Latest Stories

Biz Buzz

New bellwether

For the first time in many years, index heavyweight Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. is under threat of being dislodged as the single most valuable company in the local stock market. The challenger is another formidable household brand: SM Investments Corp. of tycoon Henry Sy a.k.a. “Tatang.”

SMIC, now trading near its record highs, was valued by the stock market at P544.17 billion as of Friday, only a few billion pesos away from the P548.78-billion market cap of PLDT. While the PLDT-dominated telecom industry is undergoing a consolidation and cost-rationalization phase, SMIC has benefited more from the vibrant consumer play in the market.

Although the 9.99-percent Philippine Stock Exchange index weight of Tatang’s holding firm is second only to PLDT’s top rating of 12.2 percent (updated as of Friday) for now, local stock brokerage DA Market Securities said in a recent research that SMIC was “better positioned to provide exposure to the Philippine economic growth story, particularly bright today, as a preferred market in the region, amid troubles in developed economies.”

Including its listed subsidiaries and affiliates, most of which are part of the PSEi like itself, the SM group has breached the P1-trillion mark and now has the highest combined market capitalization in the market. Four other PSEi stocks are controlled by the SM group—SM Prime Holdings (P280.76 billion), Banco de Oro Unibank (P258.18 billion), SM Development Corp. (P54.7 billion) and Belle Corp. (P50.68 billion). Meanwhile, China Bank has P71.38 billion in market cap.

So while SMIC is trading at a hefty price, DA Market is upbeat on SMIC’s long-term prospects “due to its unique position as the Philippine economic bellwether.” Doris C. Dumlao

BDO wild card

Market speculation that the SM group will make a pitch for Philippine National Bank has refused to die down, despite repeated denials from top Banco de Oro Unibank officials. The reason is that many will find it implausible to think that BDO will pass up a chance to cement its leadership, not to mention the fact that it will prevent a rival from dislodging it from its top position. Also take note that the exclusivity period on the talks between PNB and BPI has lapsed last Dec. 15.

BDO is a veteran of the mergers and acquisitions game, big and small, which has enabled the bank to grow assets at a much faster pace than its peers. Also, its principal SMIC (as discussed in an earlier item) has the financial muscle to back up another big M&A. But BDO’s not-so-secret weapon, one that will allow the bank to make a firm proposal promptly—if and when the Sys decide to go for it—is that BDO has someone from its team who knows PNB inside out. This is no other than PNB’s former chief finance officer Carmen Huang, who may have sufficient institutional memory of PNB that could beat any new due-diligence audit. But as Huang presumably knows PNB too well, the flipside is that this could also make BDO more conscious of prospective integration costs.

Meanwhile, the lapse of exclusivity discussions only means that it is now open season for more suitors. Given the Ayalas’ big bold moves recently (remember the still ongoing Ortigas buy-in saga), we know the Castilaloys don’t give up so easily these days. Doris C. Dumlao

Youthful Titoy

If you see Philippine Stock Exchange chair Jose “Titoy” Pardo with a bright and youthful visage nowadays, it probably has little to do with the outstanding performance of the stock market.

We’re told, in fact, that it has more to do with science as the former finance secretary of the Estrada administration had undergone a super pricey stem cell treatment in Germany earlier this year. And no, it wasn’t Pardo who sought out the treatment, but was … uhmm … “convinced” by his longtime friend, former President Estrada, to give the newfangled science a try.

Among the personalities said to have availed themselves of the very same German stem cell treatment are Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, former First Lady Imelda Marcos, former South African president Nelson Mandela and even Hollywood actress Halle Berry.

The treatment regimen set Pardo back by some 15,000 euros or a little under a million pesos. Steep, yes, but still a lot cheaper than the stem cell program offered at the Medical City, we’re told.

And what was used to make Pardo look and (perhaps more importantly) feel younger? “The unformed fetus of a black sheep,” he replied, when Biz Buzz quizzed him about his stem cell therapy. (Having thoroughly researched the process, the 1972 Ten Outstanding Young Men awardee explained why it had to be a black sheep, but Biz Buzz quickly lost track of the medical terminology.)

Admittedly, Pardo’s skin does look firmer for someone in his early 70s, but does he feel more energized, as well? “I do feel more energetic and my immune system is stronger, but I’m not sure if it’s a placebo effect,” he chuckles. Hey, whatever works, right? Daxim L. Lucas

Get business alerts and a preview of Biz Buzz the evening before it comes out. Text ON INQ BUSINESS to 4467 (P2.50/alert).

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Biz Buzz , Business , Jose Pardo , Markets and Exchanges , PLDT , PSE , SMIC , Stock Activity

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  • Drilon, Nancy Binay urge Filipinos to strengthen faith
  • ‘Yolanda’ toll now at 6,300 – NDRRMC
  • ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  • Moderate earthquake jolts southern Iran
  • Sports

  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Durant has 42, Thunder beat Pistons 112-111
  • Walker leads Bobcats over Bulls in OT, 91-86
  • Man City slips further out of title contention
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • Business

  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • Technology

  • Netizens seething in anger over Aquino ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Marketplace