Wednesday, August 26, 2009

BPI and Globe to Setup Mobile Microfinance Bank

August 26, 2009

The Ayala Group will setup the Philippine's first mobile micro-finance group to reach 10 million to 15 million people from the current three million borrowers of micro-finance institutions. The group will use Pilipinas Savings Bank, a BPI subsidiary, to provide small loans to institutions through cellular phones.

Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) president Aurelio Montinola, told reporters that the Monetary Board, the policy-making body of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, approved the conglomerate’s proposal early this month. He said BPI will put set aside P400 million under its wholesale lending program for microfinance institutions. The new entity will be owned by BPI ( 40% ), Globe Telecom Inc (40%) and Ayala Corp (20%).

In separate disclosures to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Globe Telecom and BPI said they await BSP approval for change in name and grant of electronic banking license. They are also seeking
Securities and Exchange Commission approval of some amendments to the Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws of Pilipinas Savings Bank.

The mobile microfinance bank will be set up in Globe’s distribution centers, with the Ayala-led telco providing G-Cash to microfinance organizations and rural banks. An SMS-based technology, G-Cash allows money transfer and loan collections via text messaging.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Metro Pacific Looking for Partners for Multiple Road Projects

Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. is looking for strategic partners for a 13-kilometer elevated road project that will link the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

Company president Ramoncito Fernandez said:
"We're open to discussing [the connector road] with any potential partners. [It will be a consortium] but we don't know yet the structure. We are in the process of finding a financial adviser."

Fernandez added that Metro Pacific Tollways and state-owned Philippine National Railways have completed a pre-feasibility study on the P16-billion project, which will span from Road C3 in Caloocan City to Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati City. Around 80% of the connector road will be built over existing rail tracks and will shorten travel time from NLEX to SLEX to only 15 to 20 minutes.

Metro Pacific Tollways is also eyeing to undertake Segments 9 and 10 or phase 2 of the NLEX:
  • Segment 9 is a 4-lane, 3-km expressway linking NLEX to MacArthur Highway in Valenzuela City
  • Segment 10 will extend NLEX to Port Area via a 4-lane, 5-km elevated road from MacArthur Highway.

Current projects include
  • Segment 8.1, a 6-lane expressway from Mindanao Avenue to the NLEX, and
  • Skyway Stage 2, a P10-billion 7-km elevated expressway connecting Bicutan to Alabang.

Source: ABS-CBN News
August 19, 2009

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Innovation, New Products Boost Purefoods Revenues in 2008

San Miguel Pure Foods Company, Inc. (SMPFC), posted a record P71.1 billion in total revenues for 2008, a 15% growth from 2007 figures on the back of pricing measures that covered higher input costs. Steady volume and revenue increases in most of the core businesses and favorable selling prices boosted revenues amid steep raw material price increases and shrinking disposable incomes.

SMPFC Chairman Eduardo M. Cojuangco said:
"Our ability to maintain our market leadership in many different food categories relies on anticipating changing trends and understanding the consumer behavior from various income ranges. We constantly review our product portfolio and find ways to offer quality and affordable products that are relevant to their needs.”

Several innovations include products like Ulam King—an inexpensive, viand that is a complete meal in itself. and Mom’s Kitchen, prepared meals for middle-income consumers.

Also key to the company’s growth are its effective marketing strategies. One example is the Magnolia Chicken Station, which has enjoyed phenomenal success since its launch in 2004. With over 300 stations throughout the Philippines, this selling innovation has resulted in a 29% increase in volumes in the last year alone.

Another SMPFC innovation is the Community Partner Program launched last year. Small entrepreneurs or community partners have been enlisted in the effort to make SMPFC products available in sari-sari stores and wet markets which are beyond the reach of larger dealers due to inaccessibility or lack of economies of scale. With this, SMPFC penetrated close to 100 additional distribution networks.

Cojuancgco added:
“It’s a winning proposition all around: job creation or extra income for those that need it and wider reach for our products. This is the perfect example of how we have worked in partnership with our dealers and found an innovative solution to market in a way that both inspires and rewards.”

He also cited renewed focus on research and development (R&D) that underscore the Food Group’s emphasis on nutrition, value and taste. Facing a challenging 2009, Cojuangco concluded:
“To further drive cost improvements across the Food Group, we will continue working to improve margins by leveraging our scale to ensure we have a competitively advantaged cost base, improve manufacturing efficiencies, and improve the performance of our supply and distribution chains.”

“We are confident that we have adopted the appropriate strategies to successfully surmount the difficulties of the present. While there is still more work to do, we made reasonably good progress in creating a stronger, more resilient San Miguel Pure Foods Company for our consumers, business partners, employees and shareholders.”

Source: SMPFC Press Release, July 21, 2009

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