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Friday, September 26, 2003
Caltex Philippines rolls back fuel prices
Philippines' Tanduay to uphold 'freedom of choice' vs Ginebra
Forex - Philippine peso closes stronger on increased US dollar supply
Total Philippines says keen on importing liquefied natural gas
Philippines' Roxas says G-22 to push agenda, bilateral trade deals possible
Philippines to negotiate sale of power transmission assets to Singapore Power
BROKER CALL - Philippines' Ayala Land remains a 'buy' on strong Q3 sales - ING
Manila shares close flat on continued consolidation
Philippines' Ayala Land said to name McKinsey official as next president
Philippines' Jardine Davies cash div 1.90 pesos per share
Philippine exchange to lift suspension on Exportbank on Oct 1
Philippine high court denies Piltel plea to deny license to rival - report
Philippine Filinvest Land mulls fund raising options to refinance LTCP-report
Philippines' PLDT holds talks with AT&T, MCI over termination rates - report
Philippines gets US' SEC approval for 1.50 bln usd global bond issue
Philippines' Ayala Corp grooms new president for unit Ayala Land - source
Philippines rules out minimum oil inventory adjustment despite OPEC output cut
Philippines' Vivant shareholders approve investments in VECO
Philippines' Interphil Laboratories buys back 50,000 shares
Philippines, India, China to see sharp rises in call centers - expert
Philippines to extend 25 pct tariff on imported vegetables - Lorenzo
Chinatrust Philippines 8 mths net profit 442 mln pesos, up 28 pct
Philippines' Premiere to ask shareholders to ratify Nextmobile acquisition

Thursday, September 25, 2003
Philippines says rich nations may try to split powerful G-22 bloc
Philippine Ginebra San Miguel says wins court order against Tanduay
First Philippine Holdings to list 64,710 shares Friday - PSE
Philippines' San Miguel Corp cash div 0.35 pesos
Chinatrust Philippines 8 mths net profit 442.0 mln pesos, up 28.0 pct
Manila shares close weaker on profit-taking, Wall Street losses
DATAWATCH - Philippine July mfg output rise suggests Q3 economic rebound - MMS
STOCK ALERT - Philippines' Piltel down as Smart backdoor listing ruled out
STOCK ALERT - Philippines' Ayala Land weaker on profit-taking
Philippines' Filinvest Land may borrow overseas for loan refinancing
Philippine July manufacturing output up 4.40 pct yr-on-yr by volume
Philippine exchange lifts trading suspension on Premiere Entertainment
Philippines' Chinabank shares bought by two foreign firms - report
Philippines' Smart rules out backdoor listing through Piltel - report
Philippines' Shell studying viability of keeping refinery - report
Philippines sees inflow of 500.00 mln usd program loans in 2004 - report
Philippines economic and corporate news summary KVS25

September 23 - 24 
September 17 - 18 
September 15 - 16 
September 10 - 12 
September 8 - 9 
September 3 - 5 
September 1 - 2 


 

 

Caltex Philippines rolls back fuel prices


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Caltex Philippines Inc said it has reduced effective today the pump prices of its gasoline products by 0.20 pesos per liter, and kerosene by 0.10 per liter due to soft crude prices in the world market.
     Listed Petron Corp and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp have yet to announce whether they will match the price cuts.
     The country's three biggest oil suppliers cut gasoline prices by 0.10 pesos per liter early this month, also due to lower international crude prices.
     (1 usd = 55.02 pesos)
     afxmanila@afxasia.com

 

Philippines' Tanduay to uphold 'freedom of choice' vs Ginebra


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Tanduay Holdings Inc said it will continue to uphold "people's freedom of choice," saying a court had issued a temporary court restraining order preventing it from manufacturing and selling its "Ginebra Kapitan" gin brand.
     The order was issued by Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court in response to a 100-mln peso suit filed by Ginebra San Miguel Inc for alleged civil infringement and unfair competition.
     "Please be informed that we are committed to protect the right of the people to have the freedom of choice by providing an alternative drink through Ginebra Kapitan," Tanduay said in a disclosure to the stock exchange, providing no further details.
     Ginebra, the liquor unit of food and beverage conglomerate San Miguel Corp, has alleged Tanduay's "Ginebra Kapitan" violated an exclusive trademark which it has used in marketing and promoting products since 1949.
     (1 usd = 55.02 pesos)
     afxmanila@afxasia.com

 

Forex - Philippine peso closes stronger on increased US dollar supply


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The peso closed stronger as banks with long dollar positions unloaded some of their holdings after seeing the US unit halt its across-the-board slide against regional currencies, dealers said.
     The peso closed at 55.020 after trading in the range of 55.010-55.160 on volume of 115.0 mln usd. It closed at 55.150 yesterday.
     "Banks cut their long positions after the dollar recovered against the yen, resulting in increased dollar supply," a commercial bank dealer said.
     The dollar is likely to be traded in the range of 54.900-54.950 on Monday, the dealer said.
     edelacruz@afxasia.com

 

Total Philippines says keen on importing liquefied natural gas


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Total Philippines Corp, the local unit of the world's fourth largest oil and gas company Total SA, is looking at importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) into the country, its managing director and president Jeff Attwood said.
     "We are looking at the future possibilities of engaging in the importation of LNG into the Philippines. We are talking with PNOC-Exploration Corp (EC) and the Department of Energy (DOE) on this," Attwood told reporters.
     He added Total plans to participate in the development of the downstream natural gas industry in the country through a "re-gasification" plant to be built in Bataan province, north of Manila.
     Total imports and markets oil products and is now considered to be the fourth largest oil retailer in the country.
     The company earlier said it is also keen on venturing into oil and gas exploration in addition to its existing petroleum marketing business.
     afxmanila@afxasia.com

