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Biz Buzz: Abrupt changes at the top

/ 12:30 AM October 23, 2015

The head of one of the country’s largest locally-owned investment banks is on his way out.

Several Biz Buzz sources have confirmed that the investment banker—let’s call him Mr. Jumbo Dealmaker—was set to officially vacate his post at the top of the financial institution soon.

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His replacement has already been chosen and will assume the presidency of the investment bank (an investment corporation based in the metropolis, known to be first in financial innovation and creativity) next month.

The new president—who is moving to the investment bank from a large government financial institution (hint: not Development Bank of the Philippines) is supposed to start at his post with the title of senior executive vice president, but is expected to be promoted to president after that.

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Anyway, back to Mr. Jumbo Dealmaker, his peers in the financial community seem to be divided as to why he is vacating such a lucrative and high profile post.

To be sure, he had been giving out signals for at least a couple of months now that he was increasingly interested in pursuits other than investment banking, like the business side of the performing arts, for example. More importantly, the man has many options available to him, having been offered interesting business propositions by tycoons left and right in the recent past.

The man is at the top of his game and has made his mark, having little left to prove in the professional field.

On the other hand, an equal number of industry sources said the abrupt departure of Mr. Jumbo Dealmaker might have something to do with his firm’s collateral involvement in some questionable financial transactions made by one of its counter-parties, another large government financial institution (clue: not Land Bank of the Philippines).

In any case, word on the inside is that the person chosen to replace Mr. Jumbo Dealmaker is married to someone who has very close ties to the owner of the investment bank in question.

“That’s a position of trust,” said one source of the vacated position at the investment bank. “So the owner chose someone who has very close ties to his family.”

Whatever the real reason behind these abrupt changes, we at Biz Buzz would like to wish the gentlemen involved the best of luck in their new and exciting careers. Daxim L. Lucas

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Sunrise industry

A HIGH-POWERED team from a Washington-based finance agency was in town recently to check investment prospects in solid waste management. Yes, that’s garbage collection, handling and disposal.

With the advent of climate change and a growing global environmental consciousness, the team noted increasing international pressure to properly handle and dispose all waste streams from municipal trash, biomedical and other hazardous wastes, construction debris, as well as commercial and industrial wastes.

The group apparently saw great opportunity in the Philippines given the big number of criminal cases pending before the Ombudsman against more than 300 local government units for serious violations of Republic Act No. 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act.

Due to these cases, noncompliant LGUs are scrambling to get their acts together and professionalize the way municipal and other wastes are collected and disposed. Soon, the US finance team noted, all LGUs would have to comply with the strict requirements of the law leading to an expected boom in the integrated waste management business.

In search of a suitable equity partner, the finance group found one listed company that apparently fits the bill. It turns out that listed Minerales Industrias Inc.—recently renamed IPM Holdings Inc.—owns the country’s largest waste solutions provider known as Basic Environmental Systems and Technologies Inc. or BEST.

Engaged in the contracting and consulting business for waste management, public cleansing, sanitation and general hygiene, BEST handles waste collection and disposal for some of the country’s biggest LGUs and private firms.

In a recent move, it was reported that MIC shareholders approved the change in its corporate name to IPM Holdings Inc. to more accurately reflect the firm’s ownership structure. The IPM Group—which is primarily in construction, real estate and environment services—controls a majority stake in MIC through a P500-million equity infusion in 2013. IPM, in turn, is owned by lady entrepreneur Isabelita P. Mercado, hence the acronym.

“IPM is known as the solid waste collector for Manila, Quezon City, Pasig, Pasay, Cagayan de Oro and quite recently, we won the bid for Food Terminal Inc. Starting next year, we will service FTI (agroindustrial complex in Taguig),” said Dwight Ramos, vice president of the IPM group of companies. IPM is also the operator of the Payatas landfill.

Moving forward, the company is looking to supply refuse derived fuel (RDF)—fuel derived from waste which can be used as an alternative to coal—to cement factories. “We are now talking with Aboitiz and Eagle Cement for the use of our RDF,” Ramos said. Apart from cement-makers, IPM is also pitching to supply RDF as alternative fuel to coal-fired power plants.

