Oil firms cut prices of gasoline, keroseneBy Amy R. Remo | Philippine Daily Inquirer 7:51 am | Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
MANILA, Philippines–Local oil companies have slashed prices of fuel products due to the continued softening of oil prices in the international market.
In separate advisories, Petron Corp., Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., and Eastern Petroleum said they have cut prices of diesel by 70 centavos a liter, of kerosene by 65 centavos a liter, and of gasoline by 25-30 centavos a liter, effective 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.
Phoenix Petroleum Philippines has also implemented the same price cut that took effect 6 a.m.
Prior to Tuesday’s price adjustments, diesel was retailing for P39.93 to P42.90 a liter, while gasoline prices ranged from P48.05 to P54.85 a liter, according to a monitoring report from the Department of Energy.
Year-to-date total adjustment for diesel stood back to a net decrease of P3.40/liter, while that of gasoline remained at a net decrease of P2.18/liter as of Sept. 9, DOE said.
Last week, oil firms have already slashed prices of diesel by 25 centavos per liter, and of kerosene, by 10 centavos a liter.
US stocks mixed as Nasdaq drops more than 1%Agence France-Presse 7:39 am | Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
NEW YORK–US stocks finished mixed Monday as the tech-rich Nasdaq dropped more than one percent following a cautious report on Tesla Motors.
The Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 48.70 points (1.07 percent) to 4,518.90.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 43.63 (0.26 percent) to 17,031.14, while the broad-based S&P 500 dipped 1.41 (0.07 percent) to 1,984.13.
Morgan Stanley said it remained bullish long term on Tesla, but that the stock’s upward trajectory would be slower and bumpier than the market expects, in part because the progress of electric cars has been slow. Tesla tumbled 9.1 percent.
Other prominent tech stocks, including Amazon (-2.2 percent), Facebook (-3.7 percent) and Netflix (-4.0 percent) also fell. Analysts said some investors were selling off tech shares to raise cash to buy shares in Chinese online giant Alibaba, which is expected to go public on the New York Stock Exchange this week.
The mixed trade followed disappointing Chinese and US industrial production data and came ahead of Wednesday’s Federal Reserve monetary policy decision and Scotland’s vote Thursday on independence from Britain.
“People are just worried about what’s going to be happening this week,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at S&P Capital IQ.
Dow member Microsoft lost 1.0 percent as it announced it would buy Mojang, the Swedish company that created the popular video game Minecraft, for $2.5 billion. Microsoft said it plans to build the Minecraft franchise across different media platforms.
US-traded shares of Belgium’s Anheuser-Busch InBev rose 3.2 percent on a report in The Wall Street Journal that it has sought financing to launch a takeover campaign aimed at British beer giant SABMiller. Another big beer company, Molson Coors Brewing, rose 5.9 percent.
Biotechnology company Gilead Sciences dropped 2.6 percent as it announced licensing deals with seven Indian drug firms to produce cheaper versions of a $1,000-a-pill treatment for hepatitis C in over 90 developing countries. Gilead had come under fire from patient rights’ groups over the hefty price tag for the Sovaldi treatment.
Avanir Pharma shot up 85.3 percent after it announced that a clinical trial showed its treatment for Alzheimer’s disease showed reduced incidence of agitation and aggression in patients.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury declined to 2.59 percent from 2.61 percent Friday, while the 30-year slipped to 3.34 percent from 3.35 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.
Metro Pacific, Ayala tandem to pour P35B in LRT projectBy Miguel R. Camus | Philippine Daily Inquirer 3:00 am | Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
A consortium led by Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and Ayala Corp. will invest P35 billion in the Light Rail Transit Line 1 Cavite extension project, which it recently won under the Aquino administration’s public private partnership program.
Metro Pacific and Ayala, in a joint statement Monday, disclosed that their venture, Light Rail Manila Consortium, was formally awarded the PPP deal, the largest thus far. Light Rail Manila was the sole bidder for the project after the others backed out last May.
Their offer was a P9.35-billion concession fee, a tenth of which will be paid before the concession agreement is signed in the coming days or weeks.
Part of the PPP deal calls for Light Rail Manila to operate the whole LRT-1 and its 11.7-kilometer extension to Bacoor, Cavite, for a period of 32 years.
Under the PPP framework, the government will acquire the Right of Way for the Cavite Extension, the satellite depot, and procure 120 light rail vehicles, which will be funded under a grant from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
“Our partnership with the government will benefit nearly 500,000 Metro Manila commuters that ride LRT 1 daily,” Manuel V. Pangilinan, Metro Pacific chair, said in the statement.