 

Philippines' Roxas says G-22 to push agenda, bilateral trade deals possible


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Trade and Industry Secretary Manuel Roxas II said members of the group of 22 developing countries, including the Philippines, will continue to push their common interest on agricultural trade issues against the rich nations.
     However, he said G-22 members also remain free to pursue bilateral trade agreements with developed countries.
     "I expect that G-22 will continue (to push its agenda) on a multilateral setting (but this) does not preclude members...from undertaking individual or regional arrangements (with non-member countries)," Roxas said at a forum organized by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines.
     He believes that "there's no (member-country) that will uphold the primacy of G-22 interest over their own national interest. G-22 is not the be-all and end-all of negotiations."
     "But you can expect us (G-22 members) to coordinate. You can expect us to continue pushing for our agenda. We'll hold on to the position we took in Cancun," he stressed.
     Yesterday, Agriculture Secretary Luis Lorenzo Jr said rich countries may try to split the G-22 bloc after its strong alliance to push common interest on agricultural trade led to the collapse of World Trade Organization negotiations at the recent summit in Cancun, Mexico.
     The Philippines itself is not closing the door on bilateral or regional free trade agreements, which are "always a part of a country's armory ... for economic development," Roxas said.
     He noted that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is also negotiating free trade deals with China and Japan.
     edelacruz@afxasia.com

 

Philippines to negotiate sale of power transmission assets to Singapore Power


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp (PSALM) said it is preparing the guidelines for the negotiated sale of the government's power transmission assets to Singapore Power Corp.
     PSALM vice president Froilan Tampinco said the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel has instructed PSALM to come up with the procedures on how to go about the negotiated deal with Singapore Power.
     The instruction followed two failed bids that PSALM conducted on the assets of the National Transmission Corp (Transco).
     PSALM is the residual company of the state-run National Power Corp, whose generation assets will also be privatized.
     Tampinco said they have a self-imposed deadline of two weeks to finalize the guidelines.
     "We should take into consideration that there is, of course, a sense of urgency in this and we should not allow opportunity to pass," he told reporters.
     The privatization of power generation and transmission assets of the National Power Corp has been tied to loans from multilateral creditors, including the Asian Development Bank.
      Under the government's power sector reform plan, Transco assets should have been privatized by mid-year. The sale is expected to generate less than 2.0 bln usd, which will be used to pay off debts of Napocor.
     afxmanila@afxasia.com

 

BROKER CALL - Philippines' Ayala Land remains a 'buy' on strong Q3 sales - ING


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - ING Financial Markets said it maintains its "buy" rating on Ayala Land Inc because of strong sales take-up in the third quarter, with the lower-end residential segments leading sales growth.
     In a Sept 25 study, ING said the company's confirmation that a new executive would replace its president Francisco Licuanan, who will retire next year, has addressed succession concerns and will likely be positive for the country's largest property developer.
     Ayala Land said 41-year old Jaime Ayala, who currently heads McKinsey's Philippine unit, will join the company as executive vice president in Jan 2004 and will eventually replace Licuanan.
     "We view this positively as it eliminates management uncertainty and may result in a company even more responsive to market changes given that the incoming new president is still relatively young," ING said.
     ING said Ayala Land's estimated sales take-up for third quarter was 14.00 pct higher than a year earlier.
     "We would still consider this to be a robust performance, even though it is lower than second quarter by 13.00 pct," ING said, noting that residential property sales take-up is usually the strongest in the second quarter due to seasonal factors.
     However, it said the performance of Ayala Land's mall business is less encouraging as same-store sales growth at the Ayala Center shopping mall complex remains flat.
     "We would partly attribute this to the adverse impact of recently opened space at the Greenbelt redevelopment, which is expected to partly cannibalise sales growth at existing, older spaces".
     Next year, however, ING said it expects rental revenue to rise as the company's mall space will increase with the opening of the initial phase of Market! Market! mall beside the Fort Bonifacio global city in Taguig.
     The company is not expected to launch any new projects for the rest of the year.
     ING said it maintains its profit forecasts for Ayala Land, but without giving figures, as the company's sales performance remains within expectations. It has set a target price of 7.50 pesos per share, without specifying any timeframe.
     Ayala Land closed unchanged at 6.70 pesos.
     (1 usd = 55.09 pesos)
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

