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BIZ BUZZ: Full speed ahead

/ 04:01 AM January 19, 2022

They said they were serious about pushing ahead with expansion plans this year despite the pandemic, and this week they showed the business community that they meant it.

We’re talking about DoubleDragon Corp.’s subsidiary CentralHub Industrial Centers Inc., which, on Monday, completed the construction of the fourth phase of CentralHub-Tarlac. This means that the construction of the 6.2-hectare industrial warehouse complex is now complete and the company founded by young billionaire Edgar “Injap” Sia II and Tony Tancaktiong are ready to ramp up their logistics business.

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To date, DoubleDragon has completed CentralHub-Capiz, CentralHub-Tarlac, CentralHub-Pasig, CentralHub-Laguna1 and CentralHub-Laguna2, and will soon add to its completed portfolio are CentralHub-Iloilo, CentralHub-Davao and CentralHub-Cebu.

CentralHub Industrial Centers Inc.—which to date has 43.8 hectares of industrial assets—continues to ramp up construction of its industrial warehouse portfolio after it recently completed its equity joint venture with Jollibee Foods Corp. through building out its P24.8-billion industrial leasing portfolio in line with its preparation for the Philippine’s first Industrial REIT IPO in the second half of 2022.

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“We are currently ramping up the simultaneous construction of various CentralHub industrial complexes across the country as the demand for modern industrial warehouses continues to grow,” Sia said. “We aim to establish a strong foothold in this sunrise property sector as we aim to make DoubleDragon become one of the largest landlords of industrial warehouse space in the Philippines.”

DoubleDragon’s four core pillars of growth are the portfolio of community centers spread out in the provincial city centers, its pioneering hybrid condotel brand Hotel101, its prime blocks of landmark office buildings portfolio namely the 42-story Jollibee Tower in Ortigas CBD, DD Meridian Park complex at the Bay Area, The Skysuites Corporate Tower in QC, and soon Robinsons DoubleDragon Square Building in Bridgetowne Libis, and its CentralHub chain of industrial warehouse complexes.

What’s next for this aggressive conglomerate-in-the-making this year? Abangan!

—Daxim L. Lucas

New HSBC country chief

British banking giant HSBC is bringing back to the Philippines a Hong Kong-based veteran to head onshore operations.

Sandeep Uppal will succeed Graham FitzGerald as the new president and CEO of HSBC Philippines, subject to regulatory approval.

At the end of February, FitzGerald is leaving HSBC after 18 years.

For his part, Sandeep is no stranger to this jurisdiction. If his name sounds familiar to some of you, it’s because he had been based here previously, back in 1998 to 1999, as head of retail branches, then reporting to the head of Retail Banking (now called Wealth and Personal Banking).

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He joined HSBC in 1993 and is currently global cohead of HSBC’s International Subsidiary Banking, responsible for managing large corporate and midmarket subsidiary clients across 49 markets.

He has over 30 years of banking experience working in Hong Kong, India, Mauritius, the Philippines and the United Kingdom.

“Sandeep’s extensive international banking experience will be invaluable to our retail and wholesale banking growth strategies in what is Asean’s third-largest economy, particularly as we set course to grow market share in the country’s midmarket enterprise sector,” said Surendra Rosha, cochief executive at HSBC Asia-Pacific.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Growing competition

For many, home is where the heart is. For telecommunications and internet players, it’s also the new battleground.

PLDT Home is kicking things off as it announced plans to make a “big push” in 2022 and turn its home internet segment into a major revenue driver for the group, company chair Manuel Pangilinan said.

“More households now enjoy the reliable connection which supports both work-from-home and online learning, as PLDT boosts its installation capability to serve the growing demand for fiber connectivity across the country,” he said.

Competitive temperatures have been on the rise amid booming demand for high-speed fiber internet services during the pandemic.

This opened up opportunities for pure fiber company Converge ICT Solutions to capture market share. Mobile leader Globe Telecom had also announced it was ramping up its fiber business.

New player Dito Telecommunity is also vying for a slice of the home broadband pie.

Leo Venezuela, investor relations officer of partner firm Dito CME Holdings, said they plan to dip their toes in the segment by providing fixed wireless internet. He said this would be launched “sometime in the first quarter of 2022.”

This big push from all players can only be good news for the public as more competition pushes speeds higher while bringing costs down.

—Miguel R. Camus INQ
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