[Photo - The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) cheered the New Year with simultaneous celebrations on both Tektite and Ayala trading floors during the last trading day of 2010 and the first trading day of 2011. Shown in the photo leading the ceremonies at the Ayala trading floor are PSE Directors Ismael Cruz, Vivian Yuchengco, Chairman Hans Sicat and Jose Luis Javier. Shown in the photo leading the ceremonies at the Tektite trading floor are PSE Directors Amor Iliscupidez, Omelita Tiangco, Cornelio Peralta and Eddie Gobing and PSE Vice President for Finance and Investments Division Marietta Tan.]

New President & CEO Hans B. Sicat's statement:
“We salute 2010 as a banner year for the PSE after the index touched historic highs and registered a 38 percent gain by the close of the year. As we bid goodbye to 2010, let us toast and welcome 2011. We begin the year with strong investor optimism, a sense of the desire and the ability to succeed, and a feel good factor that pervades across the nation,”

PSE Chairman Hans B. Sicat (now recently named President & CEO) said furhter as he led both ceremonies. “May the New Year chart new horizons for the Exchange and the economy. We remain bullish that 2011 will exhibit balanced growth and a statement of financial well being for both the economy and the capital markets as we continue to push forward with our initiatives.”

MANILA, JANUARY 13, 2011 (STAR) By Zinnia Dela Peńa - The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has named its new top officials with lawyer Cornelio Peralta as chairman and Hans B. Sicat as president and CEO.

Peralta, 77, is a member of the PSE board from 2004 to 2008 and 2010. He has been an independent director of the PSE for several years and is also the chairman of the Market Integrity Board which exercises regulatory oversight and review powers over the exchange’s market regulation division.

He was also the president and chairman of Kimberly-Clark Philippines, the chairman and chief executive officer of the University of the East. He is a trustee of the University of the East and of UERM Memorial Medical Center.

He is a member of the board of governors of Makati Commercial Estate Association Inc and a member of the board of advisers of Philippine Airlines. He is also a director of JG Summit Holdings Inc., Wan Hai Lines Inc., Grow Holdings Inc. and the Securities Clearing Corp. of the Philippines. He worked as an associate attorney at the Crispin D. Baisas Law Office and later became a lawyer for Insular Life-FGU Insurance Group.

Peralta finished his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws at the University of the Philippines. He then enrolled in an Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Business.

Sicat, 50, served as chairman and independent director of the PSE since May 2009. Prior to joining the PSE, he was an investment banker for 22 years. He was with the predecessor firms of Citigroup-Salomon Brothers, Salomon Smith Barney and Citicorp Investment Bank-based in New York, Hong Kong and Manila. He was involved in a wide range of capital markets and M&A transactions in OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) and emerging markets.

Sicat is the non-executive vice chairman of LegisPro Corp. which is focused on legal process outsourcing.

He hails from the University of the Philippines, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and his Master of Arts in economics. He has also finished coursework for the Doctorate Economics Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

“I am honored that the Board has placed its trust in me. I am aware of the enormity of the challenges and responsibilities ahead. I look forward to working with all stakeholders in addressing the twin major challenges facing the Philippine market... limited liquidity and good corporate governance,” Sicat said.


SMC to buy 40% of PAL? SPY BITS By Babe Romualdez (The Philippine Star) Updated January 13, 2011 12:00 AM

We have been hearing a lot of Spy Bits chatter that San Miguel Corp.’s Ramon Ang (or RSA) is currently in secret talks for the purchase of 40 percent of Philippine Airlines. There is also chatter that taipan Lucio Tan has decided to unload a substantial number of shares from the country’s flag carrier with the right buyer and divest his holdings at a premium price. PAL management has been struggling with labor disputes, high fuel costs and the potentially lethal open skies planned by the government. The “knight in shining armor” RSA is firm in offering to buy an initial 40 percent, eventually bumping it up to own the majority share of the flag carrier. Our friend, PAL president and COO Jimmy Bautista, has not confirmed or denied the current chatter regarding SMC, but Spy Bits sources claimed one thing is certain: Ramon Ang is dead set in getting into the airline business.

