Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Philippine RCBC files complaint against ICBC over sale of Chinabank shares
Philippines' Ayala to buy Deutsche Telekom's Globe shares at 680 pesos per shr
Forex - Philippine peso closes firmer along with regionals
Philippine BIR Sept tax collections 29.60 bln pesos vs 32.80 bln target
Philippine banks end-Aug total loans 1.43 trln pesos, up 3.8 pct yr-on-yr
Manila shares close lower on extended profit-taking
Philippines' WG&A to list 40 mln common shares, 2 mln preferred shares Oct 17
Philippines offers to take over air terminal as court decides compensation
STOCKWATCH - Philippines' Meralco B weaker as rate hike seen unlikely
Bush visit to Philippines to bolster new closer bilateral ties
Philippine Savings Bank Q3 net profit 101.6 mln pesos, up 26 pct yr/yr
Philippines' Metrobank raises tier 2 bond issue to 200 mln usd from 130 mln
Philippine Meralco offers to refund big customers through debt papers - report
Philippines approves lower duties for Nissan's Thai imports - report
Philippines soliciting proposals for help in raising funds - Camacho
Philippines' Jan-Aug overseas workers' remittances up 4.80 pct yr-on-yr
Philippine Savings Bank 9 mths net profit up 24.0 pct yr-on-yr - co president
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
Philippine ERC grants Napocor's rate hike petition, Meralco's under study
BROKER CALL - Philippine Meralco's rate hike depends on election results - ING
Philippine central bank signs 3-yr 500 mln usd syndicated loan facility
Philippine Treasury raises 3.0 bln pesos via 3-year bond issue
Ford to invest additional 50 mln usd in Philippine manufacturing ops
Manila shares close lower on profit-taking
Philippine Filinvest Land unit's planned notes issue to be rated - S&P
Philippine Banco Filipino to remain suspended from trading - stock exchange
STOCK ALERT - Philippine PLDT, Piltel higher early in line with ADR gains
Philippine SEC exempts MBf, IPVG merger from tender offer rule
Philippines' Citystate Bank 8 mths to Aug net profit up 40.6 pct yr-on-yr
STOCK ALERT - SingTel higher after Deutsche Telekom offers Globe stake again
Philippine SPI's property dividend of eTelecare shares approved by SEC
Philippines' Global Equities fined by SEC for late filing
SingTel offered to buy Deutsche Telekom's Globe stake again
Philippines' Destiny Cable rejects merger with Sky, Home Cable - report
Shell Philippines earmarks 2.2 bln pesos for 2004 capital expenditure - report
October 10 -
October 8 - 9
October 6 - 7
October 3 - 4
October 1 - 2
|Philippine RCBC files complaint against ICBC over sale of Chinabank shares|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC) said it has filed a complaint in a Makati court against Taiwan's International Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) for allegedly reneging on an earlier commitment to sell its shareholdings in China Banking Corp to RCBC.
In a disclosure to the stock exchange, RCBC said it believed the Chinabank shares it was supposed to purchase from ICBC were sold by the latter to two other investors at a price higher than that agreed between RCBC and ICBC.
ICBC officials in Manila were not available for comment.
RCBC said it has engaged the services of a law firm to compel ICBC to execute what it said was the sale and purchase agreement and for ICBC to refrain from committing further acts that would "derogate their perfected contract" with RCBC.
In September, Taiwan's Mega Financial Holding Co said unit ICBC booked a capital gain of 860.24 mln twd from the sale of 2.46 mln shares in the Philippines' Chinabank for 29.52 mln usd to Columbus Atlantic and Symmetrix Capital.
Prior to that, RCBC had said it would make additional investments in Chinabank by purchasing 1.64 mln shares in the latter.
(1 usd = 54.62 pesos)
|Philippines' Ayala to buy Deutsche Telekom's Globe shares at 680 pesos per shr|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Ayala Corp said it has agreed to buy 16.03 mln common shares of Globe Telecom Inc from Deutsche Telekom AG unit DeTeAsia Holding GmbH at 680 pesos each.
Globe Telecom closed today down 20.00 pesos at 755.00.
Ayala Corp did not disclose how much of DeTeAsia's 24.80 pct it will be acquiring.
Singapore Telecom International Pte Ltd has also accepted a similar offer from DeTeAsia Holding.
Ayala Corp currently owns 32.70 pct of Globe, while SingTel owns 29.10 pct.
(1 usd = 54.62 pesos)
|Forex - Philippine peso closes firmer along with regionals|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The peso closed stronger on the US dollar along with other regional currencies amid a lack of demand for greenbacks, dealers said.
The peso closed at 54.620 to the dollar after trading between 54.590 and 54.785 on volume of 181.50 mln usd. It closed at 54.720 yesterday.
"We're still tracking the regionals, with no demand supporting the dollar. But trading remained rangebound," a commercial bank dealer said.
"This is likely to continue tomorrow at the range of 54.650-54.750."
US President George W Bush's Manila visit on Oct 18 should help keep sentiment towards the peso positive, the dealer said.
News that September and nine months to September tax collections of the Bureau of Internal Revenue fell below targets came after the market closed, dealers said.
The BIR, citing preliminary figures, said collections in September stood at 29.60 bln pesos against a target of 32.80 bln. In the nine-month period, collections totalled 311.13 bln pesos versus a target of 314.20 bln.
The agency, whose tax collections account for bulk of government revenues, blamed the shortfall on lower taxes collected from large taxpayers, specifically their excise tax payments.
