20 September 2012, Business World Online
by Diane Claire Jiao
THE PHILIPPINES saw healthy investor interest in its public-private partnership (PPP) program during the roadshow it held in Australia last week, a Cabinet official said.
“A lot of companies are interested, especially those with investment funds that specialize in infrastructure. A number of big names have expressed interest in our PPP projects,” Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said at the sidelines of a Senate hearing yesterday. He declined to name the firms.
Australia has a “deep experience” in PPP, he explained, citing big-ticket deals like the management of the Sydney Airport and the conservation of natural parks.
A team of economic managers visited Australia from Sept. 10-17, led by Mr. Purisima. Also in the delegation were National Treasurer Roberto B. Tan, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Assistant Governor Cyd N. Tuano-Amador and Investor Relations Office Executive Director Claro P. Fernandez.
Despite the success of the roadshow, the Finance chief nixed reports that the Philippines is considering a foreign bond issuance denominated in Australian dollars.
“No, there is nothing like that. Adding a third currency will complicate our liability management efforts,” he said.
The government is seeking to manage its debt portfolio by reducing the foreign-currency component — primarily denominated in US dollars — in order to avoid any vulnerability in the international markets.
Of the gross borrowings for 2012 and 2013, 75% will be sourced locally while only 25% will be raised abroad.
Mr. Purisima kept mum on other planned issuances of the government, amid reports that the central bank has approved proposals to sell up to $1 billion in global peso notes, as well as $500 million in dollar bonds in the local market.
The final offer size, tenor and timing of the borrowing exercises have yet to be finalized.
“We are open to a liability management exercise as long as the opportunity is there,” he said.
“Our goals are always to lengthen maturities, lower borrowing costs, reduce the bunching up of maturities and reduce the foreign currency component. If we achieve those goals, then I am happy,” Mr. Purisima said.
21 September 2012, The Philippine Star
by Iris Gonzales
The Aquino administrationâ€™s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program for infrastructure continues to attract strong interest among foreign investors, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said yesterday.
He said Australian investors have expressed interest in participating in the different infrastructure projects lined up by the government.
â€śA lot of companies are interested. We met with several companies and a lot of them expressed desire to come to Manila,â€ť said Purisima who led a government team in a no-deal roadshow in Australia early this month.
He said that with the PPP program now rolling out, investors are becoming more interested in the different projects in the pipeline.
He also said PPP projects are expected to roll out at a faster pace now that the government has already cleared the bottlenecks.
PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao, who also attended the roadshow, has said that two PPP projects have caught the interest of Chinese, British and several Japanese investors. â€śThey have expressed interest in the NAIA and LRT projects,â€ť Canilao said.
The PPP Center is preparing to bid out the $1.4 billion LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension and Operations & Management contract as well as the $377.5 million Ninoy Aquino Expressway Phase II road project.
The two projects are part of the eight PPP projects, which the government has targeted to roll out this year.
Because of the strong foreign investor interest in PPP projects, the PPP Center has proposed a review of the Constitutional limit on foreign ownership.
â€śWe are looking at that,â€ť Canilao said in an earlier interview.
Canilao said the government is on track to rolling out all eight projects this year.
21 September 2012, Philippine Daily Inquirer
by Michelle Remo
The government expects Australian firms to participate in the bidding for infrastructure projects under the Public-Private Partnership program.
According to Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, several Australian firms expressed interest in investing in infrastructure projects in the Philippines during the road show conducted earlier this month by members of the governmentâ€™s economic team.
â€śThe result of the road show was very positive. There was a lot of interest among Australian firms, especially in investing in infrastructure,â€ť Purisima told reporters Thursday on the sidelines of the Senate hearing on the proposed hike in cigarette taxes.
The road show in Australia was held last September 12-14.
Besides Purisima, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Assistant Governor Ma. Cyd TuaĂ±o-Amador and PPP Center Executive Director Cosette Canilao participated in the road show.
The finance chief did not identify the interested companies, but said officials of some of the Australian firms the Philippine economic team had talked to were now looking into the details of the proposed infrastructure projects.
Under the PPP program, the government invites private firms to invest in public infrastructure projects.
In an earlier press conference, PPP Center Executive Director Cosette Canilao said several Chinese, Japanese and European firms had bought pre-qualification documents to bid for two PPP projectsâ€”the LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension project and the Naia Expressway Phase II project.
The government eyes to bid out at least two infrastructure projects before the end of this year.
The lack of infrastructure is often cited by studies and surveys on the business community as one of the major obstacles preventing the entry of more foreign direct investments.
Infrastructure spending in the Philippines is estimated at below 3 percent of the countryâ€™s gross domestic product, below the average of 5 percent for Southeast Asia.
11 September 2012, Malaya Business Insight
Economic managers will explain the new mining policy to prospective investors in Australia ahead of the official visit of President Aquino next month.
An official privy to the event said Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo will lead the economic briefingÂ for investors on the mining policy â€śand how it benefits themâ€ťÂ at a roadshow that starts tomorrow September 12.
The officials would to meet separately with mining officials in Australia to correct misconceptions and clarify ambiguous issues on Executive Order issues by President Aquino last July.
â€śThe group would relay the correct version from the horseâ€™s mouth because investors hear a lot of things about the mining policy,â€ť the official said.
