Chủ Nhật, 20 tháng 7, 2014

Biz Buzz: Five-star dining

Some political and business journalists got a surprise a few days ago when they went to the this new hotel in Ortigas Center, Pasig City, (let’s call it “Hotel M”) to cover its launch.

With President Aquino gracing the evening affair, reporters were eager to attend the event to get the latest news on the issues of the day, both on the political and business fronts. It was a black-tie event with no less than the hotel chain’s global president in attendance. Also attending was Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr.

No doubt, the reporters were also eager to see the spanking new hotel and sample the hospitality of its staff.

So one can imagine the surprise— no, shock is probably more accurate— of the reporters when, at the designated point in the evening, they were ushered out by the hotel staff and led to another floor, where a separate “buffet” was laid out for them.

On this exclusively-for-reporters food spread were special items like galunggong, kalabasa, sitaw and gata. (We’d give you their equivalent names in English, but it would detract from the effect.)

Note, of course, that these shocked reporters are the same ones who regularly attend and dine at black-tie events for heads of state and CEOs.

In any case, we understand an attempt was made to console the reporters with … uhmm … bottomless iced tea. Daxim L. Lucas

Hasty migration

For those wondering why the Philippine Stock Exchange had to migrate to a new trading system X-Stream (powered by Nasdaq OMX) not too long after procuring NYSE Technologies’ NSC V900 trading platform in 2010, it was recently explained to market participants that the local bourse had no choice but to switch because NYSE Technologies was set to phase out support services on the fifth year. This means that the existing system will be orphaned by 2015, prompting the PSE to look for a new provider.

The good thing is that the new system may be better for the PSE since it is more widely used than the old one. It’s also the same solution adopted by several Asia-Pacific peers like Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia.

On the other side, some market players say that many old-timers who already had difficulty learning the ropes of the old system will now have to learn a new one in less than a year. The previous migration was marred by several glitches, but trading participants are hoping the PSE has learned from the past and would facilitate a smoother and more systematic shift.

On its books, this switching to a new system is estimated by some analysts to cost the PSE around P100 million or 50 percent of the total cost of P200 million that is not yet depreciated in the PSE’s books. The PSE was presumably set to book the depreciation of the old system over a 10-year period. But since its useful life is ending on the fifth year, the old system may be considered an impaired asset that can be written off. If they do so, that’s some P100 million still in the books. Doris C. Dumlao

Dreams come true

For a little while at least, three elementary school pupils from San Jose Elementary School can forget about the horrors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” that almost cost them their lives last year.

Through the support of the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation and Smart Communications Inc., Kenneth Cadavis, Kylie Villamor and Gabriel Hatton and their coach Marlon Nombre will be flown to Manila to take part in the PLDT Home-sponsored basketball clinic on July 22 with 12 top players of the National Basketball Association and Gilas Pilipinas.

The three children deserve to have their basketball dreams come true considering what they went through when Yolanda barreled through central Philippines in November last year.

Cadivis and his family were carried away by the storm surge and they saw many of their neighbors die. Villamor, on the other hand, was trapped in his home with his family when a caimito  tree fell on their house. They held on to the tree as water swept galvanized iron sheets and other debris past them. Hatton was likewise left traumatized.

But for a few hours on Tuesday, when they get to see the Gilas and NBA players up close and personal, they will hopefully be taken further along their path to full recovery. Tina Arceo-Dumlao

Looming LRT deal

After a mandated review process, including the approval of President Aquino, and even a divine intervention-induced delay when Typhoon “Glenda” canceled the railway regulator’s board meeting on July 16, will the government be ready to award its biggest public private partnership (PPP) deal to date?

We are talking about the P65-billion PPP deal to extend the Light Rail Transit Line 1 about 11.7-kilometers to Bacoor, Cavite. The board of Light Rail Transit Authority is planning to hold its next meeting on July 23 after the recent storm disrupted the previous schedule.

The meeting is a key step before the project can be awarded to the LRT-1 deal’s sole bidder, the consortium led by Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and Ayala Corp.

Will all the pieces finally fall into place, and every legal issue be finally threshed out? We will know soon enough. Miguel R. Camus

Expanding City of Dreams

The newest integrated gaming resort hub has yet to open but this early, property developer Belle Corp. is on the lookout for additional land to lease within the Pagcor Entertainment City to house new phases in the future. “We are looking to do deals in the vicinity,” said Belle vice chair Willy Ocier, noting though that the company had yet to receive any firm offer.

Just across from the upcoming City of Dreams, for instance, is the landbank that was supposed to be developed by Alphaland Corp. for a marina project but ran into disagreements with its partner, the Wenceslao group. This asset is now part of the settlement framework and will be ceded to British fund Ashmore.

“At the right price, anything can happen,” Ocier said, hinting of an interest to take over the idle lots in the area, including those held by the Wenceslao group and that to be controlled by Ashmore, which now has businessman/former finance undersecretary Eric Recto as its new local partner. Doris C. Dumlao

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Biz Buzz: Five-star dining

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