Finance Secretary Jose Isidro Camacho earlier said weak revenues and "conscious" overspending likely bloated the budget deficit in September beyond the ceiling.
But the government is keeping its promise to keep this year's budget deficit within the 202-bln target.
The central bank was not seen in the currency market today, dealers said.
|Philippine BIR Sept tax collections 29.60 bln pesos vs 32.80 bln target|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The Bureau of Internal Revenue said preliminary figures show it collected a total of 29.60 bln pesos for September, 9.60 pct lower than the target of 32.80 bln for the month, due to lower collections from large taxpayers.
The agency's cumulative collections for the nine months to September also fell short of the goal at 311.13 bln pesos, 3.07 bln or 0.98 pct lower than the target of 314.20 bln for the period. The nine months collection was however 9.0 pct or 25.60 bln pesos higher than 285.49 bln collected during the same period last year.
BIR collections account for the bulk of the national government's total revenues.
"While the bureau's regional offices generated enough revenues to meet their target for the month, revenues from the large taxpayers service were short of the goal by 3.10 bln pesos. Moreover, for the first time this year, revenues from the services for September were less than those generated in the same period last year by about 1.00 bln pesos," the BIR said in a statement.
The agency said the biggest source of the shortfall came from excise tax payments, which alone was short of the goal by 1.30 bln pesos and was responsible for 42.00 pct of the total shortfall for the month.
Excise taxes in September fell by 807.00 mln pesos due to the large decline in manufacturers volume of removals, which is the basis for the amount levied on excisable products.
Excise tax collections also fell due to the transition period adopted prior to the implementation of new automotive tax rules.
BIR commissioner Guillermo Parayno earlier expressed confidence there would be a recovery in its collection this month.
The Bureau of Customs has meanwhile also failed to meet its collection target of 8.69 bln pesos in September due to weak imports.
Weak revenues coupled with "conscious" overspending likely led to the overshooting of last month's budget deficit, Finance Secretary Jose Isidro Camacho earlier said.
The government's budget deficit stood at 113.50 bln pesos in the eight months to August, still below the ceiling of 127.50 bln.
However, the deficit in August alone was 18.17 bln pesos, exceeding the 8. 11 bln ceiling, as the government spent more to boost the slowing economy.
The government is nevertheless maintaining its full-year deficit ceiling at 4.70 pct of GDP or about 202.00 bln pesos.
(1 usd = 54.62 pesos)
|Philippine banks end-Aug total loans 1.43 trln pesos, up 3.8 pct yr-on-yr|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Outstanding loans of commercial banks rose 3.80 pct year-on-year to 1.43 trln pesos as of end-August, representing the 12th straight month of increases, the central bank said.
August's increase, which was slightly higher than July's 3.70 pct rise, was partly due to increased lending to both the public and private sectors, and reflected robust consumer spending as well as a continued pick-up in manufacturing activities, the central bank said in a statement.
It said increasing numbers of bank loans were seen in sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and forestry; community, social and personal services; electricity, gas and water; and the wholesale and retail trade.
Loans to these sectors accounted for about 40.0 pct of the total.
"The strengthening demand for bank loans has been supported by the steady rise in credits to both the public and private sectors, which rose year-on-year by 15.30 pct and 3.20 pct respectively during the period," central bank officer-in-charge Alberto Reyes said.
"The continuing robustness in consumption spending as well as the gradual pick-up in manufacturing activities have contributed to higher demand for bank financing by firms."
Reyes said the growth in bank loans was also helped by the banking system's soundness, as reflected by the steady improvement in asset quality. At end-August, commercial banks' non-performing loans accounted for 14.96 pct of total loans versus 15.38 pct in July.
He sees the banking industry's overall credit asset quality strengthening further going forward, supported by a seasonal increase in economic and business activities as the Christmas holidays draw near, and by improving external market conditions.
"Given this outlook, the monetary authorities will continue to provide a supportive macroeconomic environment to ensure that the country's economic growth gains a firmer footing," Reyes said.
"At the same time, the central bank will continue to watch cautiously ... (for) any possible threat to maintaining price stability."
(1 usd = 54.70 pesos)
|Manila shares close lower on extended profit-taking|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Share prices closed lower for the second straight day, led by telecom stocks Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co and Globe Telecom, as investors locked in profits from recent gains, dealers said.
The composite index closed down 8.97 points, or 0.66 pct, at 1,356.15 on 464.67 mln shares worth 492.94 mln pesos. It traded between 1,353.86 and 1, 362.48.
Losers beat gainers 34 to 26, with 43 stocks unchanged.
Dealers said the market merely extended its technical correction after its recent sharp rise, which saw the index hitting its highest level in 18 months.
Overnight losses of PLDT's American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) in New York, which shed 0.88 usd to 12.52, also weighed on sentiment, they added.
A "modest recovery" is expected to take place tomorrow ahead of US President George W Bush's visit to Manila on Oct 18, they added.
"There is a perception, whether correct or not, that window-dressing may take place ahead of the Bush visit. Given that scenario, we can expect a modest recovery for the market tomorrow," AB Capital research director Jose Vistan Jr said.
Citiseconline.com analyst Mark Alan Canizares said bargain-hunters are bound to return following the declines of the past two days.
"Recent positive developments such as the upcoming presidential visit and the killing of a top terrorist (Jemaah Islamiyah's Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi) bode well for the Philippines. Investor sentiment remains positive on the back of these recent developments, coupled with expectations of better earnings outlook for select companies," Canizares said.