IPM’s BEST unit owns and operates the country’s largest RDF facility in Pasig City, which is capable of processing about 600 tons of trash per day or almost equivalent to the city’s daily trash collection. About 25 to 35 percent of the processed waste becomes alternative fuel while the remaining organic wastes are transferred to sanitary landfills.  Daxim Lucas and Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

 

Bankers rule

BANKS dominated financial magazine Asiamoney’s “Best Managed Company Awards 2015” in the Philippines as choices for best large-, medium- and small-cap companies all turned out to be banks while the “best executive” award was bagged by Banco de Oro Unibank president Nestor Tan.

BDO, the country’s biggest bank, was named the “best large-cap” company in the Philippines for 2015 while Security Bank was honored as the “best mid cap” company. East West Bank bagged the “best small cap company” citation.

Tan, named the “best executive,” was described as someone who had “redefined” banking in the Philippines. Whereas financial intermediation used to be a 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. business in this part of the world, Tan had adapted to the needs of the customers and pioneered longer hours for banking, the magazine said, noting how in some areas, there were now banks operating until 5 p.m. or even until 7 p.m. for those located in shopping malls. Asiamoney said of Tan, who had been president of the SM-led BDO since 1998: “He is a great motivator, leading by example. And he has driven the group to think more innovatively—witness the push into rural banking and microfinance.”

Security Bank, the magazine said, was a bank that “analysts simply love,” particularly for its “ability to hold its own against bigger rivals in the Philippines.” Endorsed by 2013 Miss World titleholder Megan Young, Security Bank was cited for its “strong niche in the profitable and still growing Filipino-Chinese middle markets and probably has the best treasury team in town.”

Gotianun-led East West Banking Corp., the “best small-cap” company, was noted as the first bank to take advantage of the local banking liberalization in the 1990s, having secured a commercial banking license in 1994. “Since then it has grown fast, and particularly following a rebranding exercise in 2011. It now has more than 400 outlets and has been aggressive in pushing its offering out into rural areas underserved by others,” the magazine said. Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Andy Player’s comeback

FIFTEEN years after it stopped production (as its manufacturer, Emperador, focused on brandy), the most popular local whisky brand in the 1980s is back on the market.

Tycoon Andrew Tan’s Emperador is re-launching the brand in the market with new packaging, but with the same distinct taste which based on Tan’s personal concoction.

Yes, we’re talking about Andy Player whose popularity a few decades ago was highlighted by a TV commercial that starred Eddie Garcia and a Sean Connery-looking French stuntman who played James Bond. (The chase scene between Garcia riding a helicopter and the Frenchman in a speedboat—which led to both Garcia and the stuntman sharing an Andy Player on a yacht—was a hit to Filipino consumer back then.)

Even President Aquino, who was then in college, supposedly got curious about Andy Player after watching the TV commercial and immediately tried the whisky with his classmates, company officials say.

Andy Player will be featured in one of the scenes of original Filipino musical “Bituing Walang Ningning” in Newport Performing Arts Theatre in Resorts World Manila. The scene involves a customer in a karaoke bar ordering a bottle of Andy Player. The original bottle will be used in this scene to depict the 1980s setting.

A brainchild of Tan, “Bituing Walang Ningning” is now on its second run at the theater which the tycoon wants replicated in his other township developments, particularly in the upcoming Resorts World complex by the bay.

While Tan is now aggressively expanding his Emperador empire in the Philippines and abroad, he is also passionate about the Filipino performing arts. He has expressed commitment to support local Filipino theatre and performing artists and is the brain (and heart) behind the creation of a foundation that will focus on the development of Filipino performing arts which will be launched this month. Daxim L. Lucas

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TAGS: “Bituing Walang Ningning”, Andrew Tan, Andy Player, Banco de Oro Unibank, Basic Environmental Systems and Technologies Inc., Development Bank of the Philippines, Investment, investment bank, Minerales Industrias Inc., Nestor Tan, Resorts World Manila, Solid Waste Management Act
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