Manila shares close flat on continued consolidation


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Share prices closed flat in lackluster trade as investors opted to stay on the sidelines in the absence of fresh leads, dealers said.
     The market continued to consolidate, although with a negative bias, in line with Wall Street's losses overnight, they added.
     The composite index closed down 0.34 points or 0.03 pct at 1,313.85 on 241.01 mln shares worth 330.18 mln pesos. It traded between 1,308.98 and 1, 314.61.
     The exchange revised the closing volume from 239.79 mln shares.
     Losers beat gainers 26 to 16, with 44 stocks unchanged.
     The peso was slightly firmer versus the US dollar as it averaged 55.09 on volume of 94.00 mln usd at the end of the morning session. It closed at 55. 150 yesterday.
     "There was very low turnover and not much action in the market today, with Wall Street providing a negative backdrop. There's a little bit of profit-taking and consolidation since there have been no major news today," ATR-Kim Eng Securities research head Andrew Long said.
     He however said the market's marginal decline, on its second straight day, remains healthy as this would allow investors to later re-enter the market.
     DA Market Securities president Nestor Aguila said the index is holding at the psychological support of 1,300 before pushing for another rally.
     "The market is taking a rest for the time being, (although) the medium- and long-term trend for the market is still up on the basis of expectedly better corporate earnings," Aguila said.
     He said earnings outlook for sectors such as energy, telecommunications and entertainment for 2003 and early next year remains positive.
     Energy stocks are seen taking a boost from the expected increase in electricity requirement moving forward, especially in the Visayas island where power shortage is seen to begin early next year.
     The positive sentiment on telecom stocks led by PLDT and Globe Telecom has been sustained, with the sector's wireless subscriber base continuing to grow at a phase faster than what was earlier expected.
     Entertainment and retail stocks are also likely to fetch more interest from investors on expectations of increased liquidity and higher consumer spending ahead of a major election in May 2004.
     Metrobank was top-traded, although steady at 29.00 pesos on 3.10 mln shares. The value turnover of the stock was boosted by cross transactions.
     Jollibee was down 0.25 at 17.50 on 2.70 mln shares.
     Ayala Land was steady at 6.70 on 6.10 mln shares, while parent firm Ayala Corp was steady at 4.90 on 727,000 shares.
     Ayala Land said Jaime Ayala, managing director of the local unit of consultancy firm McKinsey Co, will join the company in Jan 2004 as executive vice president. The intention is to appoint Ayala as the successor to Ayala Land president Francisco Licuanan when he retires in mid-2004, the company said in a disclosure to the stock exchange.
     Meralco B, open to foreigners, shed 0.75 pesos at 23.50 on 947,200 shares. Meralco A was down 0.75 at 15.50 on 295,800 shares.
     Filinvest Land gained 0.04 pesos to 1.12 on 18.40 mln shares. The company has said it is exploring opportunities to raise funds in the offshore market primarily to refinance existing liabilities and for additional working capital. It has appointed JP Morgan as adviser for the fund-raising activity.
     PLDT was steady at 665 on 14,930 shares.
     Globe Telecom gained 5.00 pesos at 695 on 9,090 shares.
     The all-shares index was down 5.31 points at 811.65.
     The commercial-industrial index shed 0.55 to 1,916.43, while property gained 0.90 to 589.61.
     Mining and oil were unchanged at 1,298.03 and 1.41, respectively.
     Banking and financial services was down 1.90 at 437.42.
     "Given that the local market has largely taken its lead from Wall St which had declined sharply in previous days, a rebound in the US will likely provide investors some inspiration (to invest in local equities)," ATR-Kim Eng's Long said.
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

Philippines' Ayala Land said to name McKinsey official as next president


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Ayala Land Inc said Jaime Ayala, managing director of the local unit of consultancy firm McKinsey & Co, will join the company in Jan 2004 as executive vice president.
     The intention is to appoint Ayala as the successor to Ayala Land president Francisco Licuanan when he retires in mid-2004, the company said in a disclosure to the stock exchange.
     Ayala is not related to the Zobel de Ayala family that controls the company, it said earlier.
     At 10.44 am, Ayala Land was unchanged at 6.70 on 2.0 mln shares.
     (1 usd = 55.1 pesos)
     afxmanila@afxasia.com

 

Philippines' Jardine Davies cash div 1.90 pesos per share


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Jardine Davies said it will pay a cash dividend of 1. 90 pesos per share to shareholders as of Oct 10.
     It will make the payment on Oct 21.
     In a disclosure to the stock exchange, the company said the 88.37 mln pesos in total cash dividend will come from its unrestricted retained earnings.
     (1 usd = 55.1 pesos)
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

Philippine exchange to lift suspension on Exportbank on Oct 1


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The stock exchange said it will lift on Oct 1 the trading suspension imposed on Export and Industry Bank, which shares remain under the listed name of Urban Bank.
     Urban Bank, which declared a bank holiday and was later closed by the central bank in 2001, was acquired by Exportbank. Trading of its shares has been suspended since then.
     The exchange said that on the same date the bank will list 2.73 bln common shares with a par value of 1.00 peso each to cover the merger of Urban Bank and its investment house Urbancorp Investments Inc with Exportbank.
     Another 80,460 shares, covering partially-paid shares under the closed bank's management incentive plan, will also be listed.
     Exportbank has filed for a change of its listed corporate name with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
     The exchange said it has set the final opening price of the shares at 1. 22 pesos each after taking into consideration its rule on minimum price fluctuation.
     (1 usd = 55.15 pesos)
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

Philippine high court denies Piltel plea to deny license to rival - report


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The Supreme Court has denied a petition from the Pilipino Telephone Corp, an affiliate of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co, challenging the granting of a license to a competitor covering service areas already assigned to Piltel, the BusinessWorld newspaper reported.
     The high court affirmed a 1999 ruling of the Court of Appeals dismissing Piltel's petition to enjoin the National Telecommunications Commission from granting International Telecommunications Corp (ICC) a provisional authority to establish local exchange services in some provinces in Mindanao island.
     The areas are already covered in a provisional authority granted to Piltel in 1995.
     The Supreme Court said Piltel "miserably" failed to prove that the NTC gravely abused its discretion.
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

Philippine Filinvest Land mulls fund raising options to refinance LTCP-report


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Filinvest Land Inc is considering various options to raise funds to finance maturing loans and new projects for next year, company first vice president Fely Ramos was quoted by BusinessWorld newspaper as saying.
     Among the options is to either tap the offshore market or to issue 1.5 bln pesos of long-term commercial papers (LTCPs).
     Ramos said the company has given JP Morgan the mandate "to check the market and see if it is possible for us to do offshore fund-raising."
     The company has to refinance its 2.00 bln peso LTCPs maturing in November next year as well as 800.00 mln pesos in capital expenditures also for 2004.
     (1 usd = 55.15 pesos)
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