SM Prime was top-traded, down 0.10 pesos at 6.70 on 13.66 mln shares.
Globe Telecom was down 20.00 at 755 on 112,990 shares.
PLDT was down 15.00 at 690 on 120,870 shares.
Bank of the Philippine Islands shed 0.50 to 44.50 on 602,200 shares.
Meralco B, open to foreigners, was down 0.25 pesos at 21.75 on 1.07 mln shares. Meralco A was steady at 14.50 on 182,600 shares.
Ayala Land was up 0.10 pesos at 6.60 on 2.8 mln shares, while Ayala Corp was steady at 4.85 on 1.39 mln shares.
Megaworld was up 0.02 at 1.10 on 10.6 mln shares.
The all-shares index was up 4.25 points at 812.46.
The commercial-industrial index shed 15.85 to 1,980.75, while property gained 1.10 to 607.38.
Mining was down 45.58 at 1,548.42, while oil was unchanged at 1.39.
Banking and financials services were down 4.20 at 445.67.
(1 usd = 54.70 pesos)
|Philippines' WG&A to list 40 mln common shares, 2 mln preferred shares Oct 17|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - William, Gothong & Aboitiz Inc will list an additional 40.00 mln common shares and 2.00 mln redeemable preferred shares on Oct 17, the stock exchange said in a circular to brokers.
The common shares will cover the private placement by Aboitiz & Co Inc at a subscription price of 2.00 pesos per share.
The redeemable preferred shares will cover the shipping firm's stock dividend declaration.
WG&A closed yesterday at 2.50 pesos per share.
(1 usd = 54.70 pesos)
|Philippines offers to take over air terminal as court decides compensation|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The Philippine government has offered to provide the 90 mln usd needed to complete a new terminal at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport in exchange for the right to take over the facility, Trade and Industry Secretary Manuel Roxas II said.
The minister said the government was prepared to run the airport while "just compensation" for the original contractor of the project, who was terminated, is being determined.
"The government wants to advance (the 90 mln usd needed) in consideration that after the amount is advanced and airport is completed, (the facility) will be turned over to the government for it to open and operate, while the court determines what is just compensation," Roxas said in a radio interview.
He added the amount the government would spent on the terminal's completion will be deducted from whatever compensation may be decided upon.
The terminal is not operational yet and a legal dispute is raging between the government and the project's contractor, the Philippine International Air Terminals Co (PIATCO) consortium that includes Fraport AG of Germany.
The contract to PIATCO to build and operate the terminal was declared null and void by the Supreme Court due to certain violations.
PIATCO started construction in the mid-1990s and the terminal was expected to be operational late last year.
Roxas heads a three-man Cabinet committee negotiating with the PIATCO consortium.
The Supreme Court ruled the PIATCO contract was contrary to public policy and should have been void from the start. It said the contract violated the build-operate-transfer (BOT) law when it allowed government guarantees in the event of PIATCO's defaults on its liabilities.
Under the BOT law, unsolicited proposals such as the airport terminal project should not be given guarantees from the government.
Fraport, which has reportedly bankrolled 425.00 mln usd for the project, said the World Bank has registered its request for arbitration against the Philippine government.
Fraport's arbitration request comes after more than six months of discussions with the Philippine government failed to produce any offer by the government to compensate Fraport for its investment.
Meanwhile, Piatco spokesman Moises Tolentino Jr said the consortium would seek a compensation of at least 550.00 mln usd from the government should the latter take over the new terminal.
"Around 550 mln usd could be the starting point. Of course, any negotiation would not only consider the cost of the investment, but its possible earnings as well. But all this (payment of compensation) could be avoided if the rights of Piatco would be recognized," Tolentino said.
He added the World Bank arbitration proceedings could help PIATCO get a possible reversal of the Supreme Court's ruling in May.
(1 usd = 54.72 pesos)
|STOCKWATCH - Philippines' Meralco B weaker as rate hike seen unlikely|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Manila Electric Co's B shares, available to foreign investors, were weaker, as it is highly unlikely to get the provisional approval it needs from the Energy Regulatory Commission for a proposed tariff increase, dealers said.
Concerns about the company's financial difficulties, in the absence of an immediate tariff hike, are weighing on the stock, they said.
At 11.13 am, Meralco B was down 0.25 pesos at 21.75 on volume of 633,600 shares, while Meralco A was unchanged at 14.50.
The composite index was down 11.26 points, or 0.82 pct, at 1,353.86.
Meralco is seeking provisional approval for a 0.1358 peso per kilowatt-hour rate increase in order to tackle cash flow pressures, arising from the need to operate and maintain its electricity network, undertake capital projects, service maturing loans and refund customers who have been overcharged.
However, analysts do not expect the ERC to grant its request, given that a rate increase might turn into a political issue which could hurt President Arroyo's bid for a full-term in next year's polls.
But they said an Arroyo victory would mean continuity for the regulatory process, which is seen as favorable to Meralco.
"Concerns over the company's financial condition are applying a downward pressure on the stock. Investors know that it will not be a short process as far as its petition for a rate hike is concerned," Accord Capital Equities analyst Lawrence de Leon said.
Yesterday, ERC chairman Manuel Sanchez said Meralco still has to prove that an urgent tariff hike is really badly needed.
"If it is warranted, then (a provisional approval) may happen. If not, then there will be no provisional authority," he said.
If Meralco fails to present a strong case for provisional approval, he said the ERC would then have to hold public hearings first.
