IC sees better days ahead for insurers

Regulators are optimistic that the insurance industry stands to benefit from the expansion of the Philippine economy this year. In the same period, the insurance penetration also improved by 45.8 percent from 1.02 percent in 2011 to 1.75 percent in 2015, he added. Despite the steady increase in insurance density, insurance penetration and penetration rate, the numbers are considered low compared with other Asean countries, Funa noted. “Insurance companies will also be required to observe new financial regulatory requirements on financial reporting, risk-based capital and valuation standards for policy reserves. “In relation to the capitalization of insurance companies, we must consider the availability of investment opportunities for the industry.

January 17, 2017 17:35 UTC

LandBank-JICA project to ‘spur Mindanao economy’

A 4.93- billion yen agribusiness lending project signed recently between the Philippines and Japan will help increase economic activity in conflict-stricken areas in Mindanao, the Department of Finance (DOF) said on Tuesday. “The HARVEST project is seen [helping]create an enabling investment environment in the ARMM and other conflict-affected areas in Southern Philippines to help rev up the economy and raise incomes in these communities,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said in a statement. The loan aims to jumpstart investments in agribusiness in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and other conflict-affected areas in the south. The DOF said the 4.93-billion yen loan matures in 25 years—including a seven-year grace period—with an interest rate of 1.4 percent. HARVEST, which will be implemented by the LandBank from 2017 to 2022, aims to open a lending window for agribusiness ventures and related investments in the ARMM and other conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.

January 17, 2017 17:31 UTC

PH infra to gain from China-Japan $ pledges

Japan as equalizerJapanese investment reduces the risk posed by Chinese investments, according to BMI. It said Chinese companies will continue to have a growing presence in the Philippines given their low existing level of participation and the significantly higher levels of investment pledges. Nevertheless, more aggressive outward investment from Japan will help reduce this risk, it said. “Japanese firms have technological advantages and access to robust financing programs through organizations like the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation,” the think tank noted. BMI believes that such diversity will help keep the Philippine infrastructure sector attractive to wider foreign participant, but noted that the dominance of domestic conglomerates across the economy will remain a challenge for those looking to access project opportunities.

January 17, 2017 17:31 UTC

‘More foreign banks to enter PH this yr’

BSP also expects the lenders to bring in FDIMore foreign banks may be expected to enter the liberalized Philippine banking industry this year and bring foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country, the central bank said. Foreign banks may operate in the Philippines as a branch or a wholly owned subsidiary,“There are more banks that have expressed interest to come to the Philippines. The banking sector began attracting foreign players after the RA 10641, or the Act Allowing the Full Entry of Foreign Banks in the Philippines, was passed in July 2014. “But before that, they are also our source of information for foreign investors. In accepting foreign banks’ applications for entry into the Philippine market, the BSP takes into consideration strategic relationships and reciprocity rights.

January 17, 2017 17:31 UTC

News Briefs : Cebu Pacific ends Laoag route

LAOAG CITY—Low-cost airline Cebu Pacific suspended flights to this city starting Jan. 14 but did not give any explanation as to why. The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said the budget airline’s flight that landed at the Laoag International Airport on Jan. 13 was its last here. Ruiz said his office had received reports that the Laoag flights were dropped in favor of a looming expansion of CebuPac’s operation in the Visayas and Mindanao. “But we are still hopeful that within the year or earlier, CebuPac will resume its Laoag flights,” he said. “Farmers want to hear from Andal how he intends to lift coconut farmers from poverty while promoting the revitalization of the industry.

January 17, 2017 17:26 UTC

Primex prepays P1.8-B Metrobank, BDO loans

Subsidiary Primex Realty, owner and developer of a 31-storey residential tower in Salcedo Village Makati, also prepaid both its term loan with Metrobank amounting to P700 million and its P500-million loan with BDO. “The Metrobank loan that matured last July 6, 2016 was fully paid 3 months ahead of time, while the BDO loan that will mature in 2020 was fully settled before the year 2016 ended,” Primex said. Affiliate Primex Land has also paid all of its bank obligations worth P300 million, five months ahead of schedule, according to the company. Primex noted that the early settlement of the bank loans is expected to bolster the company’s financial standing in the domestic lending market. The transaction was seen to help make Primex attractive to investors given market confidence in the 8990 Holdings group.

January 17, 2017 17:08 UTC

App stores must register with state – China

SHANGHAI: App stores in China must register with the state from Monday, a government statement said, as China tightens its control over the internet. App stores are “not strict” when they examine and approve apps, the China Cyberspace Administration, the country’s internet watchdog, said in a statement. The clampdown on app stores came just after Apple removed the New York Times from its China app store, stating that it was in violation of local regulations. In the absence of Google Play, which is blocked, China is home to a variety of different Android app stores, though the landscape is mostly dominated by internet giants Baidu, Tencent, and Alibaba. The first two companies control nearly half the Android app stores run in the country as of the third quarter of last year, according to a report from consulting firm Analysys.

January 17, 2017 17:08 UTC

Rio Tinto ships more iron ore as prices surge

SYDNEY: Mining giant Rio Tinto reported Tuesday a ramp up in iron ore shipments on surging prices, but copper output disappointed amid production issues at its global mines. Prices in key commodities such as iron ore have soared in recent months, supporting producers, with shares in Rio Tinto jumping more than 60 percent from a year ago. Rio said iron ore shipments rose by three percent to 327.6 million tonnes last year compared to 2015, in line with guidance. Rio had continued to expand iron ore output even as commodity prices tumbled before the recent rebound, as well as to slash spending and wind back capital expenditure. The miner issued a wide copper production guidance of 525-665 thousand tonnes for this year, and unchanged guidance of 330-340 million tonnes for iron ore for the same period.