Philippines' PLDT holds talks with AT&T, MCI over termination rates - report


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT) is in talks with US carriers AT&T and MCI-Worldcom on the rates PLDT will charge for calls from the US to the Philippines, the Philippine Star newspaper reported, quoting a top PLDT official.
     The official said an agreement on settlement rates and payment of past dues to PLDT would be necessary if it were to start allowing calls from the US carriers.
     "In the case of MCI, we are currently developing a scheme to arrive at a net settlement rate considering that there is an exchange of traffic between us although the volume of calls from the US to here is bigger. Although as far as AT&T is concerned, I can say that we are already gaining ground," the unnamed PLDT official was quoted to have said.
     AT&T owes PLDT between 6.00-7.00 mln usd and MCI 3.00-4.00 mln usd in unpaid termination charges, the report said.
     The US Federal Communications Commission earlier ordered US carriers to suspend payments to local carriers for processed inbound calls from the US. The decision was based on claims by the US carriers that PLDT and other local telcos were blocking calls from two US carriers to force them to pay higher termination fees.
     (1 usd =55.12 pesos)
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

Philippines gets US' SEC approval for 1.50 bln usd global bond issue


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The Philippines has received approval of the United States' Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to issue as much as 1.50 bln usd worth of securities in the international market, sources from the finance department said.
     The government has yet to receive the formal documents.
     National Treasurer Sergio Edeza earlier said the government is considering re-opening an existing bond facility to raise its remaining 225. 00 mln usd financing requirement for the year.
     The government is also looking at pre-funding bulk of its 2004 financing requirement of 1.80 bln usd through borrowings before the year ends because of the uncertainties ahead of the next year's national elections.
     (1 usd = 55.15 pesos)
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

Philippines' Ayala Corp grooms new president for unit Ayala Land - source


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Ayala Corp is grooming the head of Mckinsey & Co's Philippine operations as the next president of property unit Ayala Land Inc, a company source said.
     The source said the Ayala Corp board has approved the hiring of Jaime Ayala, who is not related to the Zobel de Ayala family that controls the company, as executive vice president of Ayala Land Inc.
     He will formally join Ayala Land in January next year and will likely eventually replace current president Francisco Licuanan III, the source said.
     Licuanan will retire next year.
     afxmanila@afxasia.com
     edc/ram AFN

 

Philippines rules out minimum oil inventory adjustment despite OPEC output cut


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Energy Secretary Vicente Perez said the government is not considering adjustments to the minimum inventory requirement for local oil companies at this time despite a decision of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut its output by 900,000 barrels per day.
     "The (required) minimum inventory has not been lifted since the Iraq war. We don't see any reason to increase or reduce minimum inventory. It will still be status quo," he told reporters.
     As of Sept 15, the country's total oil inventory is good for 64 days, including in-country crude stock that could last up to 22 days, crude in transit that is good for 14 days, and refined products that will cover local requirements for 28 days.
     Perez also ruled out any price impact of the OPEC output cut on local pump prices.
     "OPEC cut its product by 0.90 mln barrels per day by the Dubai price remains even. Since the production cut will take effect Nov 1 yet, there's no immediate impact on domestic pump prices," he said.
     afxmanila@afxasia.com

 

Philippines' Vivant shareholders approve investments in VECO


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Vivant Corp said its shareholders in today's annual meeting approved and adopted a board of directors' resolution to acquire and invest in shares of stock of Visayan Electric Co Inc (VECO).
     VECO supplies power to parts of the central Philippines.
     In a disclosure to the stock exchange, Vivant said its shareholders also approved the acquisition of 181 shares of Hijos de Escano Inc, a VECO shareholder.
     Vivant said it will issue new common and preferred shares at a price of 420.81 pesos per VECO share and 53,488.27 pesos per Hijos share, in exchange for the VECO and Hijos shares to be acquired.
     The shareholders also approved and adopted a board resolution converting 674.64 mln preferred shares with a par value of 1.00 pesos each into new common shares.
     (1 usd = 55.15 pesos)
     afxmanila@afxasia.com

 

Philippines' Interphil Laboratories buys back 50,000 shares


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Interphil Laboratories Inc said it purchased a total of 50,000 shares from the market from Sept 19-24.
     The shares were bought at 1.90 pesos each.
     Interphil was untraded today after previously closing at 1.90 per share.
     (1 usd = 55.15 pesos)
     afxmanila@afxasia.com

 

Philippines, India, China to see sharp rises in call centers - expert


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The Philippines, China and India are expected to see sharp rises in the number of call center stations next year, the head of a Sydney-based industry think-tank said here today.
     Callcentres.net chief officer Martin Conboy said this was the result of a survey of 824 organizations throughout the region representing call centers in China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
     However, while the three countries will enjoy sharp growth in call centers located here, the rest of the countries in the region will have relatively flat or little growth, Conboy said.
     The Philippines, which has about 20,000 call center stations or "seats" this year would see the number double to about 40,000 seats by 2004, Conboy said.
     India, which now has the most call center seats in the region, will see their number rise from 96,000 this year up 65 pct to 158,000 next year. China, which has 38,000 seats, is expected to see the number rise 41 pct to 53,500, he added.
     Each call center seat usually counts for an average of 1.6 jobs, Conboy said.
     Conboy said that, of the three countries, India has the lowest operating costs per call center seat with the Philippines and China next in that order.
     He said that Philippines call centers are well regarded abroad, but advised operators of such businesses to assure the quality of the service and provide stress training to the operators to handle better calls from aggressive or angry customers.
     Conboy said 72 pct of those manning call center stations in the Philippines are young women, who sometimes cannot deal with angry callers and may even burst into tears.
     Call centers in Asia are widely used for customer services, telemarketing and debt and data collection.