ING Financial Markets said in its latest note that Meralco could still get approval earlier-than-expected for the proposed tariff increase "if President Arroyo wins the 2004 elections and the current ERC commissioners remain in their posts, ensuring continuity in the regulatory process."
Under the law, the ERC has 75 days, from the date on which the petition was filed, to decide on Meralco's request for provisional approval.
But given the political situation, ING believes the ERC will decide not to approve the rate hike, but instead will conduct public hearings before ruling on Meralco's request. The hearings could last a year, ING said.
(1 usd = 54.75 pesos)
|Bush visit to Philippines to bolster new closer bilateral ties|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - US President George W. Bush's visit here this week is expected to buttress the Philippines' new-found status as a trusted military and economic ally instrumental in Washington's global war on terror, officials say.
At least 10,000 Filipino police have been mobilized to secure Manila for Bush's eight-hour state visit here Saturday. The highlights would be talks with President Gloria Arroyo as well as a historic address to a special joint session of the Filipino legislature.
Filipino officials said fresh US aid to follow could run to the hundreds of millions of dollars and easier access for certain Filipino exports to the world's largest market.
Arroyo has been the most vocal Asian leader backing Bush's campaign against terrorism, and her efforts have been rewarded with Manila being named "a major US non-NATO ally" -- giving the country priority access to American defense articles.
The designation puts the Philippines on equal footing with Australia, Japan, Israel, Egypt, South Korea and Argentina who all share privileged security ties with the world's remaining superpower.
US ambassador to Manila Francis Ricciardone said Bush's flying visit to this former American colony, his first stop on a six-nation Asian tour, would underscore the "partnership and maturity of the relationship between equals."
"Amid the world crises (such as) in Iraq, challenges and opportunities of globalized economies and SARS, the Philippines and the United States have accomplished a lot for our mutual benefit," Ricciardone told foreign correspondents.
"There is no better testimony for progress in that relationship, in what our two presidents have called maturation of our relationship in the fact that soon, the two presidents will have met twice in full-scale formal state visits."
A small number of US special forces troops are training and equipping Filipino troops in the southern Philippines against the Abu Sayyaf, a small band of Islamic militants wanted by the US government for murdering two American hostages.
Official talking points of the visit have not been released, but Arroyo's spokesman Ignacio Bunye said the leaders would "reaffirm commitments of both countries to our economic, trade and socio-economic ties. "
"We're looking at this visit as a plus point as far as strategic relations are concerned. We believe the visit will cement our long-standing partnership," Bunye said.
Bound by a 1951-mutual defense treaty and an agreement allowing the conduct of joint large-scale military exercises in Philippine territory, Bunye said the bilateral ties are "no longer that between colonizer and colonized."
"We are at a new level of partnership where we are allies in the world," Bunye said.
Officials earlier said that the US government has pledged a minimum of 356.00 mln usd in security assistance to the Philippines, including funds earmarked for further joint military training exercises this year.
This is on top of 30 advanced US combat helicopters and 30,000 M-16 rifles to beef up the Filipino army's arsenal, considered one of the poorest in the region.
Millions in development aid have also been earmarked for the strife-torn southern Mindanao region to alleviate poverty and help convince Muslim separatist rebels to sign a peace pact with Manila.
"There will be substantive talks on the defence needs of the Philippines and how the United States can help to meet them," Foreign Secretary Blas Ople said.
"We are pressing the Americans to deliver on their promise."
Apart from military aid, Manila would also seek greater access for its goods to the US market under a so-called "trade and investment facilitation agreement" as well as study the possibility of striking a bilateral free-trade pact with Washington, trade officials say.
Thousands of police and other security forces are to deploy around Manila to guard against potential threats to Bush, from communist New People's Army (NPA) rebels to groups linked to the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terrorist network blamed for the Bali bombings last year.
The US government brands the NPA a terrorist organization, which in the past has assassinated American servicemen here. AFN
|Philippine Savings Bank Q3 net profit 101.6 mln pesos, up 26 pct yr/yr|
(Updating with deposit, loans, capital and branch network figures)
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Philippine Savings Bank said its third quarter to September net profit rose by 26.00 pct to 101.60 mln pesos from 80.90 mln a year earlier, helped by robust consumer lending.
In the nine months to September, net profit rose 24.00 pct year-on-year to 279.30 mln pesos, the bank said in a letter to the stock exchange.
Yesterday, PSBank president Pascual Garcia III told reporters that he believes its 10.00-20.00 pct full-year net profit growth forecast is achievable, given the bank's strong performance. PSB posted net profit of 302. 00 mln pesos in 2002.
Consumer loans account for about 60.00 pct of PSBank's total loan portfolio.
PSBank is a subsidiary of Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co.
As of end-September, the bank remained the country's second-largest savings bank, with total assets of 32.45 bln pesos, up from 28.07 bln at the end of 2002.
Total deposits at end-September stood at 26.60 bln pesos, up 19.00 pct from a year earlier.
Total capital stood at 4.32 bln pesos at end-September, while its non-performing loans (NPL) ratio was 6.50 pct against the industry average of 7.80 pct.
Provisions coverage for NPLs rose to 65.70 pct from 64.80 pct in December last year, while its capital-to-risk assets ratio stood at 14.88 pct.
The bank has introduced three new loan products - Flexi-Credit Line, the Business Card Line, and the Home Credit Line.
Garcia said these products have helped the bank to grow its net customer loan portfolio to 18.50 bln pesos at end-September, up 18.00 pct from the end-December level.
