Property, banking push Ayala profit to P26 billion

AYALA Corp. realized P26.01 billion in net income last year, standing halfway through its 2020 road map following a double-digit growth in contributions of its real estate and banking operations.

In a media briefing in Makati City on Monday, the country’s oldest conglomerate announced its net income attributable to the parent grew 17% from the P22.28 billion booked for 2015. Earnings per share accordingly rose to P39.88 from P33.89.

Ayala received P32 billion or 14% more earnings from its businesses, as Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and Ayala Land, Inc. turned in 19% and 18% more earnings. The contributions of AC Energy Holdings, Inc. and AC Industrial Technology Holdings, Inc. soared 27% and 51% alongside.

In the fourth quarter alone, Ayala booked a 39% year-on-year increase in earnings to P6.4 billion, following a 27% surge in the equity contribution of its businesses to P8.4 billion.

“This is really on the back of the very strong performance of Ayala Land, Globe and to a little extent our power and automotive businesses,” Ayala Chief Financial Officer Jose Teodoro K. Limcaoco said during the media briefing.

Last year, Ayala Land netted P20.9 billion or 19% above the P17.6 billion posted for 2015, after growing its consolidated revenues 16% to P124.6 billion from P107.2 billion.

Residential and office sales pushed its revenues from the development of properties 17% to P79.2 billion, while the continued expansion of its leasable portfolio lifted its recurring income 12% to P15 billion.

BPI, the country’s third-largest lender in terms of asset, booked a 21% increase in net income to P22.05 billion from P18.04 billion, largely on higher interest income, securities trading gains and higher fees from its transactional and bancassurance businesses.

Globe Telecom grew its core net income 6% to P16.01 billion from P15.13 billion on higher uptake for data-related products and expanding subscriber base for its mobile and broadband services. Its bottom line, however, dipped 4% to P15.88 billion from P16.48 billion after incurring additional expenses for the acquisition of San Miguel Corp.’s telecommunication assets, among others.

Manila Water Company, Inc. posted P6.07 billion, a 2% increase from the P5.96 billion reported for 2015. It generated revenues amounting 5% higher to P17.71 billion from P16.94 billion, as billed volume within its service coverage area rose 5% to 719.3 million cubic meters.

AC Industrials earned 29% higher at P1.8 billion, as robust vehicle sales across brands and higher contribution from the distribution businesses propelled the automotive segment.

In electronics manufacturing, listed Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc. posted a 2.5% lower net income of $28.1 million, as costs related to strategic acquisitions and the impact of the yuan’s fluctuation offset the 4% uptick in consolidated revenues to $843 million.

AC Energy booked a 25% surge in net income to P2.7 billion, as equity earnings from investees climbed 67% to P1.8 billion on higher operating efficiencies of GNPower Mariveles and the operation of South Luzon Thermal Energy Corp. It also benefitted from the partial sale of shares in South Luzon Thermal Energy Corp.

Last year, AC Energy surpassed its target of expanding its attributable power generation capacity to 1,000 megawatts. The power business is now looking to double its equity commitment to $1.6 billion and capacity to 2,000 megawatts by 2020.

AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., meanwhile, continued to execute three public-private partnership projects. It intends to undertake the redevelopment of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and submit other project proposals to the government.

“Ayala capped its five-year strategic target in 2016 with net income expanding nearly threefold and a 23% compounded annual growth rate since we put the plan in place in 2011,” President and Chief Operating Officer Fernando Zobel de Ayala noted in a statement.

The listed conglomerate had targeted to grow its earnings to P25 billion by 2020, from the P9.2 billion recorded for 2011.

Last year’s results position Ayala halfway through its next target: P50 billion in net income and 20% shareholder return on common equity toward 2020. It also looks to increasing the equity earnings contribution of non-listed business to 20% and that of the Southeast Asian operations to 10%.