Pangilinan added that the consortium was committed to providing the public convenient, reliable and safe train service and will work with one of its pre-qualified international rail system operators, which has solid experience in developing and operating modern and efficient mass rail transit.
“The resources that our group and the Metro Pacific group are putting in for the rail system attest to our serious commitment to provide a holistic, long-term solution to the transport challenges we are facing today,” said Ayala chair Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala.
“This project is a significant step forward in creating the right environment and infrastructure to address the many pressures that growth brings to urbanization,” he added.
The PPP deal, meanwhile, involves the construction of eight new stations out of which three will have intermodal facilities.
The eight new stations after Baclaran will include Aseana, MIA, Asia World, Ninoy Aquino, Dr. Santos, Las Piñas, Zapote, and Niyog. The intermodal facilities will be located at Dr. Santos, Zapote and Niyog.
This extension will increase the span of LRT 1 from the current 20.7-kilometer line to 32.4 kilometers and provide commuters from the Province of Cavite and other parts of Parañaque and Las Piñas vital access to central Manila, the statement showed.
Filinvest sets P7-B long-term bond offerBy Doris C. Dumlao | Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:00 am | Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
Gotianun-led property developer Filinvest Land Inc. plans to raise as much as P7 billion from the offering of a new series of long-term bonds.
The proposed bonds have received a credit rating of “PRS Aaa,” the highest rating on the scale of credit watchdog Philippine Rating Services Corp. (PhilRatings).
Philratings has likewise assigned the same triple-A rating on FLI’s outstanding bonds: P4.5 billion due in November 2014, P3 billion due in 2016, P7 billion due in 2019, P4.3 billion due in 2020 and P2.7 billion due in 2023.
Obligations rated “PRS Aaa” are deemed of the highest quality with minimal credit risk.
The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is extremely deemed strong.
Philratings said the rating reflected the sustained growth of FLI’s real estate and leasing operations, resulting in strong income generation and improved cash flows; its conservative debt position and high financial flexibility.
Lucio Tan group retakes PAL’s helmBy Doris C. Dumlao, Miguel R. Camus | Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:50 am | Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
Tycoon Lucio Tan on Monday officially reclaimed management control of flag carrier Philippine Airlines after executing the buyout of the 49-percent stake held by conglomerate San Miguel Corp.
Banking sources said the Tan group’s creditors had already disbursed last Friday the funds borrowed by the group to buy back SMC’s interest and regain control of the now profitable airline.
On Monday, PAL’s new general manager Jaime Bautista (the former president before SMC’s entry) said they were optimistic for the airline’s future but reminded workers that issues plaguing the airline industry—tense competition and volatile fuel prices—remained key challenges.
“The first step is to go back and review where we stand and plot a new direction,” Bautista said in his speech. “We will also re-evaluate existing programs without reinventing the wheel.”
Bautista said part of the plan involved determining the best use of PAL’s existing fleet. He said they were also looking at the “most prudent” choices in terms of mapping out new routes.
Tan, in his message to workers, continuously highlighted how the airline was “special” to him.
“PAL is more than an airline company for me. It goes beyond investing—it is like family,” Tan said.
“Whatever life’s problems, this is a place I can always return to and feel safe, secured and loved. Indeed, this is the reason why I decided to regain full ownership of PAL, because I love PAL.”
A memorandum was released by each department in PAL to announce Monday’s “meet and greet” with Tan —who had remained PAL chair throughout SMC’s stint at the helm —at the Philippine National Bank complex in Pasay City.
Employees were requested to wear red, suggesting a festive mood to mark the consolidation of control over PAL under the Tan group after sealing a $1-billion buyout deal.
The Tan group raised around $780 million from a bridge financing from four big local banks, $460 million of which will come from banks led by the family of fellow tycoon Henry Sy, Banco de Oro Unibank and China Banking Corp. while the remainder was funded by PNB and Asia United Bank.
It was earlier reported that BDO accepted shares in PNB and holding firm LT Group Inc. as underlying collateral for its lending to the Tan group, while China Bank and AUB got LTG shares.
The Tan group is widely expected to bring in a new strategic partner in PAL.
For its part, SMC is bowing out of PAL on the heels of the flag carrier’s return to profitability amid a difficult business climate that has forced the airline into the red for many years.
During its two-year stewardship, SMC implemented a three-pronged strategy of fleet modernization, network expansion and service innovation to bring Asia’s first carrier back to profitability.