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Upson expects warehouse to be completed by end of 2023

Upson expects warehouse to be completed by end of 2023

LISTED retailer Upson International Corp. expects its new warehouse in Manila to be completed by December and improve its supply chain capabilities for customers in the National Capital Region and nearby provinces.

“The strategic location of this warehouse gives us proximity advantages. Being near our customers and suppliers drives competitiveness and sustainability by enabling delivery speed, optimizing costs, and reducing road transport and its associated emissions. Its short distance to our other warehouse and headquarters can also boost efficiency and productivity in operation,” Upson Chief Executive Officer Arlene Louisa T. Sy said in a stock exchange disclosure on Tuesday. 

“Achieving our long-term strategy requires investment in supply chain capacity and infrastructure to improve our overall performance and maintain our leadership in the industry,” she added. 

The facility is a six-storey building with a floor area of 7,047 square meters. Four floors of the building will be for warehouse use while two floors will be for loading and unloading, and parking.

“The construction began in September 2021 and is 83% complete as of August 15. It is scheduled for completion in December 2023,” Upson said. 

The facility is situated close to the Port of Manila and the headquarters of various technology brand suppliers. The facility is expected to support the company’s customer base across Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Bulacan, and Pampanga.

According to Upson, the new facility is less than a kilometer from its existing warehouse and will add to the company’s existing sites in Manila, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao.

Upson previously announced that it is planning to invest in new warehouses across locations such as Cabanatuan, Dagupan, Naga, Palawan, Iloilo, Bacolod, General Santos, and Zamboanga to expand its nationwide store network. 

Upson’s IT retail brands include Octagon, Micro Valley, Gadget King, and Octagon Mobile.

On Tuesday, shares of Upson at the local bourse dropped three centavos or 1.54% to end at P1.92 apiece. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

#Upson #expects #warehouse #completed

House expects to approve budget on third reading by end of Sept.

House expects to approve budget on third reading by end of Sept.

THE House of Representatives will begin plenary debate on the proposed P5.768-trillion 2024 national budget on Tuesday, with a target of passing the budget bill by the end of September, the chamber’s leadership said.

“We will work morning and afternoon and on Thursday and Friday this week to meet our timeline. The national spending bill is the single most important piece of legislation Congress passes every year,” Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said in a statement.

Mr. Romualdez said the target date to pass the 2024 General Appropriations Bill on third and final reading is Sept. 27.

The House Committee on Appropriations ended committee debate on the budget bill last week, during which the various government agencies presented their budget requests for examination.

Separately, the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD), a policy think tank, expects global rules to curb tax avoidance by multinationals to start forcing changes to Philippine tax policy in a few years.

It said that the latest component of the base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) initiative covers the taxation of taxing digital services.

The Inclusive Framework for BEPS 2.0, “is defined by a two-pillar strategy… (that notes) the type and size of enterprises to be taxed, determine the allocable tax base by formula and set the tax rates to be applied to the bases.”

“Countries that adopt these rules are expected to repeal or amend some of their tax laws so as not to be inconsistent with BEPS 2.0. The Philippines needs to be a signatory to the OECD Inclusive Framework. It is urgent therefore that the country at least attempt to reckon or estimate the costs and benefits of being part of it,” the CPBRD said in its policy brief of the Finance department. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz

#House #expects #approve #budget #reading #Sept

Cebu Pacific expects impact on fleet in 2024 amid engine inspections

Cebu Pacific expects impact on fleet in 2024 amid engine inspections

BUDGET carrier Cebu Pacific will lower its fleet growth for 2024, according to its listed operator Cebu Air, Inc., as engine maker Pratt and Whitney (P&W) inspects A320/321 NEO aircraft engines worldwide following suspected issues.

The company expects that “a number” of its aircraft will be affected next year. As such, “the growth rate for 2024 will be revised downwards,” Cebu Air said in a disclosure to the stock exchange on Friday.

“There is no immediate impact on our operations, but we expect that this will affect our fleet availability in 2024,” the company noted. “We would like to assure our passengers that this is not a safety issue.”