“If you look at how much capex (capital expenditures) we’ve spent as a group in the past five years, we’re close to P720 billion, reaffirming our confidence in the country and our future plans,” Mr. Limcaoco noted.

Ayala programmed P185 billion to further grow its property, telecommunications and water businesses as well as ramp up its operations in the power, industrial technologies, health care and education sectors this year. The budget represents a 13% increase from the P164 billion spent in 2016.

The conglomerate also continues to scout for acquisitions particularly in disruptive technologies relevant to its current businesses. It has recently invested about $50 billion in a start-up working on solar technology in Silicon Valley and online fashion marketplace Zalora Philippines, among others.

“We’re certainly putting a bigger effort today to look for these types of investments,” Mr. Limcaoco noted.

Shares in Ayala closed P7 or 0.86% higher at P822 apiece on the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday, tracking an uptrend across the region and partly triggered by bargain hunting in the case of the local bourse.

Japan firms signal interest in investments worth P198.5B

JAPANESE businesses have expressed interest in investing as much as P198.5 billion in the Philippines, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

“Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez met with senior executives of Japan’s seven major trading houses in Tokyo recently (March 1, 2017) to discuss President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s economic programs and Japanese companies investment interests in the Philippines, conservatively valued at P198.5 billion,” said DTI in a statement.

These investment inquiries include coal-fired power plants, Mindanao farming expansion projects, Nickel mining in Surigao and Palawan and DTI’s Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program.

On March 1, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, together with Transportation Secretary Aurthur P. Tugade and Philippine Ambassador Designate Jose Laurel V met with the major trading houses — Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsui and Co., Ltd., Sumitomo Corp., Itochu Corp., Marubeni Corp., Toyota Tsusho, and Sojitz.

According to DTI, Marubeni is willing to invest P75 billion in additional coal power plants over the medium term.

Itochu and Sumitomo, through the Department of Labor and Employment and Sumifru (Philippines) Corp., are willing to invest P12.9 billion until 2018 in expanding their integrated farming projects in Mindanao.

Sumitomo, Sojitz, and Mitsui, will be jointly investing P80 billion in Coral Bay Nickel Corp. and Taganito High Pressure Acid Leaching Nickel Corp. in Surigao and Palawan.

Groups with car operations like Mitsubishi, Sojitz, Mitsui, and Toyota Tsusho are also participating in DTI’s CARS program, which aims to raise local automobile manufacturing in order to expand the country’s production of car parts.

All seven trading houses have expressed interest in engaging in the country’s “Golden Age of Infrastructure,” particularly projects in railways and subways, airport development projects, the Clark Green City Project and the Expanded Port and Roll On Roll Off Building Programs.

“Through sound and consistent macroeconomic policies, the country continues to attract serious investments,” Mr. Lopez said in a statement.

He said that strong fundamentals such as robust economic growth, increasing population, current trade agreements and a skilled young work force, “plus political will and focused trade and investment policies” serve as a “magnet for foreign investments.

GMR-Megawide consortium alarmed over Clark airport proposal

The consortium asks the Department of Transportation to clarify why its proposal for the airport was ‘abandoned’

MANILA, Philippines – The consortium of Megawide Construction Corporation and Bangalore-based airport operator GMR Infrastructure Limited is alarmed over the transportation department’s decision to abandon its July 2016 unsolicited proposal to develop, operate, and maintain the Clark International Airport.

This was after it found out, through news reports, that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is reviewing a “quite” similar proposal of Filinvest and JG Summit Holdings Incorporated for the development of the airport.

GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Consortium (GMCAC), which bagged the country’s first airport public-private partnership (PPP) project, said it wants “transparency and fair play for all unsolicited proposals.”

GMCAC president Manuel Louie Ferrer said they asked the DOTr last week to clarify why their unsolicited proposal was abandoned, when it was a “complete, original” proposal submitted months ahead that of the Filinvest-JG Summit consortium’s P187-billion proposal.

