Biz Buzz: Rising son | Inquirer Business

Biz Buzz: Rising son

/ 12:18 AM May 12, 2017

Two decades after his father, Ramon, had a wildly successful initial public offering for Fortune Cement Corp. (where he was company president and a co-investor with Henry Sy Sr.), Paul Ang is set to take his own cement company public.

We’re talking, of course, about Eagle Cement Corp. which is set to raise as much as P9 billion through the Philippine Stock Exchange in the coming weeks.

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Eagle recently hurdled the stringent listing requirements of the bourse and will likely announce the pricing details for the IPO in the next few days, with the actual listing to follow soon after.

The younger Ang was tasked to take the company public after nine years of building capacity, strengthening its foothold in Luzon, and establishing the Philippines’ most advanced cement plant. Between 2008 and 2016, prior to assuming his current role in the company, Paul served as its general manager and chief operating officer.

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Paul graduated from Ateneo de Manila University in 2002 with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. At 21 years old, immediately after university, he set out for Malaysia to become the managing director of Sarawak Clinker Sdb Bhd — back then an ailing asset, which he turned around and sold for a profit within five years. In 2007, he returned to the Philippines to lay the groundwork for Eagle.

Interestingly, the company is best known in the retail market for its Eagle Cement jingle which is based on the tune of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (the march that goes “Glory, glory hallelujah!”).

Paul relates that an advertising agency once made an ad campaign pitch to him which failed to impress him. He was about to send them packing when the ad agency’s team leader asked for another chance, and sang the tune with the made up lyrics right there and then. This impressed him, and the rest was retail marketing success history, with the jingle being sung by taxi, jeepney drivers and even kids who listen to AM radio every morning.

Speaking of the retail market, the company’s soon-to-be retail stockholders also have another reason to be happy apart from the expected price appreciation.

Thankfully for future stockholders of this company, its underwriters (China Bank Capital, PNB Capital and SB Capital) were able to secure an easy-to-read and easy-to-remember stock ticker code: “EAGLE,” of course. (This compares favorably to the stock ticker codes of “SHLPH” of Pilipinas Shell and “MRGSI” of the Metro Retail Group, for example, which are unwieldy, to say the least.)

In any case, if you’re just starting to look for shares now for what is so far this year’s hottest IPO, you’re probably already too late. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so the pressure is on for Eagle’s young CEO to make his new set of stockholders happy in the coming weeks. Abangan! —Daxim L. Lucas
No-El

The election debate between Ayala Alabang Village Association (AAVA) and the state-controlled Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) has erupted into a full legal battle that also dims prospects of any election of village officers in the foreseeable future.

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In a recent advisory, AAVA said it filed on May 8 a petition in the Court of Appeals questioning, among others, the legality of the HLURB’s pronouncement that “any election conducted without the participation of the HLURB is considered as null and void.”

To recall, the HLURB (through its Homeowners’ Franchising Unit) sought a master list of all AAVA members and wanted greater oversight on the conduct of elections, alleging that incumbent officials had “arbitrarily provided a three-year validity in their proxy forms.”

AAVA said it had submitted to the HLURB a manifestation “offering the coming May 14, 2017 AAVA election for supervision of the HLURB” but noted that the latter had not acted upon on this.

“Under the circumstances, the election scheduled on May 14, 2017 cannot proceed until the question of its validity has been settled.” —Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Closer to Viet IPO

Homegrown fast-food giant Jollibee Foods Corp., now among the leading fast-food companies in the world, has raised its stake in the Vietnam business under SuperFoods Group from 50 percent to 60 percent to prepare for the stock market debut of this business.

As such, Jollibee said its wholly owned subsidiary JSF Investments Pte. and partner Viet Thai International Joint Stock Co. had completed a key step in their plan to list SuperFoods as a public company in Vietnam by adjusting the ownership structure from 50-50 percent.

While many in the Philippines may not have heard about SuperFoods, others have heard about it or even dined in restaurants under the brands operated by this company such as Highlands Coffee and Pho24. This firm is also a franchisee of Hard Rock Cafe in Vietnam, Macau and Hong Kong.

As of end-March, Superfoods had 180 Highlands Coffee shops, 33 Pho24 restaurants and three Hard Rock Cafe outlets. In the next three years, it plans to open 485 stores, mostly in Vietnam, and expand the brands through franchising in other parts of Asia and Australia.

Jollibee has committed to support the expansion plan by taking the lead in the capital-raising for the joint venture and working with various financial institutions in Vietnam and Asia. —Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Ortigas & Co. finds footing

This company went through a difficult time with two major shareholders wrestling for dominance not too long ago (we’re talking about the battle for control between SM and Ayala, where both eventually agreed to work together), but it seems that Ortigas & Co. has put all that behind and has found its footing once more.

That’s because this property developer was recently adjudged to have the Best Luxury Condo Development during the fifth annual PropertyGuru Philippine Property Awards.

In particular, the award was for Ortigas & Co.’s condominium project called The Royalton at Capitol Commons.

According to the 10-member judging panel led by JLL Philippines chairman Lindsay Orr, the residential tower—located in Ortigas’ 10-hectare mixed-used development along Meralco Avenue Ortigas Center, Pasig City—won for its strategic location, form, and functional angle.

Ortigas takes pride in having both beauty and function as the cornerstone traits of the 64-story residential condominium. And according to the firm, due to its unique design, no two units are alike.

The curves in the architectural design were meant to maximize air ventilation, and serve not only as balconies, but also as shade from the afternoon sun, from where unit owners can behold the views of the Sierra Madre mountain range, Laguna de Bay or the Ortigas skyline.

The Philippine Property Awards is the Philippines’ biggest real estate annual awarding ceremony, and has been recognizing the best and finest companies for their masterpieces in the real estate industry.

The next challenge now for the revitalized property developer, of course, is to replicate this early success. The market is watching. —Daxim L. Lucas

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TAGS: Eagle Cement Corp., Fortune Cement Corp., Paul Ang, Philippine Stock Exchange
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