Home, personal and auto loans rose by 32.00 pct, 39.00 pct and 40.00 pct respectively from end-2002 levels, he said.
The bank opened seven branches last July, bringing its total branch network to 110, and it currently plans to open another 31 by year-end, Garcia said.
(1 usd = 54.75 pesos)
|Philippines' Metrobank raises tier 2 bond issue to 200 mln usd from 130 mln|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co said it has increased its recent tier 2 bond issue to 200.00 mln usd from 130.00 mln usd due to strong demand for the offering.
The additional 70.00 mln usd issue is callable after five years, with a yield of 8.548 pct.
Proceeds of the offering will be used to increase the bank's capital base.
"We decided to increase the issue size to accommodate investors who came in after the closing of the initial tranche," Metrobank president Antonio Abacan Jr said in a statement.
The 10-year bonds have been listed in Singapore and will pay a semi-annual coupon of 8.375 pct. The sub-debt issue was rated "Ba1" by Moody's Investors Service.
UBS Warburg was the sole bookrunner.
Metrobank said earlier that the proceeds of the original issue will be used to refinance its existing 100.00 mln usd tier 2 private placement issued in 2001, which paid a 9.00 pct coupon.
Metrobank said the additional 70-mln usd issue was supported by 60.00 pct of investors who had earlier participated in the original 130-mln usd tranche.
(1 usd = 54.72 pesos)
|Philippine Meralco offers to refund big customers through debt papers - report|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Manila Electric Co will ask regulators to approve a plan to issue debt papers to refund customers with large electricity consumption, instead of paying them in cash, the BusinessWorld newspaper reported, quoting company officials.
Meralco senior assistant vice president and utility economics head Ivanna dela Pena said the power firm needs "regulatory approvals" for the plan, adding that it has yet to determine which government agencies it would need to consult.
"If there are debt instruments, they will require approvals... But there are still no specifics and other options are also being developed," dela Pena was quoted to have said.
The country's largest distributor is refunding 30.5-bln peso in overcharges to customers after the Supreme Court ordered it to stop including income taxes as part of its operational costs charged to customers.
Meralco has so far paid out 2.75 bln pesos either in cash or bill rebates to customers with electricity consumption of no more than 300 kilowatthours monthly, Leo Mabale, head of the company's refund management task force, said.
Earlier Meralco's estimates placed the refund to industrial and commercial customers, comprising the bulk of its big users, at 18.0-20.0 bln pesos.
(1 usd = 54.72 pesos)
|Philippines approves lower duties for Nissan's Thai imports - report|
(Repeating to fix headline)
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has approved the application of Nissan Motor Philippines Inc to import automotive parts and components from Thailand at a lower duty of 3.0 pct, the BusinessWorld newspaper reported, citing a recently-signed executive order.
The President has signed Executive Order 245 permitting the vehicle assembler to bring in 64 various components and parts from its Thai counterpart Siam Nissan Automobile Co Ltd without paying regular customs duties under the Tariff and Customs Code. No absolute figures were provided.
Arroyo said the preferential tariff rate is in line with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Industrial Cooperative (AICO) scheme, which allows industries of participating countries to get preferential tariffs ranging from 0-5.0 pct for products exchanged within the region.
In exchange for the lower tariff, Thailand will import from the Philippines complementary component parts of its Nissan Sunny passenger cars.
|Philippines soliciting proposals for help in raising funds - Camacho|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The government is soliciting proposals from investment banks interested in helping it to raise funds to cover its remaining financing requirements for this year and some of those for 2004, Finance Secretary Jose Isidro Camacho said.
There have been media reports that the government is looking to raise funds through the re-opening of a global or euro bond issue, but officials said they have not made any firm decision on the mode of borrowing to be pursued.
National Treasurer Sergio Edeza had said the government might try to raise up to 1.0 bln usd to pre-fund next year's financing requirements.
The national government and state-owned National Power Corp will need 1. 80 bln usd and 1.20 bln, respectively, for 2004.
The national government still needs 250.00 mln usd to complete this year's financing requirements.
Camacho earlier said the government is compelled to pre-fund next year's requirements on expectations of heightened uncertainties ahead of the May elections, which may make Philippine issues less attractive.
|Philippines' Jan-Aug overseas workers' remittances up 4.80 pct yr-on-yr|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Remittances from Filipinos working overseas rose 4.80 pct to 5.06 bln usd during January-August from 4.83 bln in the same period last year, the central bank said.
In August, remittances amounted to 542.00 mln usd.
The central bank expects overseas inflows to rise 6.00 pct year-on-year to 7.60 bln usd in 2003.
|Philippine Savings Bank 9 mths net profit up 24.0 pct yr-on-yr - co president|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Philippine Savings Bank, a unit of Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co, posted a 24.00 pct rise in net profit for the first nine months of the year, helped by robust consumer lending, bank president Pascual Garcia III said.
This is in line with the bank's expectations of 10.00-20.00 pct growth in full-year net profit, he told reporters at the launch of the bank's new consumer product, Flexi-Credit Line.
Garcia did not give precise figures.
PSBank had reported net profit of 224.83 mln pesos in first nine months of 2002, and 302.00 mln for the whole of last year.
Consumer loans account for about 60.00 pct of PSBank's total loan portfolio, he said, adding there had been "an increase in loan applications, especially mortgaged loan applications."
The bank's loan and deposit levels likely rose by 20.00 pct year-on-year in the nine-month period, he said, while interest income likewise improved.