Ferrer revealed that in August last year, GMCAC met with transportation officials to present its Clark airport proposal. He said that in that meeting, the DOTr informed the consortium that Filinvest submitted a brief proposal after GMCAC.

DOTr: ‘Not original’

Ferrer then said that last September, his consortium was surprised to receive a letter from the department, saying that GMCAC’s unsolicited proposal is “not an original concept and hence not compliant with the build-operate-transfer (BOT) law.”

Since only a construction deal for a budget terminal was approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board during the previous administration, GMCAC stood firm that its “comprehensive 50-year master plan” is original and therefore should be granted the original proponent status.

“We are confident that our proposal complied with the BOT law requirements. We believe we should be granted original proponent status,” Ferrer replied when asked for comment.

Last March 2, Transportation Undersecretary for Aviation Roberto Lim said the DOTr is reviewing the Filinvest-JG Summit proposal to improve the Clark airport’s facillities, boost its capacity in 5 phases to up to 36 million passengers per annum (mppa), as well as operate and maintain the airport.

He said the Filinvest-JG Summit group submitted its proposal in January 2017.

Lim also confirmed that GMCAC, the current operator of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), submitted a similar proposal in July 2016 but it was “discontinued” because it was at a time when the government was not yet open to accepting unsolicited proposals for the Clark airport.

BOT law overlooked?

Under the implementing rules and regulations of the BOT law, the first complete proposal should be evaluated and decided upon. The second complete proposal will only be entertained if the first one is rejected.

The law states that the second complete proposal can be considered if there is a failure in the negotiation of the first proposal.

“It looks like the department may have overlooked this provision in the law,” Ferrer said.

On the sidelines of a conference in Mandaluyong City on Monday, March 13, Lim was sought for comment on the issue but declined, citing the passage of Executive Order No. 14, reverting Clark International Airport Corporation to the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

Instead, the DOTr issued a statement, saying it is presently reviewing all proposals on all airports and will be submitting them to the NEDA-Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) at the soonest possible time.

Asked if GMCAC’s proposal on Clark airport is included, Lim replied: “Yes.”

But when PPP Center Executive Director Ferdinand Pecson was asked, he replied that his group has only reviewed Filinvest-JG Summit’s proposal.

“I haven’t encountered Megawide’s proposal. If they have, then hindi pa nakarating sa ‘kin (then it has not reached my desk yet),” Pecson said on the sidelines of the conference.

“PPP Center is only tasked to check the completeness and eligibility of unsolicited proposals. It is the implementing agency who will grant the original proponent status,” he added.

Infrastructure deals

If Megawide’s proposal is accepted, this will be the 3rd time it could battle with Filinvest for an infrastructure project. The Filinvest group lost to a consortium led by Megawide in the bidding for the Integrated Transport System (ITS)-Southwest project.

The Filinvest-Changi consortium also lost to the GMR-Megawide consortium in the auction for the P17.5-billion MCIA contract.

Megawide has won 5 of 11 awarded PPP deals since the administration of former president Benigno Aquino III.

Its other projects are the first phase of the PPP for School Infrastructure Project (PSIP), PSIP’s second phase, and the terminated Philippine Orthopedic Center modernization project.

Ferrer had said the firm is interested in more PPP projects.

These include the Regional Prison Facilities and the P108.19 billion ($2.40 billion) worth of deals to develop, operate, and maintain 5 regional airports. –

Power plant capacity rises 13% to over 21,000 MW

By Victor V. Saulon
Posted on March 14, 2017,000-MW&id=142119

PHILIPPINE power plants ended 2016 with a total installed capacity of 21,423 megawatts (MW), up 13%, though dependability statistics showed only slight improvement.

The Department of Energy (DoE) said dependable capacity as of last year reached 19,097 MW, or 89% of the total installed capacity, and slightly better than the previous year’s 88%.

However, this is far from showing the overall efficiency of the country’s power plants, said DoE Assistant Secretary Gerardo D. Erguiza, Jr.