 

Philippines to extend 25 pct tariff on imported vegetables - Lorenzo


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The Philippines will extend indefinitely the 25.0 pct tariff on vegetable imports to protect local farmers from the impact of cheap vegetables from China, Agriculture Secretary Luis Lorenzo Jr said.
     "We will have to extend (the tariff) of course... We're looking at China as the biggest challenge," Lorenzo said at a forum of the Foreign Overseas Correspondents Association of the Philippines.
     The Tariff Related Matters (TRM) committee was scheduled to reduce the current tariff level to 7.0 pct before the end of the year.
     The tariff extension comes after the "G-22" bloc's success in stopping a new multilateral accord that would have further liberalized international trade. The Philippines is a member of the group, along with other developing countries.
     Lorenzo said the Philippines hopes to keep the G-22 bloc intact, although he said members are expected to encounter "tremendous" pressure to maintain a solid stance during bilateral discussions with developed countries.
     The tariff on vegetable imports was originally set at 7.0 pct last year, but local vegetable farmers got a reprieve after President Gloria Arroyo signed an order effectively raising the tariff to 25.0 pct for a six-month period.
     Meanwhile, the agriculture secretary remains optimistic about meeting the sector's full-year growth target of 4.0 pct, although farm output in the second should rise at least 5.6 pct year-on-year to meet that goal.
     Agricultural output grew 2.4 pct year-on-year in the first half to June despite a long dry spell attributable to the tail end of the El Nino weather phenomenon.
     "If I lower the target, it will make our people less industrious. I will have to stick to the full-year goal," Lorenzo said.
     He said that, to meet the target, the government has been extending credit to farmers and farmer groups without the need for collateral "to spur liquidity in the countryside."
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

Chinatrust Philippines 8 mths net profit 442 mln pesos, up 28 pct


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Chinatrust (Philippines) Commercial Bank said it booked a net profit of 442.00 mln pesos in the eight months to August, up 28. 00 pct year-on-year, on the back of efficient cost management, trading gains and recoveries from bad assets.
     The bank has already exceeded the 410.90 mln net profit it posted in 2002.
     Chinatrust president Joey Bermudez said the bank is expected to post a 10 pct year-on-year growth in net profit for the year, on the back of lower provisionings for probable loan losses and as the bank liquidates some of its non-performing loans.
     "Overall, the significant improvement in the performance of the bank was brought about by efficient management of costs, improvement in the quality of risk assets, good trading gains, recoveries from non-performing assets and steady progress in customer acquisition and retention across all business segments," Bermudez said.
     At end-August, the bank's non-performing loans ratio stood at 5.07 pct, down from 5.90 pct a year ago.
     Its loan portfolio stood at 11.00 bln pesos at end-August.
     Bermudez said Chinatrust has also ventured into the buying mortgage portfolio from other banks, such as the 360-mln peso "personal loan" portfolio it acquired from ABN AMRO Bank last year.
     "Buying existing portfolio is a quick way of growing your loan base," Bermudez said in a press conference to celebrate the bank's eight anniversary.
     The bank expects a "modest" net profit growth of between 5.00-10.00 pct in 2004.
     Chinatrust Philippines is the local unit of Chinatrust Commercial Bank, the biggest private-held bank in Taiwan.
     (1 usd = 55.14 pesos)
     edelacruz@afxasia.com

 

Philippines' Premiere to ask shareholders to ratify Nextmobile acquisition


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Premiere Entertainment Productions Inc said it will seek ratification of its acquisition of Nextmobile Inc at an Oct 24 general shareholders' meeting.
     In a disclosure to the stock exchange, Premiere said it plans to acquire 97.00 pct of the stock of Nextmobile, operator of the Nextel Radio-Phone Network, for 6.58 bln pesos.
     The deal will "converge Premiere's business focus of entertainment with the high growth wireless telecommunications sector," it said.
     Nextmobile will be issued 13.16 bln Premiere shares with a price of 0.50 pesos each.
     (1 usd = 55.14 pesos)
     edelacruz@afxasia.com

 

