Monday, 2 February 2009

Pangilinan: First Pacific units to invest P38b in Philippines this year

Roderick T. dela Cruz
The Manila Standard

The local units of Hong Kong-based conglomerate First Pacific Co. Ltd. are allocating more than P38 billion in capital expenditures in their projects in the Philippines.

Manuel Pangilinan, chairman of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and managing director of First Pacific, said his group was committed to new investment prospects, despite the global economic crisis.

Speaking at the 60th inaugural meeting of the Management Association of the Philippines in Makati City on Friday, Pangilinan said PLDT was maintaining its 2008 capital expenditure level of P27 billion into 2009.

“Our hospital group has budgeted over P1 billion in renovation and equipment capex in the next two years. The North Luzon Expressway will spend P2.1 billion in capex this year, ahead of the P90 million spent in 2008, and is looking at new tollways expansion,” Pangilinan said.

He said Maynilad Water Services would have spent P8 billion in capital expenditure this year, compared with P6 billion in 2008, if tariffs had been adjusted as scheduled.

First Pacific last year bought into mining giant Philex Mining Corp. A unit of PLDT is also in talks with the Belmonte family for the controlling stake of Philippine Star.

Pangilinan said while the Philippines might not be able to escape the impact of the global financial crisis, the intrinsic value of the economy provided some degree of protection from external shocks.

Domestic consumption and government expenditure account for about 84 percent of the gross domestic product in the Philippines. Remittances from migrant Filipino workers provide stimulus for spending, he said.

To strengthen the economy, Pangilinan said the government should invest in infrastructure projects, which will create jobs and boost economic growth.

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