He said some of the power plants had declared a derating of their capacity, thus showing minimal discrepancy with what they are producing and what they are expected to deliver.

“Their average performance has already been incorporated in their derating,” Mr. Erguiza said in Filipino.

He cited Sem-Calaca Power Corp., which should be delivering an average of 600 MW but was producing only about 400 MW.

He said the plant had “cured” its inefficiency by declaring its capacity at only 400 MW and was delivering around 400-480 MW.

Based on DoE data, Sem-Calaca’s two-unit pulverized sub-critical coal plant in Calaca, Batangas has an installed capacity of 600 MW, of which 526 MW are dependable. The plant started commercial operation in September 1984.

Sem-Calaca’s unit one is among those that went down at the same time that the Malampaya natural gas facility was on a scheduled maintenance shutdown from Jan. 28 to Feb. 16, 2017.

The Kalayaan pumped storage power plant in Kalayaan, Laguna is another example of a plant whose output is way below its rated capacity, Mr. Erguiza said.

The plant, operated by CBK Power Co. Ltd., has an installed and dependable capacity of 739.2 MW and 720 MW, respectively.

Mr. Erguiza said the Kalayaan plant serves to provide “frequency regulating reserve” or the operating requirement to maintain a balance between the available power capacity and the system’s demand because of small variations during normal operations.

“It’s not really meant to deliver that full capacity,” he said, adding that the plant produces only around 300-400 MW, which has become its derated capacity.

He said the derated capacity should be deducted further from the plant’s dependable capacity, which the DoE data do not show.

A closer look at available statistics shows the list of existing plants to include those built in the 1940s and 1950s, the efficiency of which has eroded through the years.

Luzon is home to two of these plants — the Caliraya dam-type hydroelectric power plant (HEPP) and the Botocon run-of-river type HEPP, both in Lumban, Laguna and operated by CBK Power. The plants were commissioned in the early to mid-1940s.

Mr. Erguiza said the older plants have been performing well based on their derated capacity. But they risk simultaneously tripping and cause power failure. He cited natural gas-powered plants as well as geothermal facilities as showing good performance in terms of efficiency.

Based on the DoE statistics, coal-fired power plants accounted for 34.6% of the total installed capacity as of last year, an expansion compared with their 31.5% share in 2015. Renewables accounted for 32.5%, down from 33.9% previously.

The share of oil-fired plants thinned to 16.9% from 19.3%, while that of natural gas-powered facilities widened to 16% from 15.3%.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi has been declaring that his department is technology-neutral as to the types of power plants it will approved as long as they meet the system’s requirement of 70% baseload, 20% mid-merit and 10% peaking power.

His wishlist includes the development of more indigenous sources of electricity to do away with more expensive oil, which the country largely imports.

As of 2016, foreign oil suppliers billed the country a total of $7.45 billion, down 13.5% from $8.61 billion in 2015. Of the total, finished products accounted for 55.4% and crude oil made up 44.6%.

“This was attributed to lower import cost (for both crude and petroleum products) although petroleum product import volume increased,” the DoE said.

In terms of volume, the country increased its crude oil import by 0.9% to 78.77 million barrels. It also increased its petroleum product imports by 12.9% to 86.11 million barrels.

In contrast, the Philippines’ petroleum export earnings fell by 23.2% to $675 million because of decreased volume of crude exported and lower freight on board price per barrel.

The overall 2016 net oil import bill amounted to $6.78 billion, down 12.4% from $7.73 billion in 2015.

5 regional airport PPP deals attract more honchos

Companies led by Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Lucio Tan, Manuel V. Pangilinan, Erramon Aboitiz, Ramon Ang, Andrew Gotianun, and Manuel Louie Ferrer are interested

By Chrisee Dela Paz
Published Mon, Mar 13, 2017 4:02 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Ayala Corporation’s infrastructure group and Lucio Tan-led Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corporation could go head-to-head with other top listed conglomerates for the development, operations, and maintenance of 5 unbundled regional airports in Bacolod, Davao, Iloilo, Laguindingan, and Bohol.

