSE will recognize its first roster of publicly listed companies and trading participants adhering to high standards of corporate governance. The PSE 2012 Bell Awards will honor the top five publicly listed companies and top six trading participants. “Through the first PSE Bell Awards for Corporate Governance, we hope to deliver the message that the exchange joins the government and the private sector in upholding good governance in the country. Through this initiative and others in the near future, we hope to sustain the confidence of investors in our market, which has pushed the index to break record highs,” said PSE president and CEO Hans Sicat.

The PSE’s grand anniversary celebration on Monday night is expected to be graced by no less than the country’s two most powerful people: President Aquino and Vice President Binay.—Doris C. Dumlao


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