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Biz Buzz: Alfamart in PH

/ 12:08 AM August 08, 2014

Not to be left out in the convenience store race, SM Investments Corp. has rolled out three “experimental” stores in partnership with Indonesian retailing giant Alfamart, choosing the following high-density locations in the south: Trece Martirez and Dasmariñas in Cavite and another in Las Piñas.

The stores have a footprint of about 150 square meters each and would eventually operate 24/7, SM Supermarkets and Savemore president Joey Mendoza said Thursday.

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The whole thing is still experimental, which means the SM and Alfamart groups have yet to firm up their equity sharing in the venture. Mendoza said the two groups were still exploring the terms of the partnership.

Alfamart is one of Indonesia’s leading retailers, serving more than 2.5 million customers daily at its 7,000 stores and has about 70,000 employees in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.

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Although SM is the leading retailer in the country, it is a new player in the local convenience store business, which is now attracting a number of foreign brands. Two Japanese brands have recently come in—Lawson, in partnership with Puregold Price Club, SM’s stiffest rival in the grocery format, and Family Mart, in partnership with the Ayala and Tantoco groups.

The leading player is Philippine Seven Corp, the local licensee of 7-Eleven convenience stores in the Philippines with 1,121 stores, while Ministop, operated by the Gokongwei-led Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc., expects to end this year with 500 stores.

What will distinguish the Alfamart chain from other competitors, Mendoza said, was that it would have a lot of fresh food like fruits and vegetables on its shelves. Doris C. Dumlao

China Bank prexy retires

Peter Dee, 72, is retiring as president and chief executive of China Banking Corp. after a long tenure of 29 years. His retirement will take effect on Aug. 31, but he will hold on to this position until a replacement has been announced. He will also remain a director, a position he has held since 1977.

The group has yet to announce a successor for Dee, who was kept at the helm of China Bank over the decades even when the SM group has raised its interest and attained majority control of the bank—a vote of confidence in his management capability. Doris C. Dumlao

Doctor George Ty

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Tycoon George S.K. Ty had been unable to finish the commerce course he took at the University of Santo Tomas  as a young man, but the accomplished businessman eventually attained a much higher honor from his (almost) alma mater on Thursday.

Ty, who founded and chairs the Metrobank Group of Companies, was conferred by UST the degree Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa, for his “immense contribution to nation-building through his equitable and sustainable business practices and leadership in corporate social responsibility, acting upon his dream of empowering Filipinos with better opportunities.”

In his acceptance speech during the simple and solemn investiture ceremony held at UST’s medicine auditorium, Ty admitted that he was actually “not a very good student, in the traditional sense.”

“I had to drop out [of college at UST] when I was 18 years old because I had to help my father put up Wellington Flour Mills, which back then supplied one fourth of the total requirements of the country,” Ty related.

For someone who is leading a successful business empire across various industries—banking, automotive, power generation, insurance, real estate, education, health care as well as hotel and tourism—Ty said that he “had to endure many hardships as a young businessman.”

For one, when he established Metrobank in 1962 at a “young and inexperienced” age of 30. Ty recalled that he “had to go through a lot of difficulties putting up Metrobank”—that it took three years before the then central bank issued him a license to operate.

Eventually, Ty made a successful foray into banking, which remains a force to reckon with until now. “As fate would have it, Metrobank has become one of the country’s strongest and biggest banks,” he noted.

The Metrobank group in its entirety is also a big contributor to the country’s coffers, having paid more than P20 billion in taxes last year, Ty further pointed out. Ben O. de Vera

E-mail us at [email protected] Get business alerts and a preview of Biz Buzz the evening before it comes out. Text ON INQ BUSINESS to 4467 (P2.50/alert).

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TAGS: alfamart, Biz Buzz, Business, China Bank, column, degree conferment, George Ty, peter dee, SM Investments Corp.
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