Philippines says rich nations may try to split powerful G-22 bloc


     MANILA, Sept 25 (AFP) - Rich countries may try to split the group of 22 developing nations, whose firm stand on agriculture issues led to the failure of the WTO talks in Cancun, Philippine Agriculture Secretary Luis Lorenzo Jr warned today.
     The first priority of the new bloc, known as the "G-22" and of which the Philippines is a key member, will be to keep it intact, Lorenzo said.
     "Of course, there will be tremendous pressure to begin to attract members of the G-22 to pull out of the grouping as they settle their concerns with the developed nations" individually, Lorenzo told a media forum.
     The WTO conference in Cancun, Mexico, this month foundered amid disputes between developed and developing countries over reductions in farm subsidies and on proposals for a series of trade and investment issues.
     "I think the developed nations will be more understanding the next time around ... they are under pressure to arrive at some improvements so they will probably work on a parallel tack of bilateral discussions," Lorenzo said.
     He said that the problem with such bilateral negotiations, however, is that "the one coming from a stronger position will be able to dictate more favorable terms for themselves.
     "The weaker one in the bilateral meeting, if not prepared, is better off working within a grouping to push forward his or her concerns," Lorenzo said
     He said that, for rich countries, "WTO Cancun was a failure, but it was a resounding success for developing countries, especially the Philippine delegates," because of the united stand of the G-22.
     The G-22, with China, India and Brazil at the head, opposed agricultural subsidies of wealthy nations, while pushing for greater market access for their own agricultural products.
     This new bloc has shown the WTO that "before any issue is taken up, the matter of agricultural reform must be resolved," Lorenzo said.
     He conceded that the bloc had overtaken the 17-nation Cairns group of agriculture-exporting countries, led by Australia, Canada and New Zealand, which he said had become a "microcosm of the rich and poor WTO membership."
     The Philippines will remain a member of Cairns, but "the dilemma here is that the common (focus) of Cairns is the trade relationship with the US."
     He said the stand at Cancun was "the first time (developing countries) did not break ranks."
     In the past, such countries had been willing to "bend over backwards" to open their markets only to find they did not receive the full benefits promised them under liberalized trade, he said.
     Lorenzo said that many ministers at Cancun had "their backs to the wall" as there was growing political pressure on their governments from electorates who feel their lives are not getting better, despite trade liberalization.
     Lorenzo said the Philippines had been "too gung-ho" in opening its market in the past, expecting reciprocal treatment from other countries that did not materialize.

 

Philippine Ginebra San Miguel says wins court order against Tanduay


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Ginebra San Miguel Inc said the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court has issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting Tanduay Distillers Inc from manufacturing and selling its Ginebra Kapitan gin brand.
     Ginebra San Miguel, the liquor unit of San Miguel Corp, earlier filed a 100-mln peso suit against Tanduay for alleged civil infringement and unfair competition.
     Ginebra has alleged Tanduay's "Ginebra Kapitan" violated an exclusive trademark which it has used in marketing and promoting products since 1949.
     Tanduay officials were unavailable to comment on the court order, but the company earlier dismissed the complaint as baseless, saying Ginebra San Miguel cannot claim ownership of the spanish generic term "Ginebra".
     In a statement issued today, Ginebra San Miguel said the court also rejected a motion by Tanduay for a dismissal of the the cases filed by the San Miguel unit.
     (1 usd = 55.14 pesos)
     edelacruz@afxasia.com

 

First Philippine Holdings to list 64,710 shares Friday - PSE


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - First Philippine Holdings Corp will list an additional 64,710 shares tomorrow to cover stock option plan availments by company executives and employees.
     First Holdings closed today down 0.50 pesos at 18.25.
     (1 usd = 55.14 pesos)
     afxmanila@afxasia.com

 

Philippines' San Miguel Corp cash div 0.35 pesos


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - San Miguel Corp said its board of directors today approved a cash dividend of 0.35 pesos per share to be paid to shareholders on record as of Oct 17.
     Payment date is set for Nov 10.
     (1 usd = 55.14 pesos)
     edelacruz@afxasia.com

 

Chinatrust Philippines 8 mths net profit 442.0 mln pesos, up 28.0 pct


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Chinatrust (Philippines) Commercial Bank said it booked a net profit of 442.0 mln pesos in the eight months to August, up 28.0 pct year-on-year, on the back of efficient cost management, trading gains and recoveries from bad assets.
     The bank has already exceeded the 410.9 mln net profit it posted in 2002.
     "Overall, the significant improvement in the performance of the bank was brought about by efficient management of costs, improvement in the quality of risk assets, good trading gains, recoveries from non-performing assets and steady progress in customer acquisition and retention across all business segments," said Chinatrust Philippines president Joey Bermudez.
     At end-August, the bank's non-performing loans ratio stood at 5.07 pct, down from 5.90 pct a year ago.
     Chinatrust Philippines is the local unit of Chinatrust Commercial Bank of Taiwan.
     (1 usd = 55.14 pesos)
     edelacruz@afxasia.com

 

Manila shares close weaker on profit-taking, Wall Street losses


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Share prices closed weaker as investors locked in recent gains in select stocks and as the market further corrected following Wall Street's losses overnight, dealers said.
     They said there were also no fresh positive leads to sustain yesterday's gains.
     The composite index closed down 4.38 points or 0.33 pct at 1,314.19 on volume of 734.92 mln shares valued at 606.35 mln pesos. It traded between 1, 309.28 and 1,317.11.
     In the broader market, losers edged out gainers 35 to 21, with 41 stocks unchanged. "We look at it as a continuation of the market's technical correction and consolidation. There was also profit-taking in select stocks, with Wall Street's weakness providing a negative backdrop," said Unicapital Securities senior analyst Elena Ponceca said.
     Dealers said investors were also largely cautious amid lingering security worries as President Gloria Arroyo is now on an official trip to the US and Europe.
      Metrobank was top traded on cross sales worth 210.009 mln pesos. It closed 0.50 pesos lower at 29.00 on volume of 7.37 mln shares, including cross sales involving 6.12 mln shares.
     No other details were immediately available.
     SM Prime was down 0.10 at 6.30 on 12.74 mln shares.
     Philippine Long Distance Telephone capped the market's downside as it closed 15.00 higher at 665.00 on 98,430 shares.
     ING Financial Markets said it has raised its 12-month target price for PLDT to 780.00 pesos on expectations that it will be able to pay a cash dividend in 2005, aided by increased dividends from its wireless unit Smart Communications Inc.
     ING said it has upgraded its recommendation on PLDT to "buy" from "hold" as it forecasts the company will record earnings per share growth of 8.00 pct this year and 9.00 pct in 2004 - primarily due to Smart's gains.
     Ayala Land fell 0.10 to 6.70 on 5.75 mln shares while parent Ayala Corp was unchanged at 4.90.
     Pilipino Telephone was down 0.04 at 0.73 on 29.94 mln shares after Smart Communications Inc ruled out a backdoor listing through the listed affiliate.
     A Smart official confirmed a newspaper report that Smart has no plans to make a backdoor listing through Piltel, triggering profit-taking in the stock.
     Jollibee Foods was down 0.25 at 17.75 on 1.09 mln shares.
     Manila Electric B, available to foreign investors, eased 0.50 to 24.25 on 797,600 shares, while Meralco A was steady at 16.25.
     San Miguel A was down 0.50 at 54.00, while San Miguel B, also available to foreigners, was unchanged at 63.00.
     The all-shares index was up 0.87 points at 816.96.
     The commercial-industrial index rose 1.35 to 1,916.98, while property eased 7.93 to 588.71.
     Mining gained 37.60 to 1,298.03, while oil was unchanged at 1.41.
     Banking and financial services shed 3.56 to 439.32.
     (1 usd = 55.14 pesos)
     edelacruz@afxasia.com

