Biz Buzz: Lucio Co rebounds
Chinoy businessman Lucio Co seems to have trumped (at least for now) the detractors who had given his retailing business Puregold Price Club Inc. some rough sailing shortly before its public debut last October.
Puregold, riding on consumer-driven retail play, is now enjoying favorable coverage from local and foreign research analysts and has recently hit new highs with good volume on the stock market. Although its share price faltered initially after listing on Oct. 5, those who had bought Puregold at its initial public offering price of P12.50 are now 44-percent richer. That’s more so for those who bought when share prices bottomed at P10.68 as its stocks are now trading at the P18 level.
Puregold’s ceremonial 100th store in Barangay Tuktukan in Taguig City was also a big hit, being the first hypermarket in that suburban hub. A multitude of people swarmed the new store during its opening last Monday to take advantage of the buy-one-take-one offering of sugar, rice and other perishable items. (For a store of this size, Puregold usually gets 10,000 in foot traffic, including window shoppers.) There were a lot of grocery item freebies that attracted budget-conscious folks.
The company also claims to be the first and only hypermarket/supermarket chain to offer a free customized loyalty program particularly for retail micro-entrepreneurs like resellers and wholesalers. This “Tindahan ni Aling Puring” (Aling Puring’s Store) program now serves 170,000 small entrepreneurs.
So it really looks like Mr. Co survived his detractors’ attacks after all.—Doris C. Dumlao
At the time the SM group started building a mall in Cagayan de Oro City, not a few eyebrows were raised at the company’s choice of location.
Although situated close to the airport, the SM mall in CDO was located on a higher elevation, far from the traditional city center. (“Who’d want to venture so far away from town to shop in SM?” was the often heard question.)
Well, its location turned out to be a blessing when Sendong hit the city last weekend.
Unaffected by the massive flooding, the mall ended up giving shelter to some families (even as commercial operations continued), while the SM group has so far donated some P10 million (an increase of P2 million from Tuesday) to the relief effort, both in the form of cash and goods.
It has also given out more than 10,000 bottles of purified water to various evacuation centers around the city.
Many of the recipients of relief goods and various forms of assistance, in fact, were SM employees themselves, many of whom barely escaped the rampaging flood waters that swept away their homes.—Daxim L. Lucas
Giving back, too
Incidentally, another conglomerate that has made a substantial contribution to the relief effort is San Miguel Corp., whose value of cash and goods outlay has grown steadily along with (sadly) the casualty numbers.
What started as an initial donation of P1 million when the initial damage reports came in last weekend, grew to P2 million, P3 million, then to P5 million worth of canned goods, T-shirts, bottled water and cash as of Tuesday morning. By the afternoon, however, this amount had grown to P9 million (we understand the amount is set to increase further).
Also contributing to the effort was the Lucio Tan group, which, aside from sending the much-needed bottled water (courtesy of Asia Brewery), also waived fees for relief goods being brought in via Philippine Airlines.
Indeed, it’s always good to see the country’s biggest companies giving back to their broader set of stakeholders.—Daxim L. Lucas
Christmas @ Ayala Garden
A certified blockbuster hit in Makati this holiday season is the Christmas lights and sound show at the Ayala triangle gardens that runs every hour every night from 6 to 9. The Christmas decors along the central business district’s main thoroughfare Ayala Ave. may look subdued compared to previous years, but the attraction is now right at the garden with the musical lights spectacle.
This enthralling symphony of lights and sounds, a free offering by property giant Ayala Land Inc., is now running in its third year. It’s a creation of artist/lighting designer Voltaire de Jesus in collaboration with composers Jazz Nicolas and Mikey Amistoso.
The daily audience is thick enough on weekdays with Makati’s daytime population converging there after office hours, but it’s even more crowded on weekends, swarming with families with little children in tow. The restaurants along the garden are of course benefiting immensely. For those who haven’t seen it, the public has until Dec. 30 to enjoy this urban Christmas spectacle, a good alternative to pyrotechnics.—Doris C. Dumlao
The Firm vs. Chavez
“Christmas in jail? They’re dreaming. A good case is built on proof. Dreams are built on pillows,” thus said former solicitor general Frank Chavez as he fired back at this longtime nemesis, the Villaraza Cruz Marcelo and Angangco law office (aka The Firm).
Responding to last Monday’s item, the former solicitor general described The Firm’s recent progress in a libel case filed against him in Bohol as “not a victory, but treachery.”
“That is not the right venue, that is forum shopping,” he said. “They have not scored in their 10 libel cases filed in different venues in Metro Manila. So one partner has to file a libel case in far-flung Bohol to obtain a hometown resolution.”
(The feud between Chavez and The Firm erupted after last year’s elections when the former criticized the latter heavily for allegedly trying to win key appointments in the P-Noy administration.)
“City prosecution offices in Metro Manila dismissed four of the same libelous suits for lack of probable cause,” he pointed out. “Bohol prosecutors say otherwise. And the Bohol complainant takes pride in this? Shame, shame, shame.”
(The Firm texted Biz Buzz to say: “Typical of Chavez’s legal style: whine instead of win.”)
Get ready for Round Three.—Daxim L. Lucas
Hail to the chief
The Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) is about to get a new face. Call center industry veteran Benedict Hernandez is about to take the helm of the influential industry group, which represents the country’s multibillion-dollar BPO industry.
Hernandez used to be the head of eTelecare’s BPO operations in the Philippines. Today, he leads Accenture’s call center group. He also sits as president of the Call Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP).
He can boast that during his term as CCAP president, the country was able to overtake India as the world’s number one provider of sub-contracted voice services.
As head of BPAP, which is the main marketing arm for the country’s BPO sector, Hernandez will be in charge of ensuring that the industry is able to sustain its growth in the long term. Over the past 10 years, the BPO sector has risen from obscurity to one of the few bright spots propping up the Philippine economy.—Paolo Montecillo
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