President Aquino on October 22 to 28 would hold a six-day official visit to two of the worldâ€™s mineral-rich countries Australia and New Zealand these two countries to seek both business-to-business and government-to-government deals, in mining, infrastructure especially under the public-private partnership, shipbuilding, energy and even fishing.
The delegation would include members of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines.
Some of the mining companies being targeted for meetings and deals in Australia are BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, two largest companies in Australia; Indophil Resources and Xtrata Copper, investor in Tampakan copper-gold; Oceana Gold, investor in Didipio copper gold; CGA Mining Ltd., investor in Masbate gold mine.
Earlier, Trade Undersecretary Cristino Panlilio indicated the possibility of sealing deals with some of these companies.
Other possible investors that the Philippine delegation would meet include Leighton Holdings of Australia, a mining contractor and is engaged in infrastructure and;Â Serco Group Asia Pacific, also of Australia in infrastructure.
In shipbuilding, four of Australiaâ€™s biggest shipbuilding firms are being being eyed:Â BAE Systems Australia Holdings Ltd., Austal Ltd., ASC Pty Ltd. and Thales Australia HoldingS Pty Ltd.
On energy, Australian firmsÂ may be tapped for LNGÂ terminals in the country Alliance Select, leading canned tuna manufacturer in the Philippines, is interested in fishing in New Zealand, bring the fish by reefer to the Philippines to augment supply here.
Joining the delegation areÂ Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Assistant Governor Ma. Cyd TuaĂ±o-Amador, National Treasurer Roberto Tan, and Cosette Canilao of the Public Private Partnership Center.
01 September 2012, Philippine Daily Inquirer
by Michelle Remo
The countryâ€™s economic officials are headed to Australia this month to woo investors in public infrastructure and mining.
The road show on Sept. 12 will promote the Philippine governmentâ€™s push for infrastructure development.
Also, the event is supposed to boost mining in the Philippines, a resource-rich country where investments remain weak.
The Philippine team will be headed by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.
Other officials are Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Assistant Governor Ma. Cyd TuaĂ±o-Amador, National Treasurer Roberto Tan, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, and Cosette Canilao of the Public-Private Partnership Center.
According to the Investor Relations Office, the Filipino economic officials will meet with fund managers, bankers, and businessmen in Australia who may be interested in investing in public infrastructure and mining in the Philippines.
The government is promoting investments in public infrastructure under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program.
Private sector investments are deemed necessary because the government is still facing a crippling budget deficit and can not afford to pay for costly infrastructure on its own.
Meantime, officials have admitted that there is much room for mining investments to grow, noting that the flow of capital remains lackluster even after the government relaxed its rules on foreign investments in the sector.
The mining and quarrying sector contracted by 0.4 percent in the second quarter from a year ago, data from the National Statistical Coordination Board showed.
The Philippine team is expected to highlight the countryâ€™s favorable macroeconomic fundamentals, including healthy economic growth, benign inflation, stable banking sector, growing population of earning individuals, and strong remittances that fuel household spending, among others.
The government reported the other day that the Philippine economy grew by 5.9 percent in the second quarter from a year ago, keeping the full-year target of 5 to 6 percent attainable.
In the first half of the year, average growth of the Philippine economy stood at 6.1 percent.
Inflation averaged at 3.1 percent in the first seven months, prompting officials to project that the full-year rate of rise in consumer prices will be at the lower end of the 3- to 5-percent target.
Remittances are projected to grow by 5 percent this year from last yearâ€™s $20.1 billion.
31 August 2012, Manila Bulletin
MANILA, Philippines (Dow Jones) â€” Philippine economic managers will be in Australia in mid-September to meet bond and other investors to showcase for the first time opportunities in the Southeast Asian nation, the head of the Philippine central bankâ€™s investor relations office said on Friday.
â€śThis is a non-deal roadshow. Members of the economic team, including representatives of the central bank, will be in Sydney and Melbourne from Sept. 12 to 14,â€ť Claro Fernandez, executive director of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinasâ€™ IRO, told Dow Jones Newswires.
Fernandez said officials will include Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, National Treasurer Roberto Tan, Public-Private Partnership Center executive director Cosette Canilao and BSP Gov. Amando Tetangco, or a his representative.
Treasurer Tan oversees the governmentâ€™s domestic and foreign borrowing, whereas the state-run PPP Center handles major infrastructure projects identified by the government as suitable for partnership with private investors.
â€śWhen you want to bring in new business, nothing beats a handshake and face-to-face meeting,â€ť said Mr. Fernandez. He said the idea is to widen the potential market for Philippine debt and attract more investment from Australia.
He said ANZ, Macquarie, HSBC and Morgan Stanley are helping arrange the roadshow.
Mr. Fernandez said the non-deal roadshow will follow government officialsâ€™ participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Russia next week, where trade and investment issues are also likely to be discussed.
President Benigno Aquino IIIâ€™s effort to improve governance and eliminate corruption since assuming office in June 2010 has yielded several credit-ratings upgrades, freed up resources for infrastructure projects, and attracted capital inflows.
The Philippines is one of Asiaâ€™s most active sovereign borrowers in the international debt market. Past bond offerings overseas primarily attracted investors from the US, Europe and Asia.
This roadshow follows the one undertaken in Singapore last week.