Biz Buzz: All Skyway, no access
WHAT is it about the Aquino administration and its seeming inability to deliver crucial right-of-way access to key infrastructure projects?
After seeing the P15-billion Naia Expressway miss its November 2015 completion deadline—supposedly in time for the Philippine hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit—it looks like another elevated toll highway will be completed much later than originally planned.
Biz Buzz learned from sources that the 15-kilometer Skyway Stage 3 project, which will connect Sen. Gil Puyat Ave. all the way to Balintawak in Quezon City, is in real danger of missing its target completion date, originally slated for December 2017.
In the worst case, even the ceremonial ribbon cutting for the first few sections, slated to happen before President Aquino steps down in June (as a nod to him having finally given the green light for the project) seems to be in danger.
This is because the government, specifically the Department of Public Works and Highways has apparently not yet been able to deliver right-of-way access to the owners of the P26-billion project, led by conglomerate San Miguel Corp.
Unfortunately, to date, no work has been done on the areas needed for the eight entry/exit ramps planned along the elevated roadway’s route (Buendia, Quirino Ave., Plaza Dilao, Aurora Boulevard, E. Rodriguez Sr., Quezon Ave., Sgt. Rivera, Balintawak), precisely because right-of-way has yet to be secured by the government—never mind the fact that no less than President Aquino praised the project during his last State of the Nation Address for the speedy construction work being done by San Miguel and its contractors, DMCI and EEI Corp.
Some observers are now wondering if a certain government official is deliberately taking his time in granting right-of-way access to San Miguel’s projects so that another rival conglomerate can catch up in the tollroad game. Hmmm.
Hopefully, the government gets its act together soon. But then again, who knows? Given the fast pace of construction ongoing, maybe Metro Manila will end up having have a 15-kilometer elevated highway with no means for motorists to get on or off it. Daxim L. Lucas
Netflix and chill
THE 800-POUND gorilla of Internet TV has entered the Philippines and incumbent telecom players seem to be taking the news rather well.
We are, of course, talking about US-based Netflix, which last week made a surprise announcement that it had expanded in 130 countries globally. That means Netflix is moving much closer to covering the world, and ahead of schedule at that.
Certainly, there would be an impact on various Internet TV services that have emerged in response to the lack of Netflix in their respective areas. In this region, we have iflix, where Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. is a shareholder, and HOOQ, which has a partnership with Globe Telecom.
Both telcos, however, were quite welcoming of the news on Netflix’s entry. We hear there are many reasons for this.
For one, Internet TV is fairly new here and unlikely a major earnings contributor yet for either PLDT and Globe. Netflix is also priced higher than either service and let’s not forget that subscribers using Netflix here would still need to go through either Globe or PLDT’s network to stream their TV shows and movies.
The bigger impact might be felt by traditional TV companies, especially those offering subscription services like ABS-CBN Corp.’s SkyCable and CignalTV, controlled by the PLDT Group.
But even then, local companies have an edge given the preference for local content that apparently cuts through social demographics. Said another way, even moneyed people here, contrary to popular belief, can’t get enough of Nora Aunor classics and the AlDub tandem.
We recall a SkyCable official sharing that despite all their foreign TV shows, consistently ranking at the top or close to it is the Cinema One channel, known for its extensive lineup of Filipino movies.
That was recognized by both iflix and HOOQ, which feature local TV shows. Will Netflix follow suit? And will local content providers play ball? That remains to be seen. Miguel R. Camus
Another early exit
FORMER Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo wasn’t the only one who took an early departure from the Department of Trade and Industry.
Ponciano C. Manalo Jr., who served as trade undersecretary for the industry promotion group until December last year, left the agency at the same time as Domingo, but had opted for a quieter exit.
Manalo did not cite any other reason to go but “to rejoin the private sector in quickest time,” adding that his job at the DTI was already done. Manalo is being replaced in the meantime by Trade Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado, who now heads the management services group.
Meanwhile, the position left vacant by now Trade Secretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. at the industry development group will be taken up by Ceferino S. Rodolfo, who previously served as trade assistant secretary under the same team. Rodolfo will concurrently serve the managing head of the Board of Investments (BOI), a post also held previously by Cristobal. With just six months left under the Aquino administration, it doesn’t make sense to get new people for the job. The upside is, transition won’t be a painful exercise and continuity won’t be a problem as well. Same old, same old. Amy R. Remo
Best brokerage house
CLSA Philippines was adjudged anew as the best brokerage house in the Philippines for overall country research, sales service and execution, based on the 2015 Asiamoney’s brokers poll.
Based on the survey of 5,500 institutional investors across Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America, CLSA Philippines was voted No. 1 “Best Overall Country Research” for the sixth consecutive year and “Most Independent Research Brokerage” for the second consecutive year. CLSA’s individual research analysts embrace an independent research philosophy, seeking to provide no single ‘house view’ but a ‘house of views.’
CLSA Philippines was ranked No. 1 for “Best Research Coverage” in 15 out of 16 sectors including banks, consumer discretionary, consumer staples, diversified financial, energy, health care, industrials, insurance, materials, small caps, telecommunications, transportation, utilities, as well as macroeconomics and strategy. Head of research Alfred Dy was voted the top Philippine strategist for 2015, retaining the accolade received in the previous year.
This unit was also voted “Best Brokerage” in the country for overall sales services and execution for the eighth consecutive year and also regained the top slot for sales trading in 2015. Head of Philippine sales Alex Dauz retained the title of “Best Salesperson” in the country for the fifth consecutive year. CLSA Philippines head of sales trading Ruby Lao was once again voted the “Best Sales Trader.” CLSA Philippines was also ranked “Best for Roadshows and Company Visits” for the second consecutive year.
CLSA Philippines country head Mitzi De Dios said: “2015 has been a challenging year for the Philippine equities market but our commitments to deliver the cutting-edge research and best-in-class sales and execution services remain intact as the top priority.”
She added: “The 2015 Asiamoney Brokers Poll results is testament to the outstanding job done by the CLSA Philippines team. We look forward to continue delivering this exceptional standard of service to our clients in the coming year.” Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
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