These two groups, along with other foreign and local companies, attended the pre-qualification conference on the public-private partnership (PPP) projects in Mandaluyong City on Monday, March 13.

If they push through with the bidding, AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation and Asia’s Emerging Dragon will battle with a consortia led by Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), Aboitiz InfraCapital Incorporated, San Miguel Holdings Corporation, Filinvest Development Corporation, and Megawide Construction Corporation.

Both AC Infrastructure and Asia’s Emerging Dragon – a firm built by Lucio Tan, John Gokongwei, Andrew Gotianun, Henry Sy Sr, George Ty, and Alfonso Yuchengco – have also expressed interest in the auction of the P74.56-billion ($1.66-billion) deal to upgrade the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Although these big local investors were lured in by the unbundled airports, a couple of them are finding it difficult to partner with global airport operators because of the size of the airports.

Previously pre-qualified bidders in the bundled airport project are considered pre-qualified in these unbundled deals, provided that there are no changes in their legal, technical, and financial capacities.

Too small for global players?

Regional airports being auctioned off under the PPP scheme are: the P20.26-billion Bacolod-Silay Airport, the P30.40-billion Iloilo Airport, the P40.57-billion Davao Airport, the P14.62-billion Laguindingan Airport, and the P2.34-billion New Bohol (Panglao) Airport.

Both officials of MPIC and Aboitiz have raised concern on the 10% equity requirement of an airport operator to a participating consortium.

“I think one of the big considerations really is the equity requirement. That is a major hurdle for smaller airport bids of this nature because in the prior iteration of the larger bundled airports, you can still attract the big global players,” Aboitiz InfraCapital first vice-president Roman Azanza III said on the sidelines of the conference.

His remarks were echoed by MPIC vice-president for business development Karim Garcia.

“We are echoing Aboitiz in the equity requirement. With the airports unbundled, we will have a hard time looking for an operator,” Garcia said during the conference.

This was after the French partner of MPIC, Aeroports de Paris, had backed out from the auction for the unbundled regional airports, citing weaker economic viability of smaller gateways.

“Our foreign partner has notified us that they are pulling out of the airports because the unbundling resulted in the individual airports being too small,” MPIC president Jose Ma. Lim had said.

For Azanza, this is “a whole new ball game.”

“We’ll really be starting from scratch so I think the fair answer is we will probably be exploring all options at this early stage including creating the perfect consortium for this type of bid,” the Aboitiz official said.

The transportation department has set the qualification documents submission deadline on May 11, and the bid proposals submission on December 8.

The department plans to award these regional airport projects by January 2018. –

Philippines: STI to raise $99m; Century Pacific debuts on FTSE Apac index

STI Education Systems Holdings Inc is aiming to raise up to $99.3 million (P5 billion) via bond sale while Century Pacific Food Inc (CNPF) has made its debut on the Asia-Pacific equity market.

Century Pacific debuts on Asia-Pacific equity market

Century Pacific Food Inc (CNPF), the Philippines’ largest canned food company, is slated to debut on the highly-tracked FTSE Global Equity Index Series for Asia Pacific excluding Japan.

CNPF will be added to FTSE Index’s Small Cap and AllCap categories effective March 20, 2017. The company’s inclusion to the FTSE Global Equity Index Series is the result of a semi-annual review on more than 7,400 securities in 47 different countries.

FTSE Indexes serve as performance benchmarks and aid in the creation of a broad range of financial products, including index tracking funds, derivatives, and Exchange Traded Funds.

CNPF chief finance officer Oscar Pobre said the company remains positive on its long-term prospects even as it faces a more challenging environment this year.

“We will continue to share our investment story as we believe that the Philippine growth story remains alive and well,” Pobre said.