January 17, 2017 17:08 UTC

IPC to offer Salesforce training classes for users

LEADING cloud and data center services provider IP Converge Data Services, Inc. said on Tuesday it will conduct a series of Salesforce University training classes designed to aid end-users, systems administrators, and developers using the platform. “Through this accreditation, IPC has gained the knowledge to conduct Salesforce training courses in order to help users maximize the platform for their respective businesses,” Valmonte added. The classes will feature a Salesforce university certified instructor who will teach students through a series of exercises designed to reinforce the concepts presented in class. These classes are popular in Salesforce University and are related to the cloud platforms or services that most companies are subscribed to, Valmonte explained. Classes will start in March and will be held at the IPC Cloudlab in Makati.

January 17, 2017 17:08 UTC

D&L unit develops ‘egg’ for Hatchimals toy sensation

D&L Polymer and Colours (DLPC), a subsidiary of listed firm D&L Industries Inc. (DNL), said that it developed the egg material for the recently launched children’s toy Hatchimals. In a statement on Tuesday, DLPC said it has developed a key raw material used in the Hatchimals toy sensation which allows it to hatch without splintering. The recently launched Hatchimals toy shows the gradual hatching process of an interactive furry chick that can walk, speak and sing through three different life stages: baby, toddler and adult. Lester Lao, DLPC’s managing director, said the main challenge was producing something that was both durable and delicate at the same time for the egg material. Our R&D [research and development]work is an important reason why clients continue to rely on us to come up with solutions, just like what we did for the Hatchimals toy,” Lao said.

January 17, 2017 17:08 UTC

KTM to enter motorcycle manufacturing program

THE Board of Investments (BOI) has approved the application of KTM Asia Motorcycle Manufacturing Inc. to join the Philippines’ new Motor Vehicle Development Program (MVDP) under Classification III (Motorcycle). KTM Asia is a partnership between Ayala Corp. and Austria-based KTM AG, which has chosen the Philippines as its Southeast Asian hub. KTM AG is the biggest European motorcycle manufacturer with a 9.6 percent market share across Europe. MDPPA bullish on domestic sales outlookWhile the final 2016 motorcycle industry sales figures are yet to be released, the Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association (MDPPA) remains confident it will surpass the one million mark in sales for last year. The Motorcycle Industry Roadmap envisions an industry with the potential to expand manufacturing and sales operations in the country.

January 17, 2017 17:06 UTC

Gov’t corrects Jan. 12 report “Another Malaysian Named New Facilitator”

This is with reference to your news article “Another Malaysian Named New Facilitator in Peace Talks” written by Ms. Charmaine Deogracias which appeared on the Manila Times website on Thursday, 12 January 2017. It is irresponsible reporting to leave out a crucial statement in the second paragraph of such letter reiterating that upon consultations with the Parties’ principals, the request for a new Facilitator supersedes the Parties’ prior acknowledgment of Tan Sri Zakaria Bin Abdul Hamid as Third Party Facilitator. Tan Sri Zakaria Bin Abdul Hamid is not the new Malaysian Facilitator. The GPH and MILF Implementing Panels are still in the process of looking for the new Third Party Facilitator. IRENE M. SANTIAGOChair, Government Implementing Panel for the GPH-MILF Peace Accord

January 17, 2017 16:29 UTC

SC decision deals devastating blow to economic nationalism

The value of these voting preferred shares, P150 million, is a fraction of the value of PLDT’s 216 million common shares. The par value (when it was first sold) of these common shares was worth P1.1 billion. Foreigners own 54 percent of these common shares, way past the 40 percent limit stipulated by the Constitution, while Filipinos own 46 percent. In this deception, PLDT’s Beneficial Trust Fund’s 150 million voting preferred stocks is already 41 percent of the sum of PLDT’s 216 common and 150 million voting preferred shares, or 366 million. Filipinos’ holdings of another 99 million common shares puts its total ownership at 249 million shares, or 68 percent, while those of foreigners are portrayed to be only 32 percent.

January 17, 2017 16:29 UTC

Tectonic shifts involving corporate boards

Much of the discussion about corporate governance focuses on issues relating to boards of directors, and for good reason. The SEC used globally recognized standards as key reference materials in developing the new CG Code. While this means that multinationals will not be surprised with the new pronouncement, Philippine companies might consider some of the CG recommendations as tectonic shifts in the way they organize their boards. A PLC’s corporate secretary and compliance officer should be separate individuals and should not be members of the board. Non-executive directors (which include independent directors) can sit on the boards of a maximum of five PLCs only.

January 17, 2017 16:29 UTC

50 congressmen raring to block death penalty bill

THE absence of a solid stance on the death penalty bill among majority bloc lawmakers will kill its chances of passage, opposition congressmen declared Tuesday. But the Speaker wants a party vote, which is a pressure vote. In the current 17th Congress, the ruling party is President Rodrigo Duterte’s PDP-Laban, of which Alvarez is a member. Also part of the Super Majority coalition is the anti-death-penalty Makabayan bloc of party-list groups Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Kabataan, Alliance of Concerned Teachers and Anakpawis. “I am very confident that we can pass it because we have a coalition, the Super Majority.

January 17, 2017 16:29 UTC

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