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BIZ BUZZ: Fingers crossed: No political crisis

/ 05:18 AM January 14, 2022

The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) knows the country is facing more than just one crisis, and the next administration will have its hands full facing these daunting challenges.

MAP President Alfredo Pascual said in his inaugural speech on Thursday that the business group is open to working with whoever wins the crucial 2022 elections. But among the various scenarios that could emerge from the polls, he hopes a political crisis will not be one of them.

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“We are still facing severe and multiple crises, including a health crisis, an economic crisis, an education crisis, an environmental crisis and a social justice crisis,” he said.

“Given that 2022 is a critical election year for the country, we hope that ‘political and constitutional crisis’ is not added to this already long list,” added Pascual, who also served as president and cochair of the University of the Philippines from 2011 to 2017.

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In the middle of the year, Pascual said the group would invite the newly elected and appointed national officials for policy dialogues.

“We shall take a proactive stance on national issues that directly and substantially impact business or other sectors of society. Of particular interest to us are management excellence and good governance concerns,” he said.

“We intend to issue public statements on our own as MAP or in collaboration with other like-minded business groups. For greater influence and leverage, concerted action is sometimes, if not often, required,” he added.

He said this while talking about one of the thrusts of the business group for this year: policy reform for economic dynamism.

“The pandemic has proved to be an excellent mirror for humanity, and us, highlighting the social and economic inequalities and systemic weaknesses that afflict our people,” he said, noting that the public should strive for a truly inclusive norm.

“What do we do now? It is time for us not only to do more but also to be more. To be better. We should not be thinking of just going back to the prepandemic state of affairs in 2019. In fact, why should we return to the old normal?” he said.

—Roy Stephen C. Canivel

Following Acen?

Stock market investors have found a new favorite play, with trading of Solar Philippines Nueva Ecija Corporation’s (SPNEC) stock topping P7 billion since its Dec. 17 listing, making it PSE’s most highly traded stock.

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SPNEC’s shares soared as high as 50 percent from its IPO price of P1 per share, making it the best performing PSE IPO in 2021. From opening at 1.18 on Jan. 10, SPNEC closed yesterday at P1.42 apiece.

Continuing interest in SPNEC’s stock comes after its board of directors approved a fivefold increase in its authorized capital stock, which would enable the company to enter into asset-for-share swaps with its parent firm, Solar Philippines.

To market observers, SPNEC seems to be following AC Energy’s (Acen) footsteps when it folded its domestic and international businesses into Phinma Energy.

This pushed Acen’s stock price from around P2 in 2019 to a high of P13 in 2021. It won’t be surprising if investors who rode on Acen’s gains will vote with their wallets, hoping to ride the next wave with SPNEC.

—Daxim L. Lucas

Doing business in UK

There are more than a dozen Chinese for every Pinoy on this planet, but when it comes to operating businesses in the United Kingdom, you may be surprised to find out that Pinoys outnumber peers from the Middle Kingdom.

Based on a December 2021 research by London-based financial service firm ETX Capital, the most common reported nationality of UK business owners—excluding “locals” or those who are British, English, Scottish or Welsh—turned out to be Filipino.

About 2.65 percent of non-UK businesses in the United Kingdom are owned by Filipinos, edging out those owned by the Chinese who had 2.17 percent.

To come up with this report, ETX Capital gathered the Companies House data of over 200,000 businesses to find out, among others, the reported nationalities, countries of residence and localities of their business owners.

The study indicated that 28.6 percent of UK business owners are of other nationalities, with 10.8 percent of them reporting that their country of residence was outside the United Kingdom.

Of course in terms of size, which was not covered by the research, most Pinoy businesses in the United Kingdom may be micro, small and medium in size, but we can also think of prominent examples.

Tycoon Andrew Tan-led Emperador Inc. now owns storied whisky maker Whyte & Mackay. Monde Nissin, under its vegan CEO Henry Soesanto, owns Quorn, United Kingdom’s leading meat alternative brand. Some banks like PNB and BPI have full branch operations in London. Fast-food giant Jollibee Foods Corp. has been putting up more and more stores across the United Kingdom, expanding even to Scotland and Wales.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
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TAGS: AC Energy’s (Acen), MAP President Alfredo Pascual, United Kingdom
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