Cebu Air also said that the inspection is aimed at ensuring the “continued safe operation” of its P&W-powered aircraft fleet.

The budget carrier anticipates having 76 aircraft in its fleet this year and is initially expected to expand to 91 aircraft by 2024.

It is the youngest fleet in the Philippines and includes 25 P&W-powered Airbus aircraft, according to the airline.

“P&W understands the importance of its partnership with Cebu Pacific and has committed to working closely with us to minimize any potential impact that this issue may have on our operations,” Cebu Air said.

“Given the complexity of the situation in the near term, P&W assured us that it has aligned the expertise and resources needed and will work with its partners to resolve things as efficiently as possible,” it added.

Sought for comment, Rene S. Santiago, former president of the Transportation Science Society of the Philippines, said that this will result in “reduced flying hours” for Cebu Pacific.

“This would translate to fewer flights that it can support,” he said in a phone message. “The airline can either cancel some flights on its published schedule or load the same timetable on fewer aircraft.”

“For passengers, this means fewer seat miles for the first option and flight delays for the second option,” he added.

Cebu Pacific Chief Commercial Officer Alexander Lao informed senators during a hearing in July, prompted by customer complaints, that the Pratt & Whitney engine problems have been impacting the global aviation industry.

He said that restoring an engine would now take 220 days instead of the industry norm of 90 days.

Aerospace and defense company RTX Corp., the parent of Pratt & Whitney, has said that around 3,000 engines require inspection.

India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation has reported three instances of engine failure in IndiGo flights and has recommended that Pratt & Whitney investigate the possible cause, the ministry said in a statement.— Arjay L. Balinbin and Miguel Hanz L. Antivola

#Cebu #Pacific #expects #impact #fleet #engine #inspections

Aboitiz unit expects artificial intelligence to bring more jobs

Aboitiz unit expects artificial intelligence to bring more jobs

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) is expected to boost the country’s workforce, the top official of Aboitiz Data Innovation Pte. Ltd. (ADI) said over concerns that emerging technologies will potentially disrupt traditional jobs in the Philippines.

“Artificial intelligence will not replace people. We are critically important and in fact, I can guarantee that the outcome of AI is needing more people because AI is about knowledge and providing information,” David R. Hardoon, chief executive officer of ADI, said in BusinessWorld One-on-One interview.

The interview with Mr.  Hardoon will be streamed on BusinessWorld and The Philippine Star’s Facebook pages, as well as the BusinessWorldTV YouTube page on Sept. 15.

Headquartered in Singapore, ADI is the data innovation unit of the listed holding company of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc.

One of the top concerns over the changing digital landscape is the emergence of artificial intelligence and how it can potentially replace traditional jobs.

Mr. Hardoon said data and technology would not replace jobs but would create more opportunities in unexplored areas.

“You are not going to wake up someday and no humans have to work on anything, no. We are critically important. The outcome of using AI is needing more people. I have yet to see an organization that needs less people when it has more information and knowledge,” he added.

ADI has also been working towards technology transformation, Mr. Hardoon said, adding that it is integrating and utilizing artificial intelligence for the operations of the units under the Aboitiz group.

For Aboitiz Power Corp., which is the energy company under the Aboitiz group, ADI has tapped the capabilities of AI to advance its operations, Mr. Hardoon said.

“One of the applications we have built and deployed in fact for our power plant is AI-powered asset inspection,” he said, describing it as software that allows visual inspection.

He added that AI is also utilized for its financial units as alternative data allow them to easily identify risks.

Further, Mr. Hardoon said ADI also targets to expand its presence in Asia.

“This is an exciting step, very openly as you know we were born as a company to serve our companies. In that process we are focusing on making AI real, operationalizing it. In that process, we realized that we are solving real problems in the industry. We are now at the stage where we are providing solutions to others. We want to support the industry,” he said.

Mr. Hardoon said that ADI is looking to operationalize AI to support financial space, improving the capabilities of other organizations to accelerate their AI journeys and other industrial areas where advancing AI is deemed critically important. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

#Aboitiz #unit #expects #artificial #intelligence #bring #jobs

Honda expects monthly sales of 300 units of its latest CR-V

Honda expects monthly sales of 300 units of its latest CR-V

HONDA Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) is expecting to hit its sales target of 300 units a month for its newly launched sixth-generation Honda CR-V starting in October.