CNPF earlier made its debut on the MSCI Philippine Small Cap Index last May 31, 2016.

CNPF’s last trading price increased 2.75 per cent or P0.460 to close at P17.16 per share on Monday (March 13).

STI Holdings’ $99.4m bond offer okayed

STI Education Services Group Inc (STI-ESG), a wholly-owned subsidiary of STI Education Systems Holdings Inc, on Friday received the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to sell bond shares of up to $99.4 million (P5 billion).

STI Holdings informed the local bourse that its unit received the order of registration, and permit to sell by the SEC in relation to the shelf registration of the P5 billion fixed rate bonds to be offered in one or several tranches.

The first tranche will be a total of P3 billion to be issued in two series, Series 7Y and Series 10Y, respectively.

STI ESG has a total of 77 schools nationwide and is composed of 66 STI branded colleges and 11 STI education centers.

A proprietor of one of the largest network of private schools in the Philippines, STI Holdings posted a record high of P2.1 billion in revenues during the last nine months ending December 31, 2016 — about 15 per cent higher than the P1.9 billion it generated during the same period in 2015. It gained profit of up to P624 million.

Last year, STI Holdings acquired iAcademy, a tech school run by STI-ESG, for $2.3 million.

The company plans to expand the operations of iAcademy to target specialized information technology fields in multimedia arts and animation as well as the offer of transnational education.

STI Holdings’ trading price remained at P1.16 per share since Friday.

MPIC to revive P50-B bid for C-5 overhead expressway

By Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star)
Updated March 14, 2017 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) is planning to resubmit an unsolicited proposal worth P50 billion for an overhead expressway around C-5 in the second quarter.

Rodrigo Franco, president and CEO of MPIC tollway arm Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., said the group is looking to resubmit the proposal next quarter to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

“We need to resubmit to DPWH because we submitted it before to the TRB (Toll Regulatory Board). The decision of TRB is to process it through DPWH,” he said.

He said the proposal has a preliminary value of P50 billion and would cover 20-kilometers.

“It will be from Segment 8.2 going to Commonwealth, from that area going South,” he said.

The project could be implemented over a period of four years.

“The objective is to connect C-5 to CAVITEX (Manila-Cavite Expressway),” Franco said.

MPIC currently operates the CAVITEX, as well as other tollways such as the North Luzon Expressway and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.

The infrastructure conglomerate is undertaking other toll road projects such as the Cavite-Laguna Expressway and Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway.

Aside from tollways, MPIC is involved in rail, water, power, hospitals and logistics.

Good road design can save motorists’ lives

Greg Smith of the International Road Assessment Program says infrastructure is important in preventing serious accidents and deaths resulting from road crashes

Katerina Francisco
Published 7:24 PM, March 13, 2017
Updated 6:43 AM, March 14, 2017

MANILA, Philippines – When deadly road crashes are reported on the news, the driver of the vehicle is usually thought to be the one at fault. But while the driver may have caused the crash, his actions may not necessarily be the cause of death.

In some cases, victims of car crashes survive because of good road design that helps mitigate injuries that would otherwise be fatal, said Greg Smith, Regional Director in the Asia Pacific of the International Road Assessment Program (iRAP).

The cause of a car crash can be different from the cause of death, he said. During a workshop of the Department of Transportation’s Road Safety Idea Hack event on Monday, March 13, Smith explained how infrastructure is important in preventing serious accidents and deaths resulting from road crashes.

iRAP is an organization that inspects high-risk roads, rating them for their safety design features and identifying what countermeasures can be developed to help make these roads safer for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Its Star Ratings system is based on road inspection data. Roads rated 5 stars are considered the safest roads while those with 1 star are the least safe.

In the Philippines, iRAP has surveyed 6,000 km of roads, collecting data and assigning star ratings that provide a measure of the level of safety of the roads for vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

It then makes recommendations to improve the safety level of these high-risk roads, working with government to implement these suggestions.

