Biz Buzz: MVP’s new ballgame | Inquirer Business

Biz Buzz: MVP’s new ballgame

/ 03:29 AM July 30, 2012

Although the bid of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP) for the Sacramento Kings franchise in the NBA has not progressed, it does not mean that his pursuit of an international basketball team has been abandoned.

In a very recent investor conference on mining in New York, MVP sent a team to talk about the First Pacific group’s mining platform in the Philippines, Philex Mining. Apart from the usual questions on Philex and the recently issued mining executive order, the team was asked whether MVP was still interested to purchase an NBA franchise.

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As the team answered in the affirmative, MVP’s team immediately got calls from “highly connected” people in the NBA.

The preference of MVP, a sports enthusiast, is a western division basketball team and there are 15 teams to choose from three divisions, although it’s unknown which ones are for sale. (The Sacramento Kings team is likewise a western team but last year’s talks bogged down.)

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Apart from being a good business proposition—despite having no synergy with the group’s businesses in Asia—one rationale would be to boost Pinoy pride. After all, who does not want to make history as the first Filipino to own an American basketball franchise?—Doris C. Dumlao

Globe gets going

Finally, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for loyal subscribers of Globe Telecom Inc. who have suffered from dropped calls and erratic data speeds in recent years.

The Ayala-controlled telco has—slowly but surely—begun to reap the rewards of its $790-million network improvement program, with the recent switchover of its Davao City services to its new facilities.

This week, it will be the turn of Globe’s subscribers in Cebu City to experience improved service, according to the industry buzz.

In real terms, this would mean less dropped calls, quicker connections, faster SMS delivery and better 3G coverage all around because of additional 3G site installations.

The company also installed as much as 11 kilometers of fiber-optic cables for its so-called “back haul” facilities, which will ensure better quality (and faster) data transmission.

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For its network expansion, Globe tapped the services of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, which is also the second-largest telco equipment maker in the world (the deal was sealed before the country’s West Philippine Sea spat with China).

And when will Globe’s Metro Manila subscribers start to feel these improved services? Full implementation will happen by the fourth quarter, although we hear that it will slowly be rolled out in the Makati and Taguig areas starting next month.

Finally!—Daxim L. Lucas

No sale to Puregold

After Chinoy businessman Lucio Co and family recently raised P6.5 billion from the sale of some of their shares in Puregold, there was speculation that he is now on an acquisition mode.

As this recent private placement transaction raised nearly three times what the family harvested from the secondary offering portion of Puregold’s initial public offering last year, people were interested to know where the proceeds would be plowed into.

One recent speculation was that Co or Puregold may acquire a retailing format that’s not yet part of the current portfolio. Philippine Seven Corp., the licensee and operator of the 7-Eleven convenience store network in the country, came to some people’s mind.

Biz Buzz asked PSC president Victor Paterno about this but he said there was no intention among majority stockholders to sell to Puregold. He noted that the rumored buyout was unthinkable especially because PSC was trading at a very high P/E [price to earnings ratio] of 55x compared to Puregold’s more than 20x. “Usually it’s the company with a high P/E that will acquire one with a lower P/E but we’re a very small company compared to them. Certainly they are liquid and so are we.”

“I could tell you there’s nothing, promise!” Paterno said.—Doris C. Dumlao

Pinoy regional chief

Veteran fund manager Wilfred Son Keng Po of PineBridge Investments is relocating to Hong Kong this week to become co-regional head of listed companies for the same company with the position of managing director. Joining the pool of esteemed Filipino professionals with big-time responsibilities in the region, Son Keng Po took over PineBridge’s major regional funds in Asia ex-Japan region.

Effective August 1, he will be on top of six funds and also handle a BRIIC (Brazil-Russia-India-Indonesia-China) infrastructure fund and a Philippine-dedicated fund. He will be in charge of the Southeast and Korean teams as well.

New York-based PineBridge Investments, which dates back to the 1960s, is an independent asset manager with $67 billion in assets under management. This company has 35 percent of its assets under management invested in Asia and about $10-billion investment in Asian equities.—Doris C. Dumlao

 

Long way to go (or not)

Local renewable energy developers are now abuzz over the issuance last Friday of the much-awaited feed-in-tariff (FIT) rates, which will assure them of fixed cash flows over the next 20 years.

But while the issuance of the FIT rates is clearly a much-celebrated first step, sources pointed out that much work needs to be done.

For one, there is still no clear rules over the division of the limited installation target of 760 megawatts, which represented the total RE capacity that will be allowed to be built within the next three years and be subject to the FIT rates. As of early this month, the Department of Energy was still evaluating four options, which were unsatisfactory to energy proponents.

Another issue is the FIT-allowance, or the additional charge (or “burden,” as some would say) that will be collected from all grid-connected power consumers for the use of RE sources. It has yet to be decided how much the additional charge will be; from whom it will be collected—whether it will be per-grid or all-grid connected power consumers, and who will be the administrator of the funds, among other concerns. Based on the sources’ estimate, the whole process of getting the approval for the FIT-allowance alone, with the regulatory hearings and all, may take another year to do.

Not to mention the other necessary mechanisms also provided under the law such as renewable portfolio standards, net metering, green energy option and renewable energy market.

Much work remains to be done and it might still be a long way to go. But for the sake of the eager RE developers and a country that still suffers from recurring power supply crunches, hopefully not.—Amy R. Remo

Making waves

The local unit of Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia continues to make waves.

The airline recently gained international recognition as it received the “Route of the Week” award, given by aviation industry website ANNA.aero, for the airline’s Clark-to-Macau route launched last July 19.

Airline Network News and Analysis or ANNA.aero is an open website dedicated to outstanding airline network planning intelligence led by Ralph Anker, a former network planner with a European carrier. According to its website, the “Route of the Week” was given to the Philippines’ AirAsia’s Clark-to-Macau route for the “new air service which best demonstrates drive and entrepreneurship.”

“We are very thankful for this recognition. Our passengers can expect that we will continue to provide them with affordable fares and quality service as we unveil more routes along the way,” said Marianne Hontiveros, AirAsia Inc.’s CEO and one of the company’s three Filipino shareholders.

The carrier launched its daily flight to Macau and Hong Kong last July 19 with its brand-new Airbus A320.

Hontiveros, Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco and Michael Romero own 60 percent of AirAsia in Philippines. The rest of the airline’s shares are held by AirAsia group founder, former music executive and Formula 1 team owner Tony Fernandes.—Paolo Montecillo

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TAGS: Air Transport, AirAsia, awards and prizes, feed-in-tariff (FIT) rates, Finance, Globe telecom, Lucio Co, Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP), NBA, PineBridge Investments, puregold, renewable energy, Retail, Sports, Telecommunications, Wilfred Son Keng Po
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