PHILIPPINE REAL ESTATE and RELATED NEWS in and around the country . . .

Cityland gets SEC nod for P1.15-B CPs

By Zinnia B. dela Peña

Saturday, November 1, 2008 [ November 1, 2008 ]

The Securities and Exchange Commission has approved the plan of Cityland Inc. to issue P1.15 billion worth of commercial papers.

Proceeds from the offering will be used to fund project costs and pay maturing obligations.

Cityland is developing a 39-story office, commercial and residential condominium building along Taft Ave. in Manila. The project dubbed The Manila Residences is slated for completion in March 2011.

Located right along the bustling stretch of the country’s university district, The Manila Residences offers well-equipped facilities such as swimming pool, mini-gym, sauna for men and women, function room, viewing deck, children’s playground and 24-hour association security to satisfy even the most demanding lifestyle.

Cityland is a recipient of the Leading Condominium Developer Presidential Award and was inducted in 2005 CNBC Asia Business Leader Awards Honor Roll in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Cityland Group is a trusted name in the real estate industry with a track record of developing prestigious condominiums. It has been in the property development business for 25 years.

Other subsidiaries of the group aside from Cityland are Cityland Developers Corp. (formerly Statehouse Land Development Corp.) and City & Land Development.

CDC was incorporated on Jan. 31, 1978 to engage in the development of land for residential, office, commercial, institutional and industrial uses.

The company’s projects include medium to high-rise offices, commercial and residential condominiums located in Makati City and Mandaluyong City and Ortigas, Pasig; and farmlots in Bulacan and Cavite.

CLD, on the other hand, caters to the low-to-middle income segments since its projects are offered at affordable prices. It developed residential units in Parañaque as well as an office and residential condominium project in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.


BPO firms have mixed expectations about US financial crisis

Vol. XXII, No. 70-A [ BusinessWorld Online ]

Saturday, November 1, 2008 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Almost half of local business process outsourcing (BPO) companies expect rising demand in the next twelve months as a result of an ongoing financial crisis in the US and Europe, which are expected to outsource more to cut costs.

More than two-thirds of BPO firms think the crisis will have a positive or neutral effect on their operations, a survey of 113 local outsourcing firms done by local BPO groups Outsource2Philippines and theBusiness Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) showed.

More than a third of the respondents said the crisis would affect them positively, while another third said it would have no bearing on them. But still another third said they would be hurt by crisis, while almost half expect a possible cut in demand.

"While the global financial crisis provides both opportunities and challenges for the Philippine BPO industry, industry players are indicating that overall, the outlook remains positive, and at least in some sectors, will become more so," BPAP Chief Executive Officer Oscar R. Sañez said in a statement.

While large companies expect to benefit from the crisis, smaller BPO firms employing less than 500 workers were less upbeat.

Software developers were the most pessimistic, more than half of which said the financial crisis would hurt them.

Software service providers were more optimistic, with a third saying they expect to profit from it.

Meanwhile, more than half of contact centers expect to benefit from the crisis, while a third were neutral.

"The results of the survey suggest that indeed, there is opportunity in crisis," Outsource2Philippines Chief Executive Officer Frank Holz said. "The challenge is to identify those opportunities, quickly determine how to capitalize on them, and then act aggressively," he added. — Paolo Luis G. Montecillo


South Koreans ready to invest more in RP

Saturday, November 01, 2008 [ ]

South Korean investments were poised to flood into the Philippines—if only Manila could relax foreign-ownership restriction and bring down electricity cost—the newly arrived envoy from Seoul said Friday.

Ambassador Choi Joong Kyung of South Korea also said that practically all of the manufacturing giants in his country are looking to invest in the Philippines. But because electricity costs twice as high here as in South Korea and because of ownership restrictions, these companies are investing in other neighboring countries, such as Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Laos, Thailand and Indonesia.

Choi, who assumed his post only 40 days ago, spoke with senior editors and other staff of The Manila Times during a visit to its editorial offices on Friday.

“If you remove those obstacles, there would be a rush of Korean investments [to the Philippines],” he told The Times.

“The Philippines is actually the most strategic investment destination in terms of workforce, culture and geography, but [Korean] investors are being discouraged by the very expensive electricity cost and ownership restrictions,” Choi added.

Under the Philippine Constitution, foreign-owned companies are limited to 40-percent equity in order to give priority to Filipino-owned firms. Plus, foreigners are not allowed to buy property in the Philippines.

Also, the manufacturing sector consumes more energy compared with other industries. According to previous reports, electricity rates in the Philippines are among the highest in Asia.

Citing his discussion with Korean investors, Choi said that amid the global financial crisis, South Korean companies are in the “expansion mood.” He added, “They are actually investing all over Asia.”

Ohm Ki-sung, minister and consul general, said some of these companies include Samsung, LG and Hyundai, and other Korean companies in the manufacturing industry. He accompanied Choi during the visit to The Times.

“Hyundai is eyeing to put up a new car-manufacturing plant, which would cost at least $1 billion. Apparently, the Philippines is vying for this kind of investment,” Ohm said.

Development expert

Ambassador Choi—formerly deputy minister of Korea’s finance ministry and director at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C.—said that apart from the country’s strong workforce, “big-ticket” investments may still go for the Philippines because of relatively cheaper labor cost, the presence of a highly skilled workforce and English proficiency.

According to data from the Philippine Board of Investments, South Korea is the second-biggest investor in the country, with investment pledges at P21.76 billion for the first half of the year.

South Korean was the fifth-largest source of foreign direct investments in the Philippines in 2007, an embassy official said. And in 2006, South Korea was number one, because of the multibillion- dollar investment of Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction in Subic Bay Freeport.

Bilateral trade between the Philippine and South Korea stands at about $6 billion, and the envoy said that he would like to see that reach $10 billion.

Choi said there are about 20,000 overseas Filipino workers in his country, mainly working in factories. And about 100,000 South Koreans are living in the Philippines, including students, missionaries and expatriates.

Practically every aspect of Philippine-South Korean relations is growing, the ambassador said, adding that “the Philippines is [considered] among the top three neigh­bors” of his country.

The two countries will celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations in March 2009, marked by friendship and friendly ties, the ambassador said. “Between you and me, [there are] no delicate issues. Just friendship.”

Next year’s anniversary is significant. Choi explained that in Oriental philosophy, the 60th birthday of a person is auspicious, because “they [philosophers] believe that the world changes every 60 years.”--Katrina Mennen A. Valdez


PCGG open to tax deal

Saturday, November 01, 2008 [ ]

THE Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) said it is open to a tax compromise over the surrendered 18.5-hectare Payanig sa Pasig property, a high official of the commission said Friday.

Narciso Nario, the commission’s acting chairman, made that statement after the Court of Appeals (CA) upheld the PCGG’s position that the Pasig City government has no right to tax a property of the national government.

“It was a legal battle and we were able to prove in court that indeed the Payanig property belongs to the State. The CA has spoken and that the Pasig City government has no right to tax a government property.” Nario said.

He also disclosed that the commission wanted to get the Ortigas clan into a deal on the surrendered property.

The appellate court earlier reversed its March 31 ruling declaring as legal the Pasig City government’s warrant of levy after the previous property owner, Mid-Pasig Land Development Corp. and the Independent Realty Corp., failed to pay more than P389 million in taxes for the past 18 years.

The local government of Pasig City auctioned off the property on December 2, 2005.

The appellate court stressed that since the said property belongs to the national government, the local government of Pasig City cannot exercise its taxing power over it.--James Konstantin Galvez


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