Biz Buzz: Northbound Ayala
In line with the strategy to boldly go where it hasn’t gone before, property giant Ayala Land Inc. is soon set to break ground for an 11-hectare mixed-use project in Balintawak in Quezon City.
It’s what the group sees as an “urban pocket development” that’s strategically located along the Edsa and A. Bonifacio Avenue in Quezon City, right behind the bustling Balintawak market, said ALI senior vice president and group head for strategic landbank management Anna Ma. Margarita Dy.
What further makes ALI upbeat on this project is its proximity to one of the exits from the upcoming North Luzon-South Luzon Expressway connector road being built by the San Miguel group. While the Ayala and San Miguel groups clash on some tollroad matters—think Cavite-Laguna Expressway (Calax)—this infrastructure project by one rival conglomerate is one that’s seen complementing the other’s property development.
In about three years’ time, this is also where a new 250-bed hospital will rise, which will become the “flagship” hospital in northern Metro Manila of QualiMed, a partnership between ALI and the Mercado group that is developing a chain of medical centers around the country. There’s another upcoming “flagship” hospital in the north, which will be located in Taguig. These flagship hospitals will offer the more complicated medical procedures while smaller mall-based medical centers are likewise being rolled out in key locations.
As ALI views its investment in QualiMed as a way to complement residential offerings, the upcoming Balintawak project will also have residential offerings under the Avida and Alveo brands. It will also have a shopping mall component.
The master plan for the Balintawak project will be unveiled soon.–Doris C. Dumlao
Seafood producer Alliance Select Foods International Inc. plans to sell as much as P1 billion worth of new shares to existing investors. Does this have anything to do with diluting a group of foreign shareholders critical of the controlling shareholder group? It’s but a strategic move to boost the company’s financial muscle and market positioning, Alliance chair Jonathan Dee said in a text message yesterday.
“Alliance plans to be a leader in Philippine canned tuna exports and increase capacity utilization and maximize all areas of operations. It also will spend for capex (capital expenditures) to support a massive increase in exports. Most of the funds will go here,” Dee said. “The new management will focus on this and is counting on the support of all shareholders.”
Late last year, Dee stepped down as chief executive officer of Alliance, which, in turn, appointed Raymond See, an ex-Pilipinas Shell career executive as its new president and chief executive.
On the rights offering, Alliance has obtained board approval to offer up to one billion shares at P1 each to existing shareholders.
The question is whether the group of Singaporean shareholders in Alliance—whose differences in the management have led to an exchange of lawsuits—will exercise its option or just throw in the towel.–Doris C. Dumlao
The entire automotive industry has been paying close attention to the Department of Trade and Industry lately, particularly in its approach to a so-called test case for Republic Act 10642, or the Philippine Lemon Law.
Shortly after purchasing an Audi A6 3.0 TD last May 30, 2014, a retired Philippine Air Force colonel named Ricardo L. Nolasco Jr. sent the vehicle back to PGA Cars, the exclusive distributor of Audi in the Philippines, for alleged defects.
As stated in the Lemon Law, car companies are given a reasonable opportunity to address any customer complaint. PGA Cars did just that, and after the vehicle reportedly passed through multiple diagnostic tests and technician clearances, informed Nolasco that his car was as good as new. To this day, however, Nolasco has refused to retrieve his Audi, insisting instead on a full refund or a brand new unit.
Enter the DTI. Being the adjudicator, conventional wisdom would dictate that the very first thing on its agenda would be to conduct a full examination of the vehicle in question. After all, the entire point of the complaint is that one party claims that the vehicle is defective, while the other states it is not. There are clear and measurable ways to determine who is correct. But it did not, prompting PGA Cars to actually had to write a legal motion requesting DTI to inspect and road test the vehicle. However, Acting Adjudication Officer Ronald Calderon promptly denied PGA’s request, saying that the repair and roadworthiness of the vehicle in question “is irrelevant and immaterial to the case.”
Car companies are asking: Can the DTI really be able to decide on customer complaints even without looking at the disputed product?–Daxim L. Lucas
Renewable energy capital
The race for renewable energy (RE) development is gaining momentum and it’s not limited to developers seeking incentives as pioneers. The host-communities are in on it, too.
Gov. Imee Marcos of Ilocos Norte has positioned her province as the RE capital of the Philippines. Hosting three wind power projects and a number of solar farm-testing sites, the province is apparently ready for a tenfold growth in RE investment and is urging investors to look into ocean wave energy as well.
“We have wind and we have solar. It’s obvious from the color of our skin here in Ilocos,” Marcos quipped while addressing a gathering of energy developers, power retailers and regulators during a workshop on the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) incentive program for RE.
The declaration places Ilocos Norte on an RE development racetrack against other provinces such as Oriental Mindoro. Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso Umali Jr and Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali Jr. are promoting their province as an R.E. hub.
If local governments really are going on the RE investment bandwagon, that can only be good for investors, who have often reported difficulties convincing communities to host unfamiliar projects.
Marcos, for one, said residents have to be told truthfully that RE would not instantly trim their monthly power bills, but that it was a long-term investment in a more stable and “green” energy market. “RE is not the perfect solution,” Marcos said, “but we are clean and green here in Ilocos.”–Riza T. Olchondra
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