Biz Buzz: Hitting the beach
After the collapse of negotiations between Ayala Land Inc. and Panlilio-led Boulevard Holdings Inc. (BHI) for what could have been the former’s acquisition of a beachfront landbank in the Puerto Azul area, it seems that a new suitor has emerged.
To recall, BHI said on Nov. 7 that it was in negotiations with three interested parties on the sale and development of Puerto Azul properties with an initial area of 268 hectares. In relation to this, it had formed a mini-board to represent the company in the negotiation and receipt of “earnest money” to be paid by one of the counterparties.
We heard that one party that is interested to establish a foothold in Puerto Azul is Lopez-led Rockwell Land Corp., which has long been looking for opportunities to expand its presence outside Metro Manila. After recently entering the hospitality business with its “Aruga” brand, diversifying into a seaside leisure estate seems like a logical direction for Rockwell.
From what we hear, Rockwell is interested to get around 180 hectares of Puerto Azul.
No official from Rockwell was available for comment as of press time. Doris C. Dumlao
Local clothing firms squeezed
Not everyone’s going gaga over the coming to the Philippines of global retail brands.
Local clothing brands are not exactly ecstatic because they have been eased out from such prime locations in the mall and have instead been relegated to the higher floors, which have consequently less foot traffic. Among themselves, they have been complaining about how these big foreign brands are cherry picking prime spots in both new and up-and-coming malls, especially since a number of these operators are bringing in their own foreign retail brands.
However, Philippine clothing companies are not about to cause a stir and have instead looked at this phenomenon as just another challenge and something they have to get used to, especially as the integration of the member-economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will only mean that more brands are coming in.
This is why aside from upping their game and competing head on with foreign counterparts, they are also devising plans to aggressively expand outside the Philippines to get a share of the bigger pie that is Asean. Tina Arceo-Dumlao
TV5 on the road to recovery?
Manuel V. Pangilinan’s television network, TV5, is apparently continuing to struggle financially with management recently offering a new pre-retirement package to its employees to stem “billions of pesos” in losses.
The latest program, according Biz Buzz sources, was announced last Nov. 17 and allows employees the choice to resign effective Dec. 12 this year.
The terms and incentives of what was branded as a “Special Limited Voluntary Separation Program” were still unclear as TV5’s management has yet to confirm these specific details.
What is clear is the difficulty, not to mention the huge expense, involved in running a television company. There’s also the fierce competition against larger rivals like ABS-CBN Corp. and GMA Network Inc.
And take note, this is even before the soon-to-be-formalized entry of GMA’s newest investor Ramon Ang—whose San Miguel Corp. has gone head to head against Pangilinan’s Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. over several business deals. Miguel R. Camus
Making the deadline
The grand opening of Melco Crown’s City of Dreams casino resort in Pagcor’s Entertainment City has been repeatedly nudged back over the last few months (albeit discretely) due to several unforseen issues.
According to our sources, the latest date committed by the casino operator to government regulators is “sometime in December.” Of course, that is a very wide window and it could mean anytime from Dec. 1 to Dec. 31, but the latest tentative opening date, we hear, is Dec. 17.
That event will be a soft opening, according to our sources, as many parts of the mega casino resort complex are still being fitted out with finishing and gaming equipment.
In fairness to Melco Crown, we’re told that the biggest culprit, of late, is something completely out of its hands: The congestion in the Port of Manila that resulted in long delays in the importation of all the luxurious fittings that will adorn the City of Dreams’ rooms, hallways and gaming areas. Impacted by the port congestion were things like imported bathroom fixtures, specially commissioned carpets and, of course, gaming equipment like slot machines and casino game tables.
In any case, the soft opening will meet the gaming firm’s commitment to the government to open the doors of the latest entrant to the local gaming scene by 2014.
Assuming that plans don’t miscarry, a full-fledged casino opening will most likely be held in early 2015, just in time for the lucrative gaming season that is the Chinese lunar new year. Daxim L. Lucas
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