Not everything has been sunny lately for Asia’s first airline, with the transfer of pilots to other airlines and a labor dispute involving the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP) over retirement age and other issues. A couple of days ago, PAL sought the reversal of a Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) ruling granting P220 million in back salaries plus the raising of flight attendants’ retirement age to 60.

PAL said it had incurred hefty losses since 2007 and called the DoLE order “confiscatory” as it compels the flag carrier to give up money that it has not earned. The airline is asking the Labor Department to go back to its earlier lump-sum offer of P80 million to FASAP and retain the retirement age of 45, pointing out that the retirement age for flight attendants from its biggest competitors in the region is below 60. A well known investment banker told Spy Bits the entry of Ramon Ang into PAL will be the best thing to happen to the airline and ultimately to the country as a whole.

Former PSE official on the warpath

The Philippine Stock Exchange is being getting rocked by strong tremors with the entry of Hans Sicat (whom sources said is a shoo-in as the next PSE president) compounded by the feud between a feisty stock broker and a high-ranking government official. According to sources, this government official has been sending derogatory emails claiming that the stockbroker, who happens to be a former PSE chairperson, has been blocking the entry of several companies for an Initial Public Offering (IPO). The same government official said he will do everything to prevent the stockbroker from hindering government’s efforts to promote the Philippines as a viable and top-of-mind investment destination.

Naturally, the ex-PSE chair will not take this sitting down, saying the stock exchange is an independent entity and that transactions are above board, unlike in government where influence peddling seems to be the norm. The feisty stockbroker is definitely on the warpath, even promising to “expose” some of the things that the government official is allegedly involved in and to provide the information to the powerful Commission on Appointments to ensure the official’s non-confirmation.

Philip Morris on Sicpa proposal

Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp.’s Chris Nelson who is a friend of ours had promised to send us materials about the company’s position regarding the proposal from Swiss-based Sicpa for a tracking technology that would help enhance government’s collection of excise tobacco taxes and curb tobacco and cigarette smuggling. According to Philip Morris, Sicpa’s proposal to place a strip-stamp on every pack of locally-produced cigarettes could adversely affect the industry due to reduced sales since this could mean additional costs on production resulting in prices for cigarette products. The tobacco company says it has its own tracking system (that does not cost as much as the Sicpa technology), which it even offered to other cigarette industry players. Aside from Sicpa and Philip Morris, a China-based company also submitted a tax stamp proposal to the government.

Some sectors however pointed out the World Health’s Organization’s concern that aggressive marketing tactics from cigarette companies are enticing women and the youth to consume tobacco and cigarette products which could result in addiction to these products. Those in the know said the technology offered by the Swiss-based company seems far superior and makes it difficult, if not impossible, to fake, thereby rendering it more effective in monitoring the exact amount of taxes that tobacco manufacturing companies should be paying to the BIR. Besides, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control or the FCTC rules expressly say that cigarette manufacturers are not allowed to participate in a system meant to combat product counterfeiting or smuggling since government revenue losses can also be attributed to undervaluation, misclassification and sales underreporting of tobacco companies.

Spy tidbit

–– Humans rights lawyers, NGOs, labor groups and women’s rights advocates are rallying behind PAL ground crew Sara Bonnin Ocampo who was verbally abused by party list Congressman Eulogio Magsaysay. The uncalled for cruel remark happened last Dec. 17 at PAL’s Mabuhay Lounge where Magsaysay, who was booked on a flight to Los Angeles, wanted his sons seated next to him. Told by Ocampo that she had no authority to transfer the seats in the packed flight, the party list solon started screaming, calling her a “menopausal bitch” and threatening to have her removed from her job. The PAL employee’s supporters and volunteer lawyers are bent on not letting the party list congressman get away with it, saying the days of arrogant and abusive public officials are over.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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