(1 usd = 54.72 pesos)
|Philippine ERC grants Napocor's rate hike petition, Meralco's under study|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The Energy Regulatory Commission has granted state-run National Power Corp provisional authority to raise generation charges on the main island of Luzon by 0.34 pesos per kilowatthour and in the Visayas area by 0.33 peso starting this month, ERC chairman Manuel Sanchez said.
With the implementation of a new rate-setting formula, called the long-run avoidable cost (LRAC), Napocor's rates now stand at 2.4692 pesos per kwh in Luzon and 2.1258 pesos in the Visayas.
"The first reason is to establish the real cost of service because, for many years, the price quoted in the industry is below cost. LRAC makes sure the real cost is reflected, which is better for the industry in the long run as a realistic price set by the market will attract more players and investors in the generation field and ... create more option and choices for better prices," Sanchez said in a television interview.
He said the increases in the generation charges will be passed on to customers.
Meanwhile, ERC is willing to grant Manila Electric Co provisional authority to increase its distribution rates, provided the country's largest power distributor can prove that an urgent tariff hike is "warranted," Sanchez said.
On Friday, Meralco asked the ERC to grant provisional approval to its proposed rate increase of 0.1358 pesos per kwh, insisting it is urgently needed due to cash flow pressures.
The proposal is based on the company's 2002 asset valuation.
"If it is warranted, then it may happen. If not, then there will be no provisional authority," Sanchez said.
He said the ERC is now evaluating the supporting documents accompanying the Meralco petition.
"We will make a decision if (provisional authority) is warranted, then we will have to conduct a public hearing."
Sanchez urged Meralco to complete the second phase of the court-ordered 30.5-bln peso refund of overcharges before end-December so that the third phase, which involves residential customers with higher power consumption, can begin in Jan 2004.
He also asked Meralco to file its proposal for the third and fourth phase of the refund program.
(1 usd = 54.60 pesos)
|BROKER CALL - Philippine Meralco's rate hike depends on election results - ING|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Manila Electric Co may win the Energy Regulatory Commission's early approval for its latest tariff increase proposal if President Gloria Arroyo wins the 2004 elections and the current ERC commissioners keep their posts, ING Financial Markets said.
The continuity of regulatory process is crucial in getting the 0. 1358-peso per kilowatthour rate hike bid of Meralco approved earlier than its 2006 assumption, ING said in its note dated Oct 13.
Meralco B, available to foreign investors, closed today down 0.50 pesos at 22.00 while Meralco A fell 0.50 to 14.50.
Meralco has asked the ERC to "provisionally approve" its petition, insisting it is urgently needed due to cash flow pressures arising from the need to operate and maintain its electric system, undertake planned electric capital projects, service maturing loans, and continue the refund of overcharges.
"An earlier-than-expected tariff increase is possible if President Arroyo wins the 2004 elections and the current ERC commissioners remain in their posts, ensuring continuity in the regulatory process," ING said.
The business regulatory environment is seen as among key issues in attracting fresh investments into the Philippines, it said.
"Our recent visits to the NPC (National Power Corp) and the ERC confirmed that the government is desperate for investors, and potential investors would no doubt use Meralco as a reference for their decisions," it added.
Still, ING said it does not expect Meralco's fundamentals to be affected by its rate hike proposal in the near term since its approval is unlikely ahead of the May polls.
"In our view, a tariff increase before the elections is highly unlikely, especially now that President Arroyo has declared her candidacy," it said.
However, it said the impact of a rate increase to end-users could be offset if a recent compromise agreement between Napocor and Meralco is implemented.
Under the compromise deal, Meralco was to pay Napocor 20 bln pesos to settle their dispute over power supply, while Meralco's independent power producers (IPPs) would be allowed to run at full dispatch.
The agreed amount represents Meralco's guaranteed payments to Napocor for the last three years of the contract, which ends in 2004. Meralco will make the payment evenly over a five-year period.
In exchange, Meralco will be allowed to buy all the electricity contracted from its IPPs and reduce monthly purchases from Napocor from the originally committed 3,600 megawatts.
ING said the compromise deal, if implemented, could bring generation cost down by about 0.15 pesos per kWh.
"This could create headroom for higher distribution tariff, without much impact on the end-user tariff," it said.
The ERC has just allowed Napocor to increase its generation tariff, which ING views to be a sign that an increase in distribution tariff may also be possible.
And this would be "extremely positive" for Meralco's share price, ING said.
Under the law, the ERC has 75 days from the filing of the petition to decide on Meralco's request for provisional approval.
Given the political situation, ING believes the ERC would decide, not to issue a provisional rate hike approval, but to conduct public hearings before ruling on Meralco's request. These hearings could last for one year, it said.
(1 usd = 54.60 pesos)
|Philippine central bank signs 3-yr 500 mln usd syndicated loan facility|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The central bank said it signed today a three-year 500 mln usd syndicated loan facility.
The underwriters of the loan agreement are Citibank NA,
The loan is expected to boost the country's gross international reserves, which stood at 16.06 bln usd as at end-September.
The central bank also intends to use part of the loan to settle maturing obligations.
The central bank has borrowings of 200 mln usd maturing this month, after refinancing a 500 mln usd loan that fell due this April.
(1 usd = 54.60 pesos)
|Philippine Treasury raises 3.0 bln pesos via 3-year bond issue|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The Bureau of Treasury said it raised 3.0 bln pesos from the issue of three-year bonds, with total tenders reaching 7.84 bln pesos.
