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BIZ BUZZ: Villars come 2022

/ 05:00 AM June 25, 2021

To those wondering whether tycoon Manuel Villar Jr. is returning to politics anytime soon, the former “presidentiable” stated he has no plans to change the status quo. Instead, he intends to focus on growing the group’s business empire.

In the last three years (since the death of SM founder Henry Sy Sr., whose estate has been divided among heirs), this “brown taipan” has emerged as the wealthiest person in the country.

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But while he has no plans to reenter politics, two of his children will run for public office in 2022. Mark, the current Department of Public Works and Highways secretary, is probably running for senator.

“Mark will probably run for senator, but we don’t want to limit his options,” Villar told business media in a virtual roundtable yesterday. “Pwede din konsehal (He may also run for councilor),” he said in jest.

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Camille would seek a new term as representative of Las Piñas, he said.

Spouse Cynthia, who began her senatorial term in 2013, is not yet up for reelection.

On the upcoming elections, the president of the Nacionalista Party said his group would back whoever President Duterte would endorse as successor.

He also pointed out: “There’s another [political] party claiming to be the second largest. We are the second largest.”

Apart from two initial public offerings coming to the market this year (All Day supermarket and a real estate investment trust), Villar has been busy developing new retail formats and helping his son, Paolo, with his utilities businesses.

One new retailing format hatched by Villar is “Pet Buddy,” a pet care brand which now has four outlets. Pet grooming is a fast-growing segment, the tycoon said, but noted it was quite challenging to find special barbers for pet dogs.

During this crisis, Villar said he was keeping his eyes open for opportunities to enter allied businesses. There could be interesting acquisitions in the horizon, he said.

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—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

[email protected]

Security Bank (SECB), which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, is the country’s best bank for moneyed folks. This is according to Asiamoney, which recognized the bank at its 2021 Asiamoney Asia Private Banking Awards as the Philippines’ “Best for High Net Worth Clients.”

Asiamoney cited the robust and solid growth of Security Bank’s wealth management business in 2020 and the past several years, both in terms of assets under management and customer base.

“As we navigate the new normal, we will continue to invest in increased service differentiation to fulfill our goal of customer-centricity—which is a key element of our BetterBanking promise. High net worth clients and their families require bespoke services that are aligned with their long-term financial goals, whether the objective is capital preservation or growing their wealth,” said Security Bank president and CEO Sanjiv Vohra.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Dito joins Korean bandwagon

Globe Telecom and especially PLDT-Smart have done a fine job tapping the Korean wave phenomenon in marketing their services.

Not to be left behind, Dito Telecommunity’s parent firm Dito CME is injecting some of that Korean magic into the equation—sort of.

Dito CME recently announced a “landmark” distribution deal with Samsung Philippines that it hoped could be just as lucrative as bagging a top Korean artist.

“This landmark agreement signifies the trust and confidence in the capability of Dito CME to open doors for one of the country’s most reliable handset and technology providers, Samsung Philippines,” according to Dito CME president Eric Alberto.

It’s a strategic partnership as Dito CME can tap other assets within the group of owner Dennis A. Uy of Davao. These include outlets of Family Mart and Phoenix Petroleum of Uy’s Udenna Group.

Samsung is also among the larger handset makers that partnered with Dito Telecommunity early on when the telco made its March 8 commercial debut.

Dito Telecommunity also has partnerships with various other local and Chinese handset makers. How about Apple Inc.’s iPhones? We understand there were some negotiations over Apple’s huge volume requirements but discussions, thus far, are still ongoing.

—Miguel R. Camus
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TAGS: Biz Buzz, Dito Telecommunity, Manuel Villar Jr., Security Bank
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