BIZ BUZZ: The resurrection of Makati Shangri-La | Inquirer Business

BIZ BUZZ: The resurrection of Makati Shangri-La

/ 02:07 AM April 11, 2023

We told you last year that the Philippine flagship of the Shangri-La Group of Malaysian billionaire Robert Kuok —the Makati Shangri-La Hotel—would eventually reopen despite earlier fears that it had closed for good in the early stages of the pandemic.

In particular, we heard from our sources that the reopening of the hotel situated in one of the most strategic locations in the country’s premier central business district would depend primarily on the return of business travelers to the Philippines.

A year later, the bad news is that high-spending traveling businessmen and executives have not quite yet returned in droves to the country, or at least not in the numbers needed to sustain a five-star hotel of almost 700 rooms.


But the good news is that the trend is definitely headed in that direction.


Biz Buzz learned that Makati Shangri-La may reopen by as early as the middle of the year or perhaps in the late third quarter if this slow and steady ascent in business travel holds.

We’re told that it won’t take very long to get the hotel ready to accept guests as a skeleton crew has been busy keeping the interiors more or less up to par with basic maintenance over the last two years.

There are still, apparently, a few years left in the lease of the property from the Ayala Group, which Shangri-La could make use of (as opposed to rumors that the lease was about to end). In any case, if this lease is renewed down the road, that’s when the hotel’s management will embark on a major renovation, we’re told. One step at a time.

—Daxim L. Lucas

Ripe for the taking

Outside of his flagship business, fiber internet provider Converge ICT Solutions Inc., tycoon Dennis Anthony Uy has been investing in allied tech-related ventures. Two years ago, he became the single biggest stockholder of Axiado Corp., a Silicon Valley-based artificial intelligence-driven hardware security startup.

Uy intends to use Axiado’s technology to boost the security settings of the Converge network. He has also contributed to the development of its proprietary technology.

Now we hear that Axiado is up for grabs, with American tech design leaders like Qualcomm or Broadcom among those eyed to buy out Uy and the rest of the shareholders. The current CEO of this startup, after all, used to work for these tech firms.


The enterprise valuation estimate for Axiado is now a cool $2 billion! This suggests that Uy, who had acquired a 12-percent stake for just around $15 million not too long ago, is exiting with a big bonanza.

But if Axiado, under its future owners, decides to venture into the Asia-Pacific market, the tech firm would still have to deal with Uy as the tycoon will retain certain rights to the proprietary technology in this part of the world.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

D&L on a roll

The Lao family’s food and plastics manufacturing giant D&L Industries is on a roll after booking its highest-ever profit in 2022, but it appears the best is yet to come.

The company’s brand-new P10.2-billion manufacturing plant in Batangas province is coming online by the middle of the year and will be transformational for the listed company, founded in the 1960s by brothers Dean and Leon Lao.

Wait, that’s some mega hype over … a factory?

The new facility, of course, will boost D&L’s manufacturing capabilities, especially for the fast-growing export market.

To those unfamiliar, D&L is one of the country’s largest manufacturers you never heard of, making customized food ingredients and mixes, packaging, and specialized chemicals used in everyday consumer and industrial products.

D&L CEO Alvin Lao, who belongs to the family’s second-generation of leaders, said the new factory would also boost their capacity for clients operating in the massive fast-moving consumer goods segment.

The company earlier showcased sample products such as liquid soaps and cosmetics made from sustainable coconut oil.

The game changer model is that D&L will act as a one-stop manufacturing shop that will handle the formulation, production and even packaging of products, allowing clients to focus on other aspects like marketing and distribution.

“We will deliver a product that is ready to sell,” Lao said.

The factory is a significant investment for the group but Lao is confident about their future prospects.

“It’s not ‘build it and they will come’. Not exactly. They’re already there, so we built it,” he said.

—Miguel R. Camus INQ

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TAGS: Biz Buzz, Business, Converge ICT, D & L, D & L Industries, D&L, Shangri-La Makati

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