The coupon rate was set at 9.000 pct.
(1 usd = 54.60 pesos)
|Ford to invest additional 50 mln usd in Philippine manufacturing ops|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) -
Bill Ford, chairman and chief executive officer of the automotive giant, pledged fresh investments to President Gloria Arroyo at the presidential palace, the company said in a statement.
Details will be announced later, it said.
The 50-mln usd investment pledge will involve upgrades at its manufacturing facility in Santa Rosa, Laguna, south of Manila, as well as tooling and engineering costs related to new vehicle programs.
"Ford's decision to invest in the Philippines and boost CBU (completely built units) exports is timely, and will align with the Philippine government's Motor Vehicle Development Program (MVDP)," Ford said.
"I wish to thank President Arroyo for her personal support towards the speedy implementation of new auto policies to address the critical issues identified in the MVDP, including the rationalization of excise tax to value-based structure and the...incentives for CBU exports."
Manila's commitment to progressive policy reforms, he added, "is vital to the survival of the auto industry and provides a sustainable business environment for automotive investors."
He expects Ford's investment to create additional jobs not only at the company's local facilities, but also for its parts and components suppliers.
Ford's Santa Rosa plant, which assembles Ford and Mazda products, has a capacity of about 15,000 units per year, still short of the optimum capacity of 44,000 units, he said.
"The introduction of new vehicle programs and the additional volume from exports are critical to boost production to optimum capacity," he said.
"These actions are expected to double our labor force to almost 1,250 from our present 650 workers."
Ford witnessed the launch of Ford Philippines' three new products, the Ford Everest, Ford Lynx RS 2.0L and the Ford Escape 3.0L.
(1 usd = 54.60 pesos)
|Manila shares close lower on profit-taking|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Share prices closed down, ending the market's three-day rise, after investors took profit on recent gains, dealers said.
The composite index closed down 19.31 points, or 1.39 pct, at 1,365.12 on volume of 365.38 mln shares worth 760.56 mln pesos. The index traded between 1,361.36 and 1,386.41.
Losers beat gainers 46 to 12, while 46 stocks were unchanged.
Dealers said the market needs to take a pause after having risen more than 5.00 pct, if it is to sustain its upward trend going forward.
The market's momentum remains positive ahead of US President George W Bush's visit in Manila this weekend.
"The market's correction is acceptable, given the run-up in previous days. From hereon, we expect the market to undergo a slight consolidation and move sideways ahead of the weekend," Summit Securities president Harry Liu said.
Also pulling down investor sentiment are accusations from an opposition senator that President Gloria Arroyo has allegedly been using public funds to finance her presidential campaign, Liu said.
However, other analysts believe mud-raking ahead of the 2004 presidential elections has long been factored in.
Liu added the outcome of US President George W Bush's Oct 18 visit to Manila will likely dictate the market's direction, particularly if new economic agreements are forged between the two countries.
Regina Capital Development analyst Gomer Tan said the market's momentum remains positive on the back of an expected global economic recovery and improved earnings prospects of selected companies.
After the index's 80.00-point gain in the past three trading days, it needs to re-trace the 1,340 level before testing the 1,380 again and then 1, 440 going forward, Tan said.
"The market needs to slow down a bit," he added.
PLDT was top-traded, but down 15.00 pesos at 705.00 on volume of 485,960 shares.
Globe Telecom was down 5.00 at 775.00 on 209,320 shares.
SM Prime was up 0.10 at 6.80 on 6.66 mln shares.
Ayala Land was down 0.20 at 6.50 on 3.03 mln shares and parent Ayala Corp down 0.10 at 4.85 on 3.89 mln shares.
Aboitiz Equity Ventures was down 0.10 pesos at 3.35 on 5.5 mln shares.
First Holdings was down 0.75 at 18.50 on 966,500 shares.
Piltel was up 0.03 at 0.82 on 21.22 mln shares.
Metrobank shed 1.00 peso to 28.50 on 259,100 shares.
Bank of the Philippine Islands dropped 1.50 to 45.00 on 235,000 shares.
The all-shares index was down 13.45 points at 808.21.
The commercial-industrial index shed 22.23 to 1,996.60, while property lost 5.09 to 606.28.
Mining was down 13.03 at 1,594.00, while oil was unchanged at 1.39.
Banking and financials services was down 11.47 at 449.87.
(1 usd = 54.60 pesos)
|Philippine Filinvest Land unit's planned notes issue to be rated - S&P|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Standard & Poor's said it will assign a rating for a notes issue being considered by Filinvest Land Inc's offshore subsidiary FLI Capital (Cayman Islands) Ltd.
"Upon completion of the review, Standard & Poor's will assign an issue rating to the guaranteed notes," S&P said in a statement.
Filinvest Land earlier said FLI Capital intends to issue 100.00 mln usd in fixed-rate notes with a minimum tenor of five years.
It has appointed JP Morgan Securities Ltd as sole bookrunner and issue manager.
Filinvest Land plans to use the funds to refinance the company's 2.00-bln peso, five-year commercial paper, which is due in Nov 2004.
It will also need about 800.00 mln pesos for working capital next year.
(1 usd = 54.60 pesos)
|Philippine Banco Filipino to remain suspended from trading - stock exchange|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Banco Filipino Savings & Mortgage Bank will remain suspended from trading indefinitely after failing to comply with certain reportorial requirements, the stock exchange said.