 

DATAWATCH - Philippine July mfg output rise suggests Q3 economic rebound - MMS


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The increase in manufacturing output and sales in July indicates that economic activities in the Philippines are picking up after the country narrowly escaped a technical recession in the second quarter, said David Cohen, chief macroeconomic forecaster at Singapore-based MMS International.
     Manufacturing output in July rose 4.40 pct in volume terms after a decline of 1.50 pct year-on-year in June, the National Statistics Office said.
     Manufacturing sales in July increased 0.60 pct year-on-year in volume terms after a drop of 1.80 pct in June.
     The average capacity utilization rate of the manufacturing sector stood at 78.80 pct in July, a slight improvement from 78.50 pct in June.
     "Both year-on-year and month-on-month figures are positive and these are encouraging signs for the Philippine economy. This is also in line with the improving global picture," he said.
     "I think we can expect a resumption of economic growth in the second half for the Philippines after barely escaping recession in the second quarter."
     The Philippines' gross domestic product grew 3.20 pct year-on-year in the second quarter, slower than the government forecast of 3.70-4.40 pct.
     On a quarter-on-quarter basis, GDP in the second quarter grew 0.10 pct, after contracting 0.50 pct in the first quarter.
     Cohen said some downside risks, however, remain, especially as the political environment gets murky ahead of the 2004 national elections.
     Still, he said "cautious optimism" prevails amid expectations that the recovery in the US and Japan, supported by recent positive economic indicators, will greatly benefit a trading partner like the Philippines.
     "We have not seen much pick-up in exports yet, but there is optimism the recovery will continue in line with the global pick-up in demand," he said.
     edelacruz@afxasia.com

 

STOCK ALERT - Philippines' Piltel down as Smart backdoor listing ruled out


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Pilipino Telephone Corp (Piltel) shares were weaker in midday trade after Smart Communications Inc ruled out a backdoor listing through affiliate Piltel, dealers said.
     They said investors locked in recent gains after speculation that Smart would comply with a franchise requirement to list its shares by merging with listed Piltel.
     Piltel was down 0.01 pesos at 0.76 on volume of 12.47 mln shares.
     A Smart official confirmed a newspaper report that Smart has no plans to make a backdoor listing through Piltel.
     Both wireless service providers Smart and Piltel are part of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone group.
     (1 usd = 55.16 pesos)
     edelacruz@afxasia.com

 

STOCK ALERT - Philippines' Ayala Land weaker on profit-taking


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Ayala Land was weaker in mid-trade as investors locked in recent gains, dealers said.
     Ayala Land was top traded so far and down 0.10 pesos at 6.70 on volume of 1.93 mln shares.
     (1 usd = 55.16 pesos)
     edelacruz@afxasia.com

 

Philippines' Filinvest Land may borrow overseas for loan refinancing


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Filinvest Land Inc said it is exploring opportunities to raise funds in the offshore market primarily to refinance existing liabilities and for additional working capital.
     The company has appointed JP Morgan as adviser for the fund-raising activity.
     Filinvest Land first vice president Fely Ramos said the company's board of directors approved the plan only yesterday and has not finalized any details nor the timetable.
     She, however, said proceeds of the planned borrowing are intended in particular to refinance Filinvest Land's 2.00-bln peso loan in the form of five-year commercial papers, which will fall due in Nov 2004.
     Filinvest Land will also need about 800 mln pesos for working capital in 2004.
     "We have not set any timetable, but the fund-raising activity is really intended for our long-term commercial papers maturing next year. It really depends on what JP Morgan will say and the market conditions," Ramos told AFX-Asia by phone.
     "We're really not in a hurry to do it."
     At 10.05 am, Filinvest Land was up 0.02 pesos at 1.08 on 2.48 mln shares.
     (1 usd = 55.16 pesos)
     edelacruz@afxasia.com

 

