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BIZ BUZZ: Balance of power

/ 04:01 AM July 02, 2021

The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) will hold its elections today for its directors that will steer the organization in the year ahead, and already, watchers are curious about how the composition of the new board will play out.

That’s because, apart from one of the 15 available board seats being left vacant, this year’s elections will also see the entry of two new—and influential—personalities into the organization.

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We’re talking about former Defense Secretary and former presidential candidate Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro and former Trade Undersecretary Tomas “Tommy” Alcantara, both of whom have extensive experience at the top of private sector firms and the country’s largest business groups.

Biz Buzz understands that Teodoro will serve as an independent director on the PSE board while Alcantara will serve as a sectoral representative to advocate for the private sector.

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They will replace Roberto Cecilio Lim and Edgardo Lacson of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In particular, convincing Alcantara to join the PSE board is nothing short of a strategic coup for the PSE brokers who have been under increasing pressure in recent years to yield more power to nonbroker personalities.

In particular, we’re talking about the country’s last two finance secretaries who have been forceful advocates of shaking things up at the bourse, the current office holder having more success than the previous one, apparently.

In any case, it appears that Alcantara is an acceptable board candidate for Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, given both gentlemen’s Mindanao origins, previous business undertakings and familial ties.

So it seems that everyone is happy for now. For how long? Abangan!

—Daxim L. Lucas INQ

Courting SMEs

Despite the prolonged coronavirus pandemic, the local stock market has seen much more vibrant capital-raising activities this year as cash-awash investors turned to equities to seek higher yields.

In the first semester, the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) recorded P122.46 billion in capital raised from the sale of primary and secondary shares, exceeding the P103.76 billion raised for the whole of 2020.

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Two initial public offerings (by Monde Nissin and DoubleDragon Meridian Park REIT), two follow-on offerings (by AC Energy and 8990 Holdings), two stock rights offerings and three private placements had been completed so far this year.

“We are pleased that companies continue to tap the equities market for their funding requirements. Capital-raising activities at PSE continue to be robust and we remain optimistic that we will be able to hit our targets by yearend,” PSE president Ramon Monzon said.

Monzon is hoping that the interest will cascade to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

After all, the PSE recently issued new rules to entice more public offerings.

Trading activity likewise continued to improve in the first six months, with daily average value turnover at P8.96 billion, up by 21.9 percent year-to-date and 35.9 percent year-on-year. This volume was driven by local hands, as foreigners were net sellers to the tune of P77.8 billion in the first semester.

— Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Thriving in tough times

These days, it’s a situation of sink or swim for many businesses, notably those in the tourism sector. RedDoorz has chosen to do the latter and is in fact expanding with the launch of a new concept.

The Singapore-based company operates like the Grab or Uber of hotels using a franchise model. It partners with existing budget hotels, trains their staff and provides the technology while rebranding the enterprise as a RedDoorz hotel.

The company has suffered from the tourism downturn like many others and decided it was time to innovate. RedDoorz is thus moving into what it calls a “multibrand accommodations platform,” or basically offering even more choices for guests.

This week, it launched the “Sans Hotels” brand in the Philippines, which despite its name is still a hotel focused on being both trendy and affordable for younger guests.

The Sans Hotel will thus feature the usual amenities plus unique themes and designs. The first of its kind is opening in Manila with locations in Tagaytay and Cebu to follow.

Country manager Miguel Capistrano said the strategy was to add more hotels in “high demand cities” and, of course, all the hygiene and safety protocols will be in place for the pandemic-weary guest.

It’s encouraging that companies are doing their best to revive business and keep people employed. It could pay off big time once the economy inevitably recovers.

—Miguel R. Camus INQ
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TAGS: Business, Philippine Stock Exchange
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