In a memo to brokers, the stock exchange said Banco Filipino failed to submit its 2002 annual report and its quarterly report for the period ending March 31, 2003.
The bank has also yet to pay the basic and daily fines for failing to submit the reports.
|STOCK ALERT - Philippine PLDT, Piltel higher early in line with ADR gains|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Philippine Long Distance Telephone and affiliate Pilipino Telephone Corp were higher in early trade in line with gains of PLDT's American Depositary Receipts (ADR) in New York, dealers said.
At 9.40 am, PLDT was top traded and up 5.00 pesos at 725 on volume of 40, 900 shares.
Piltel was up 0.02 pesos at 0.81 on 3.67 mln shares.
PLDT's ADRs rose 0.15 usd to 13.40 last night.
As of end-August, PLDT's wireless subscribers, including those of unit Smart Communications Inc and the Talk 'N Text brand of Pilipino Telephone Corp, exceeded 11.00 mln, up from about 10.30 mln at end-June.
PLDT is maintaining its full-year net profit forecast of around 9.00 bln pesos on the assumption that it will sustain its earnings performance in the second half of the year.
(1 usd = 54.535 pesos)
|Philippine SEC exempts MBf, IPVG merger from tender offer rule|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The Securities and Exchange Commission has exempted the merger of MBf Inc and IPVG Corp from the mandatory tender offer rule.
The SEC, in a letter to MBf, said it has considered the beneficial effects of the merger and the fact that the merger shall be subject to the provisions of the Corporation Code.
The tender-offer rule, stipulated in the new Securities Regulation Code, requires investors buying into a company to make a tender offer when the stake hits the 15.0 pct threshold for a single acquisition or 30.0 pct for a creeping acquisition.
|Philippines' Citystate Bank 8 mths to Aug net profit up 40.6 pct yr-on-yr|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Citystate Savings Bank said its net profit in the eight months to August rose 40.60 pct year-on-year.
It gave no other figures or details.
|STOCK ALERT - SingTel higher after Deutsche Telekom offers Globe stake again|
SINGAPORE (AFX-ASIA) - Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (SingTel) was higher in early morning trade after it said it has again been offered Deutsche Telekom's entire 24.80 pct stake in Philippine unit Globe Telecom.
SingTel was up 0.01 sgd at 1.83 on volume of 1.7 mln shares.
(1 usd = 1.72 sgd)
|Philippine SPI's property dividend of eTelecare shares approved by SEC|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - SPI Technologies Inc said the Securities and Exchange Commission has approved the company's property dividend declaration of its entire shares and warrants in eTelecare International Inc.
SPI shareholders on record as of Aug 22 will be entitled to the property dividends.
At end-June, SPI's shareholdings in eTelecare stood at 379.4 mln pesos based on unaudited book value. That is equal to a valuation for SPI shares of 1.22 pesos each, assuming the fully diluted share capital totals 312.2 mln shares.
(1 usd = 54.535 pesos)
|Philippines' Global Equities fined by SEC for late filing|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Global Equities Inc said it was asked by the Securities and Exchange Commission to pay a fine of 100,000 pesos for the late filing of its 2002 annual report.
The company, however, has written SEC chairwoman Lilia Bautista seeking a reconsideration or abatement of the penalty, it told the stock exchange's disclosure department.
(1 usd = 54.54 pesos)
|SingTel offered to buy Deutsche Telekom's Globe stake again|
SINGAPORE (AFX-ASIA) - Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (SingTel) said it, together with Ayala Corp, have been offered to buy Deutsche Telekom's 24. 80 pct stake in Globe Telecom again.
SingTel and Ayala Corp will evaluate the offer and reply to Deutsche Telekom in 45 days, the company said in the statement to the Singapore Exchange.
Earlier talks between SingTel, which has a 29.10 pct stake in Globe Telecom, Ayala Corp and Deutsche Telekom collapsed because of disagreements in pricing, analysts believe.
(1 usd = 1.72 sgd)
|Philippines' Destiny Cable rejects merger with Sky, Home Cable - report|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Destiny Cable has finally decided to withdraw from a proposed merger with industry leaders Sky Cable and Home Cable, the Philippine Star newspaper reported, quoting Destiny president David Lim.
Instead, Destiny has agreed to merge, initially on an operational level, with Global Cable TV, a small player operating in metropolitan Manila.
Lim said the operational merger will give Destiny the opportunity to tap Global's clout in the Taiwanese market given its strong business links with Eastern Multi-Media, the single largest cable company in Taiwan.
Global operates in the cities and municipalities of Makati, Pasay, Manila, Mandaluyong and San Juan. Destiny accounts for 15 pct of the cable market.
SkyCable is operated by Sky Visions of the Lopez group, which is a major shareholder of Benpres Holdings Corp. Home Cable is 100 pct owned by the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT). Together, they formed Beyond Cable and now account for 70 pct of the cable market with a total subscriber base of 200,000.
|Shell Philippines earmarks 2.2 bln pesos for 2004 capital expenditure - report|
MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp will earmark about 2.2 bln pesos for capital expenditure in 2004 to upgrade its refinery and put up new service stations, the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper reported, quoting the company's country chair Edgar Chua.
He said next year's budget is about the same as that in 2003.
"Aside from projects involving our refinery and Pandacan terminal, our capex for next year would cover the cost of additional service stations and new liquefied petroleum cylinders," Chua was quoted to have said.
The oil refiner has 1,000 service stations nationwide and plans to add at least 10 next year.
(1 usd = 54.535 pesos)