Philippine July manufacturing output up 4.40 pct yr-on-yr by volume


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Manufacturing output in July rose 4.40 pct in volume terms after a revised decline of 1.50 pct year-on-year in June, the National Statistics Office said.
     Manufacturing sales in July increased 0.60 pct year-on-year in volume terms after a revised drop of 1.80 pct year-on-year in June.
     The NSO earlier reported June output fell 1.20 pct year-on-year and sales dropped 2.00 pct year-on-year, both in volume terms.
     In value terms, manufacturing output in July rose 12.90 pct year-on-year, while sales increased 9.40 pct year-on-year.
     In June, output rose a revised 6.60 pct year-on-year and sales rose 7.60 pct year-on-year, both in value terms.
     The average capacity utilitization rate of the manufacturing sector stood at 78.80 pct in July compared with the revised 78.50 pct in June. The NSO earlier reported the June rate at 78.40 pct.
     The NSO said manufacturing output by volume picked up in July mainly due to increased production in basic metals, wood and wood products, non-electrical machinery, rubber products, textile, non-metallic mineral products, and miscellaneous manufactures.
     Month-on-month, manufacturing output in volume terms in July marginally rose by 0.70 pct, with leather products, tobacco and rubber products as major contributors.
     July sales in volume terms rose at a much slower year-on-year rate despite doouble-digit growth in non-electrical machinery, wood and wood products, textile, basic metals and non-metallic products, the NSO said.
     In value terms, manufacturing output jumped significantly in July from a year ago as double-digit increases were recorded in basic metals, non-electrical machinery, wood and wood products, miscellaneous manufactures, petroleum products, textile, non-metallic mineral products, chemical products, food manufacturing and rubber products.
     On a month-on-month basis, July sales in value terms improved by 1.90 pct on the back of gains in leather products, tobacco, electrical machinery and rubber products.
     edelacruz@afxasia.com

 

Philippine exchange lifts trading suspension on Premiere Entertainment


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The Philippine Stock Exchange said the trading suspension imposed on Monday on shares of Premiere Entertainment Productions Inc is lifted today.
     It said the company has provided additional information regarding its acquisition of a controlling interest in Nextmobile Inc.
     On Monday, Premiere announced it would acquire control of Nextmobile, which is engaged in the management and operation of the Nextel Radio-Phone Network, for 6.58 bln pesos. This prompted the exchange to suspend trading in Premiere shares.
     (1 usd = 55.12 pesos)
     edelacruz@afxasia.com

 

Philippines' Chinabank shares bought by two foreign firms - report


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Two foreign companies have bought into publicly listed China Banking Corp, the BusinessWorld newspaper reported, quoting unnamed sources.
     A total of 2.46 mln Chinabank shares worth 1.623 bln pesos were sold in two cross transactions early this week.
     The shares were sold at 660.00 pesos each, with the transactions handled by Lucky Securities Inc.
     The report said Taiwan-based Mega Financial Holdings Co confirmed it has sold the shares held by International Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).
     The shares were purchased by Columbus Atlantic Fund Ltd and Symmetric Capital Global Ltd. No information on the buying companies was provided.
     (1 usd = 55.12 pesos)
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

Philippines' Smart rules out backdoor listing through Piltel - report


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Smart Communications Inc has ruled out a backdoor listing through affiliate Pilipino Telephone Corp (Piltel) to meet a franchise requirement to publicly list by next year, BusinessWorld newspaper reported, quoting Smart spokesman Ramon Isberto.
     "There are no plans to conduct backdoor listing through Piltel. (PLDT president Manuel) Pangilinan has indicated that PLDT is considering various options for the listing of Smart," Isberto was quoted to have said.
     Shares of Piltel have risen since two weeks ago on speculation that Smart will backdoor list through Piltel.
     Both Smart and Piltel are owned by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

Philippines' Shell studying viability of keeping refinery - report


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp is assessing the viability of keeping its refinery after rival Caltex Philippines Inc decided to stop the operation of its own refinery, the BusinessWorld newspaper reported, quoting Shell general manager Roberto Kanapi.
     "Assessing the viability of our Tabangao refinery is an ongoing exercise. We also have to consider the viability of our refinery against the intricacies in the local environment. We are assessing our refinery in view of factors that affected Caltex," Kanapi was quoted to have said.
     Caltex has said it will invest more than 750.00 mln pesos to convert its refinery in San Pascual, Batangas, south of Manila into a world-class storage terminal, which should be operational by the last quarter of this year.
     It will import its refined oil product requirements after the refinery is closed.
     Built in 1954, the refinery produces 72,000 barrels of oil per day. The converted terminal will have a storage capacity of roughly 2.70 mln barrels, Caltex said.
     (1 usd = 55.12 pesos)
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

Philippines sees inflow of 500.00 mln usd program loans in 2004 - report


     MANILA (AFX-ASIA) - The finance department is eyeing 500.00 mln usd worth of program loans from multilateral agencies next year, the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper reported, quoting finance undersecretary Juanita Amatong.
     The multilateral loans will bankroll projects related to the strengthening of public finances, bureaucracy streamlining and capital market developments.
     The inflows should also reduce government's 1.80 bln usd financing requirement for 2004.
     (1 usd = 55.120 pesos)
     cecille.yap@afxasia.com

 

Philippines economic and corporate news summary KVS25


     BEIJING (AFX-ASIA) - A summary of Philippine economic and corporate news at 1000 GMT:
     -Philippine defense secretary to keep post as chief peace negotiator
     -Arroyo's approval rating at record low due to economy - survey
     -Total Philippines to invest additional 4 mln usd in Manila oil terminal
     -Total Philippines says may venture into oil and gas exploration
     -Petron's 100-mln usd refinery upgrade ongoing - chairman
     -Caltex Philippines not yet exempt from IPO requirement - Perez
     -Southeast Asia Cement asks SEC to reconsider 75,000-peso penalty
     -Philippine Lodestar board approves change in corporate name
     ivy.cheng@xfn.com

 


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