BIZ BUZZ: Skyway 3 breakthrough | Inquirer Business

BIZ BUZZ: Skyway 3 breakthrough

/ 04:02 AM July 07, 2021

Almost seven months after it first opened, the Skyway Stage 3 elevated tollroad of San Miguel Corp. will finally start collecting fees from the motoring public.

Biz Buzz learned that the conglomerate has been spending an estimated P10 million a day for Skyway 3’s operations since it started letting vehicles on it for free. That’s P10 million in money lost each day that the government regulator didn’t allow it to charge toll fees for one reason or another.

But yesterday’s announcement that the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) had finally given the green light for toll collection will be met with sighs of relief at San Miguel, which has so far spent—or forgone in terms of toll revenues—some P246 million since the pandemic began.


And despite being given a difficult time by the regulator in their negotiations to be allowed to collect toll, San Miguel chief Ramon Ang was gracious in extending his gratitude to them.


“We thank the TRB for helping us determine the most equitable toll rates for our motorists,” he said in a statement yesterday. “We know from experience that times are hard for many, and even a little relief for motorists can go a long way. These toll rates reflect our deferral of the collection of a substantial amount of the cost to build Skyway 3. We also further lowered the rates for those traveling shorter distances.”

Nonetheless, San Miguel has some ways to go before it recovers the estimated P80 billion it spent on the project since its inception in 2009, pushing it through government roadblocks between 2010 and 2013, and finally breaking ground in 2014.

Skyway 3 has a rated capacity of 200,000 vehicles per day (that’s 200,000 vehicles not plying Edsa and other thoroughfares), and Biz Buzz learned that the current vehicular traffic rate is about 75,000 per day.

This is estimated to decline to 45,000 vehicles per day once toll collection begins next week, but is expected to rise gradually as the economy recovers from the pandemic.

Of course, it’s worth noting that no road is really free, whether it’s a toll highway or a normal at-grade level thoroughfare that’s built and maintained using taxpayer money. Thankfully, Skyway 3—whose sustainable operations is assured with the collection of tolls—is now ready to provide motorists with a traffic-free alternative.

—Daxim L. Lucas

Old trading floor

Since moving to its new head office with a more compact trading floor in BGC in 2018, the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) left behind a key asset at its old headquarters and trading floor along Ayala Avenue.


Instead of selling the valuable office property, the PSE decided to renovate the property, add a new floor to what was previously a high-ceiling trading floor, and create additional office space.

The renovation was a bit delayed by the pandemic that erupted last year, but the PSE has now completed its renovation. As such, the floor area of the Ayala property has increased to about 4,400 square meters from around 2,190 sqm.

PSE president Ramon Monzon said the exchange was now actively looking for tenants to occupy the renovated premium office space.

Meanwhile, the PSE welcomed two new directors in its board after the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting on Friday.

Former Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. was elected as a new independent director while Tomas Alcantara, a former Board of Investments managing director and former president of Alsons Consolidated, was elected as a nonbroker director representing other market participants.

Reelected to their posts as independent directors were Jose Pardo (PSE chair), retired Chief Justice Teresita De Castro as well as retired bankers Consuelo Garcia and Vicente Panlilio. On the other hand, PLDT’s Anabelle Chua was reelected as non-broker director representing issuers while San Miguel Corp.’s Ferdinand Constantino and GSIS’ Rolando Jose Macasaet were reelected as nonbroker directors representing investors.

Stock brokers Diosdado Arroyo, Eddie Gobing, Wilson Sy and Ma. Vivian Yuchengco also obtained a fresh mandate, along with PSE president Monzon.

This marks the second term where a third of PSE’s board will be comprised of independent directors following a directive from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“The PSE board will continue to promote policies and initiatives that will increase market depth and improve market efficiency. I am thankful to my colleagues in the board who have been with me on this cause, and I look forward to get our newly-elected directors on board to share their experience, knowledge and expertise to further steer our exchange towards sustained growth,” chair Pardo said.

The PSE has no plan to hold a special election to fill the 15th slot vacated by Venture Securities’ owner Eusebio Tanco.

Meanwhile, the PSE shareholders approved the extension of Pardo’s term for two more years.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Sustainability investing

Local fund management firm ATR Asset Management (Atram), which rolled out a pioneering equity fund that advocates sustainability investing earlier this year, bagged the “Editor’s Triple Star” during the recent The Asset Triple A Sustainable Investing Awards.

This marks the first time that a homegrown asset management company has received this distinction in the ESG (environmental, social and governance) fund management and investor awards category.

Atram was recognized for actively integrating ESG metrics in its investment process, supported by a dedicated research team reviewing and advocating corporate ESG disclosures that are aligned with international standards such as Global Reporting Initiative and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board.

“Atram is committed to the continuous integration of ESG and sustainability in our investment process. We believe that companies with these best ESG practices will not only generate sustainable long-term returns but will also lead in delivering positive impact to their respective stakeholders and communities,” said Phillip Hagedorn, chief investment officer of Atram Group.

Sustainability or ESG investing is both a rapidly growing global investment theme and a developing best practice approach to active fund management. This investment style puts greater weight on companies that integrate relevant ESG factors into their business and risk management strategies.

ESG factors considers issues such climate change, customer and employee welfare, corporate governance, and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

In line with the company’s ESG integration, Atram recently launched the Atram Philippine Sustainable Development and Growth Fund, which is designed to invest in companies that score high in terms of the integration of UN SDGs into their operations and strategy and have reported attractive returns relative to valuations.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadillainq

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