MANILA,  January 15, 2004 (STAR) NOT BUSINESS AS USUAL By Margaret Jao-Grey - Well, well. Those two months of head-hunting is over for Golden Arches Development Corp. managing director Kenneth Yap.

You see, he has settled on Smart Communications, Inc. marketing manager Margarita Torres to replace vice-president for marketing Leila Hernandez who is moving to a regional position in the McDonald’s operations.

This is a big jump, of course, for Margot Torres who used to report to Smart personal mobile communications head Anastacio Martirez.

Her counterpart at Jollibee Foods Corp. is Carolina Inez Reyes, who is also relatively new in the fast food business (having spent years at La Tondena Distillers, Inc. before moving to The Coca-Cola Export Corp. after San Miguel Corp. moved all its non-liquor business to Coca-Cola Export/The Coca-Cola Bottlers Phils., Inc.)

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This year, president Joel Valdes intends to transform the Trade and Investment Development Corp. of the Philippines into a full-service export and import credit agency.

As part of that goal, he brought in as executive vice-president Roy Sobrecarey, whose banking experience include reporting for work one day as usual only to find out that very same day that the bank has closed.

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Bank notes 1: This is a good time to be a friend of Bangko Sentral assistant governor Marcos Siongco Jr., who handles the Bangko Sentral’s Quezon City office (the one where Philippine paper money and passports are printed).

You see, the briquetting machine that can pack and reshape all those torn and dirty paper money has arrived and has already produced the first batch of paperweights.

Just consider receiving this gift from Mark Siongco – a paperweight made up of P400,000-worth of shredded 1,000 denominated bills.

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Bank notes 2: The persistent talk that Armando Medina might return to his old job as president of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. is largely due to Mandy Medina helping Suzanne Yuchengco-Santos look for a replacement for recently resigned executive vice-president Jaime Panganiban.

Right now, the job of chief executive officer is being carried out by corporate vice-chairman Cesar Virata. The position of president – last held by Valentin Araneta – remains vacant.

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Bank notes 3: There’s talk that San Miguel Corp. is currently doing due diligence on a couple of small banks.

You see, buying a bank (that is less troublesome as United Coconut Planters Bank, which is partly controlled by the Presidential Commission on Good Government) has been an on-and-off project of San Miguel chairman and chief executive officer Eduardo Cojuangco Jr.

Here are at least two reasons why. For one, owning a bank provides a company-stockholder easy access to cash – something that San Miguel doesn’t need since all the big banks in the country are all dying to do business with a triple A blue chip company.

For another, a bank is one of the best listening posts in town on what is happening within the business community – who is buying and selling, who is short on cash or having problems repaying, what are the pipeline projects with the best returns. Then again, that kind of information is only available if the bank is a major player or, said another, is one of the five biggest banks in the country.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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