“Because of the newness of this model, I think we are going to achieve the [sales] target of 300 units per month. And the composition [will be] more or less 30% for electric vehicles and 70% for the petrol cars,” said Louie C. Soriano, HCPI vice-president and sales division general manager, on the sidelines of the vehicle’s launch on Wednesday.

The latest generation of the Honda CR-V is the first model to receive the company’s e:HEV technology, which is the latest generation of its full-hybrid system.

“But while I said that we could achieve that, I would also like to mention that e:HEV will just be available next month, while the petrol cars are already available in our dealerships,” Mr. Soriano said.

The company is optimistic about reaching the sales target after receiving early interest from prospective buyers, he said.

“We had a pre-selling campaign [where] we received a lot of bookings. And we over-achieved our target for pre-selling bookings because I think the existing booking now is more than 200,” he said.

The pre-selling campaign started running three weeks prior to the car’s launch. The company had expected the pre-selling bookings at 100, Mr. Soriano said. The new product line is said to cater to luxury-seeking business owners and professionals.

The sixth generation Honda CR-V will have three grades with a suggested retail price of P2.1 million to P2.59 million depending on the product grade.

Meanwhile, HCPI President Rie Miyake said that the company had set its eyes on network development and expansion with three more dealer stores bound to start construction soon.

“[Our] sales performance is a testament to the unwavering commitment of our dealer partners. [With that], we are moving forward with the network development efforts and expansion,” she said.

She added that new stores will follow a store in Sta. Rosa, Laguna which is set to open by the end of September to bring the network to 38 dealerships nationwide.

“We also have three more dealers set to break ground in new locations soon,” she said.

In the first half of the year, HCPI’s sales stood at more than 11,000 units, a growth of 21% compared to the level in the previous year, Ms. Miyake said. — Justine Irish D. Tabile

#Honda #expects #monthly #sales #units #latest #CRV

Del Monte Pacific trims loss, expects net profit  

Del Monte Pacific trims loss, expects net profit  

DEL MONTE Pacific Ltd. (DMPL) trimmed its net loss in the past quarter on the back of higher sales, turning the listed company bullish about generating profit in the second half of its fiscal year that started in May. 

In a stock exchange disclosure on Thursday, DMPL said it incurred a net loss of $13.1 million in its first quarter that ended in July, an improvement from the $30.5-million net loss a year ago.

“Last year’s net loss had included (US-subsidiary) Del Monte Foods Inc.’s (DMFI) one-off refinancing cost of $71.9 million gross or $50.2 million net of tax and non-controlling interest,” DMPL said.

DMPL’s sales rose 13% to $516.7 million during the period from $456.6 million previously on the back of higher sales in the US and of fresh pineapple, which increased 18% and 23%, respectively. 

The company’s US unit, DMFI, generated sales of $356.4 million during the period, accounting for 69% of group turnover. It saw improved market share positions across the packaged vegetables, fruits, tomatoes, and fruit cup snacks segments.

“DMFI’s volume grew by 5% while sales improved by 18% driven by pricing actions and strong growth and development of the company’s branded product portfolio in both traditional and emerging channels,” the company said. 

On the other hand, the Philippine market posted $75.9 million in sales, up 5% in peso terms but flat in dollar terms due to currency depreciation.

The Philippine market saw improvements across its five core categories of packaged pineapple, mixed fruit, beverage, tomato, and spaghetti sauces. Food service and convenience store channels also saw higher sales, up 25% and 16%, respectively. 

“Sales of packaged fruit, beverage and culinary were higher, supported by compelling communication campaigns including Saucy Weekends campaign promoting tomato sauce, and value-for-money offers amidst the inflationary environment,” the company said.

For its international markets, the company said its fresh sales also rose 23% following higher sales of S&W Deluxe fresh pineapples and better pricing.

