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BIZ BUZZ: Auditor seals PAL comeback

/ 05:10 AM March 25, 2022

The big 2022 “comeback” of taipan Lucio Tan’s Philippine Airlines (PAL) also includes its return to trading at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) after a nine-month absence.

The PSE said in a notice that publicly listed parent firm PAL Holdings Inc. would resume trading on March 28 this year after the company refiled its 2020 annual report with the requisite disclaimer-free opinion from independent auditor SyCip Gorres Velayo & Co. (SGV).

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The refiling was made to reflect more recent and significant developments, including PAL’s exit from US Chapter 11 proceedings that allowed it to slash huge debts, thus putting it in a better financial position to continue business as usual.

Both the initial and refiled 2020 attached auditor’s report were signed by the same SGV partner, Catherine Lopez.

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Lopez—who refused to even render an opinion last year due to PAL’s mounting losses, unpaid debts and prospective restructuring plans—provided the required “unqualified” opinion in the refiled version.

That basically means the auditor found no reason to doubt any of PAL Holdings’ financial details in the refiled report. More importantly for the airline, that was all the PSE needed to lift PAL Holdings’ June 18, 2021 suspension and continue trading next week.

Lopez maintained some of her original skepticism on PAL’s prospects in the refiled version but, overall, the development was positive for the airline group and especially its newest shareholders.

Banks owned by the Aboitiz, Sy and Ng families and indeed, Tan’s own Philippine National Bank, alongside international aircraft leasing companies already own 20.5 percent of Philippine Airlines Inc. after agreeing to convert debts owed to them into shares of the airline.

The next step is to swap their PAL Inc. shares for those in PAL Holdings, meaning they would soon join Tan and Japan’s ANA Holdings in the listed parent company where they can freely trade their shares on the PSE.

—Miguel R. Camus

Uber-exclusive, redux

Biz Buzz received a number of queries from interested parties wanting to know more about the uber-exclusive “Project Rada” high rise residential development that the Po family’s Arthaland Corp. will build in Legaspi Village in Makati City, on the site of the former First Capital Condominium Building.

Due to insistent public demand, we’re providing more information about the project, but not the name of the development because the license to sell from regulators is only set to be released in the next two weeks.

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In any case, Biz Buzz hears that Project Rada’s only 37 “limited edition” units will be accessible to their owners via two private elevators that go directly from the lobby to their own units (and nowhere else unless with the permission of other units’ owners).

The condo will be staffed with internationally trained butlers—for that full-on billionaire feel—and a concierge service, as well as an in-house chauffeur who can shuttle owners to nearby destinations with the in-house Toyota Alphard van.

Project Rada will also have a fitness center and gym with personal trainers, staff who can act as personal shoppers and for errands, as well as on-call health-care services.

Naturally, the condo building will also have VIP protection and security services.

And if Arthaland accepts your reservation for a unit—ranging from P92 million to P285 million—you get a welcome kit in a fancy Italian suitcase that also comes with a bottle of Grand Cru wine and an exclusive IWC watch. Talk about fancy!

—Daxim L. Lucas
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TAGS: Arthaland Corp., Biz Buzz, Philippine Airlines (PAL)
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