BIZ BUZZ: Maharlika head chosen
It took a while, but Biz Buzz learned that President Marcos has finally made the important decision on whom to appoint as the very first head of the Maharlika Investment Fund.
We told you in early August that one of the frontrunners for the job was former investment banker Joel Consing—the former chief financial officer of Enrique Razon Jr.’s International Container Terminal Services Inc. and a former treasurer of the Aboitiz Group, too —and it looks like our earlier prediction is coming to pass.
We hear that, with the new implementing rules of the Maharlika fund now in place, Consing’s formal appointment by the President is imminent.
—Daxim L. Lucas
SM group’s diversification strategy
Few people associate renewable energy with SM Investments Corp., but the country’s largest retail conglomerate is making a big push into that space as part of its diversification strategy, according to the company’s vice chair Teresita Sy-Coson.
And she made this revelation before the rest of the world last week while speaking at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore where leaders of some the the region’s largest business groups outlined their plans for the future.
“The growth will be more in renewable because we have to source from renewables,” he said. “We get 50 percent of our energy from renewables.”
In 2022, SM’s property portfolio through SM Prime Holdings, already sourced half of its energy requirement from renewable sources. The company aims to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040—an ambitious goal, but one that the conglomerate head feels is within reach.
SM Investments is also ramping up clean energy supply in support of the country’s growing advocacy for green energy. This is through its wholly owned Philippine Geothermal Production Co., a leading provider of geothermal steam for sustainable energy, which has several greenfield concession areas for geothermal steam development.
Philippine Geothermal aims to boost its steam production by another 300 megawatts of baseload renewable energy through new exploration projects, which will increase its geothermal capacity to 600 MW.
And where will the money for all these expansion efforts come from? That’s no problem, apparently, because SM Investments reported a consolidated net income of P55.9 billion in the January to September period of this year, higher by 30 percent from P42.9 billion in the same period last year.
Consolidated revenues rose 15 percent to P440.4 billion from P382 billion in the same period last year.
Of the group’s total net earnings, retail accounted for 18 percent. Banking accounted for the largest share at 47 percent, while property contributed 26 percent and portfolio investments pitched in 9 percent.
Portfolio investments continued to sustain growth with Philippine Geothermal and office developer NEO contributing significantly to the bottom line.
So expect the SM group’s business lineup to evolve significantly just a few years down the road. Abangan!
— Daxim L. Lucas
(Metro)banking on consumer spending
Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. doesn’t see consumer spending letting up anytime soon, especially for its elite circle of Metrobank World credit card holders.
The Ty family’s banking giant recently held a relaunch for the Metrobank World Mastercard by offering more perks relevant to this specific clientele.
Following the relaunch, card holders can avail themselves of bonus airline miles, complimentary passes to over 1,000 airport lounges, shopping discounts and low foreign exchange fees.
Metrobank, which saw credit card receivables soar almost 30 percent during the first nine months of 2023, recognizes that revnge travel is showing no signs of slowing down two odd years into the postpandemic period.
“There’s a surge in travel spending out of consumers and travel is one of the main categories of our business today. So, we are very confident to see the increase in spending of our customers in 2024,” Metrobank head of credit card product and segment strategy Melissa Samson said during the recent event.