DMPL Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Joselito D. Campos, Jr. said the company’s margins were “under pressure with inflation while interest rates rose” which affected the overall bottom line.

“We are determined to bring margins up in the second half of our fiscal year through a combination of price adjustment and cost reduction, including minimizing waste further by continuously improving processes, and leveraging technology to enhance efficiency and lower expenses,” Mr. Campos said.   

“Reducing leverage and interest expense is a key imperative and we are exploring all options to strengthen our capital structure,” he added.

Meanwhile, DMPL said it expects higher net profit in fiscal year 2024, particularly in the second half, barring unforeseen circumstances.

The company added that it is planning to increase the production of its MD2 fresh pineapple to support higher exports.

“In the US, there will be increased penetration into channels such as club, e-commerce, dollar, convenience, natural and foodservice, while accelerating innovation and its contribution to spur sales growth. New market development initiatives in Mexico, South America, and Canada driven by resources dedicated to expanding distribution of DMFI’s branded portfolio in those markets including Kitchen Basics are expected to contribute to sales growth,” the company said.

“The price increase implemented in the US on July 31 will also allow DMFI to offset inflation and improve gross margins in the second to fourth quarters of fiscal year 2024,” it added.

On Thursday, shares of DMPL at the local bourse rose 16 centavos or 2.18% to finish at P7.50 apiece. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

#Del #Monte #Pacific #trims #loss #expects #net #profit

United States expects to upgrade Vietnam ties, risks China anger

United States expects to upgrade Vietnam ties, risks China anger

HANOI — The United States expects to elevate its diplomatic relations with former foe Vietnam to the top level as President Joseph R. Biden travels to Hanoi in a week, in a move that may irk China and with unclear business implications.

Fearful of the potential reaction from its much larger neighbor, Vietnam had initially expressed caution about the upgrade. That led the Biden administration to multiply efforts to persuade the southeast Asian nation, including through multiple visits of high-ranking members of the US government in recent months.

The unprecedented push has led Washington to expect to be elevated to the top tier of Vietnam’s diplomatic ranking, together with China and Russia, from two notches below now.

Mr. Biden said it publicly in July and officials in both countries have since informally expressed optimism about the two-step upgrade, although no official statements have been released from either government.

Perhaps seeking to assuage Beijing, Vietnam is discussing top-level visits to Hanoi after or even shortly before Mr. Biden’s arrival on Sept. 10, with officials saying China’s President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Qiang could meet Vietnamese leaders in coming days or weeks.

China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Risks that a double upgrade with Washington may not go down well in Beijing remain high, but Vietnam’s communist leaders may have calculated the best timing for the move is now as US relations with China are “likely to get worse in the future,” said Le Hong Hiep, a senior fellow at Singapore’s Iseas–Yusof Ishak Institute.

“Vietnam’s economy badly needs a boost in capital, technology, and market access”, said Alexander Vuving of the Hawaii-based Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, noting that may have been a key reason for the possible upgrade.

A boost of US military supplies to Hanoi has also long been discussed but no immediate deal is expected as these talks take time, Le Hong Hiep said.

Meanwhile, Vietnam is talking with several other countries to upgrade and expand its mostly Russian-made arsenal, and has recently engaged in multiple high-level defense meetings with top Russian officials.

Supporting Vietnam’s ambitions to become a hub for the semiconductor industry is also part of Washington’s inducements, but public funds so far available under the CHIPS Act are very limited.

The US may offer more, said Vu Tu Thanh, head of the Vietnam office of the US-ASEAN Business Council.

Energy is another sector where cooperation could increase as Vietnam prepares to become a player in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and offshore wind although administrative and funding delays are dampening the mood.

The upgrade of relations is expected to boost US firms’ plans in Vietnam. Planemaker Boeing and energy firm AES may make announcements during Mr. Biden’s visit, people familiar with the plans said. The companies had no immediate comment.

The US is already Vietnam’s largest market for its exports and US customs procedures could be eased to boost trade, Thanh from the US-ASEAN Business Council. — Reuters

#United #States #expects #upgrade #Vietnam #ties #risks #China #anger