BIZ BUZZ: PAREx-serye rages on

BIZ BUZZ: PAREx-serye rages on

/ 02:10 AM June 25, 2024

Has billionaire Ramon S. Ang made up his mind about pursuing the controversial Pasig River Expressway (PAREx) project?

Well, his company, San Miguel Corp., officially gave yet another answer to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday.

In its disclosure, the conglomerate reiterated that the 19.37-kilometer tollway project, which has been criticized since its inception due to feared damage to the environment, was never actually canceled.


“Mr. Ang did not state that the company is dropping the project,” San Miguel said. “Rather, he mentioned that it has not been pursued due to opposition from some groups.”


READ: BIZ BUZZ: PAREx ‘still on the table’

Back in March, Ang told reporters that if public opinion on the P81.53-billion PAREx project was “not good,” then “we will not do it anymore.”

He clarified this statement around two months later, and said the project was only on hold for further review.

In San Miguel’s disclosure on Monday, it said they were working on a “detailed study” to assess the environmental impact of the project, adding that they had garnered “significant support” from Rizal and Eastern Metro Manila residents to continue pursuing the project.

But such is not the case for civil society group Ilog Pasiglahin.

In fact, the group stressed that they “strongly condemn” plans to resume the project.


“The resumption of PAREx is proof that Mr. Ang and [San Miguel] do not truly listen to public sentiment,” Ilog Pasiglahin said in a statement on Monday. —Meg J. Adonis

All eyes on NexGen

It appears that volatile market conditions (so far) are not discouraging companies from going public.

Today, June 25, all eyes will be on businessman Dexter Tiu’s NexGen Energy Corp. as it sets the final price of its P500-million initial public offering (IPO).

The local bourse cleared NexGen’s offering on Monday to make it the third company to brave the stock market this year and Tiu’s second in a span of 12 months, after Repower Energy Development Corp.

Based on NexGen’s June 21 preliminary prospectus, the 345 million shares will be offered from July 1 to July 8 at up to P1.68 each. NexGen plans to list on the small, medium and emerging board of the PSE on July 16.

READ: Tiu hurdles SEC approval to debut another firm

We’re all trying to be optimistic for this particular listing, even if Citicore Renewable Energy Corp. (CREC), the country’s first renewable energy firm to list this year, has seen little movement Edgar Saavedra’s CREC closed at P2.69 per share on Monday, just a centavo under its IPO price of P2.70.

Meanwhile, curtain-raiser OceanaGold Philippines, which debuted on May 13, seems to be faring better. It closed at P14.06 each on the first trading day of the week, up by 5.46 percent from its IPO price of P13.33.

Analysts have been warning that it may still be a difficult journey for clean energy companies planning to go public this year, but the government’s ambitious renewable energy targets may lift their spirits. Abangan! —Meg J. Adonis

Affordable rice for sale

It’s not yet P20 a kilo, but rice prices may get there, eventually. This after the Philippine Rice Industry Stakeholders Movement (Prism) assured the public that the price of rice—a staple food among Filipino households—will go down to as low as P42 a kilo in July.

“We expect our rice prices in the market to decline to around P42 to P44 or P45 to P46 per kilo in public markets starting this July after the tariff is lowered to 15 percent,” Prism founder Orly Manuntag said on Monday.

Prism founder Rowena Sadicon also assured farmers that their own interests will not be overlooked despite the tariff reduction that will cause greater competition and pull down their selling prices.

“We’d like to assure also our farmers that we will promote cluster farming and provide as much assistance to rice farmers so that local production will not be affected,” Sadicon said.

Prism—composed of various stakeholders across the rice value chain from seed growers to retailers—made the commitment following the issuance of Executive Order No. 62, which lowered the tariff on imported rice from 35 percent to 15 percent.

The promised reduction puts rice prices still far from the P20 per kilogram vowed by President Marcos during his campaign in 2022. Still, the indicative price is lower than the selling price of local regular milled and well-milled rice ranging from P45 to P55 per kg as of Monday.

We said it before—a promise is a promise.

But will Filipino consumers really feel the effect of reduced rice tariffs at the retail level, as claimed by Prism? Or will promises be broken? —Jordeene B. Lagare

Maya reaps fruit of savings innovation

In a country where many people are still unbanked, Maya’s efforts to develop a variety of saving tools to meet the diverse needs of its clients are now paying off.

The digital bank reported that it has seen a surge in active users who, the company said, transact up to four times more frequently than those using only e-wallets.

At the same time, Maya’s depositor base had expanded by 74 percent year-on-year to 3.7 million as of May, while deposit balances increased by 24 percent to P32 billion.

While nondigital banks offer minimal interest, Maya Savings can yield up to 14 percent annually, offering 200 times the typical market rate.

That, along with Maya’s other savings tools like the in-app “personal goals feature” that aid first-time savers develop stronger saving habits, helped the company attract more deposits, a major lifeline for banks.

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Though 18 million Filipino adults have a bank account, central bank data showed only 9 million actively saved with a bank. But with the help of digital banks like Maya, financial inclusion is becoming more achievable by the day. —Ian Nicolas P. Cigaral INQ

TAGS: Biz Buzz, PAREx

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