This system has seen tangible results. Smith cited the case of the Agoo-Baguio City road, which was considered a very high-risk road for all types of road users for every 100-meter section.

Between July and November 2015, the Department of Public Works and Highways implemented two packages of road improvement works, such as the installation of safety signages, adding concrete barriers on curve sections and ravine, and constructing concrete road shoulders, among others.

Following the implementation of these safety measures, the road garnered a 3-star rating, an improvement from its previous 1-star rating.

While changing the design of the road can greatly reduce the risk of death or injury, Smith said that enforcement of road safety measures – such as the strict implementation of seatbelt use – is also a critical part in changing user behavior. –

15 big-ticket infra projects lined up for loan financing

By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star)
Updated March 14, 2017 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has lined up 15 big-ticket infrastructure projects for loan financing, three of which are planned to be implemented within the first three years of the Duterte administration.

To be prioritized in securing loans are the $53.6 million Chico River Pump Irrigation Project in Cagayan and Kalinga provinces the $374 million New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project in Quezon province and the South Line of the North-South Railway Project (NSRP).

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said China has shown interest in funding the NSRP, the extension of the North-South Commuter Railway Project  (NSCR) which will run from Malolos, Bulacan to Tutuban, Manila. The ¥242-billion NSCR is funded by official development assistance (ODA) loan extended by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and is scheduled to begin construction within the first semester of 2019.

Other projects pipelined for loan financing are the following: Rehabilitation and Improvement of the Zamboanga Fish Port Complex, Mindanao Railway, Nationwide Fish Ports Project- Package III, Ilocos Norte Irrigation Project, Regional Fish Port Project for Greater Capital Region, Gregorio del Pilar Impounding Project, Tumauini River Multipurpose Project, Panay River Basin Integrated Development Project, Asbang Small Reservoir Irrigation Project, Bohol Northeast Basin Multipurpose Dam Project, Subic-Clark Railway Project and the BGC-Ninoy Aquino International Airport segment of the Metro Manila  Bus Rapid-EDSA Project.

SM beats Friday blues; PSEi above 7,200 anew

By: Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
Philippine Daily Inquirer
01:04 AM March 14, 2017

The stock barometer climbed back to the 7,200 level on Monday as leading conglomerate SM Investments recouped most losses from Friday’s sell-off.

The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) gained 86.82 points or 1.21 percent to close at 7,233.09 on the first day of the PSEi’s rebalancing.

All counters were up, led by holding firms, which firmed up by 1.9 percent due to SM’s rebound.

SM bounced by 7.76 percent to close at P645.50. To recall, SM slid by 9.24 percent last Friday as fund managers scrambled to realign their portfolios ahead of the main index rebalancing.

Starting March 13, SM’s weight in the PSEi had been reduced by 0.51 percent along with the removal of Emperador to accommodate the inclusion of Puregold with a 1-percent weight in the index.

Apart from SM’s rebound, the upswing in the local market also reflected mostly firmer regional markets.

“After much market drama, another rate increase from the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) now looks like a foregone conclusion when the committee members meet later this week. This information is already being discounted into the market,” said Luis Gerardo Limlingan, managing director at Regina Capital Development.

He also noted that US non-farm payrolls increased by 235,000 in February, moderately above consensus expectations. US jobless ratio also edged down to 4.7 percent, one tenth below Fed officials’ estimates, he added.

At the local market on Monday, the mining/oil counter was also up by 1.04 percent.

Value turnover for the day amounted to P6.46 billion. Domestic investors made up for the slack in foreign risk-taking.

Market breadth was neutral. Advancers equaled decliners in number, with 94 each.

Apart from SM, the PSEi was led higher by Semirara which rose by 2.44 percent while AGI, BDO, URC, Metrobank, ALI and Globe Telecom all advanced by over 1 percent.

Security Bank, SM Prime, MPI and JG Summit also contributed to the PSEi’s gains.