17 September 2009

Subic investments remain flat

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) said it expects investment pledges in the Freeport this year would be flat on the back of the global economic slowdown.

Armand Arreza, SBMA administrator, told reporters that there have been several projects in the Subic Freeport zone that were delayed as a result of the global economic slowdown.

“Some projects have been postponed, but they were never cancelled,” he said.

But despite this, Arreza said SBMA will continue to market the freeport to interested investors.

“We will continue to build leads,” he said.

Last year, investment pledges with the SBMA reached $249 million, or roughly P12 billion. But it was way below the $1.71-billion worth of pledges the Freeport attracted in 2007.

SBMA has reported that investment commitments in the first quarter of this year reached about P1.5 billion, up by 13.6 percent year-on-year.

Arreza said he would lead a delegation to the cities of Shanghai and Suzhou in China next week to lure investors to Subic’s logistics, property development, and tourism sectors.

He also said the Freeport is ready to be a site for business process outsourcing (BPO) activities. Arreza said they have put in place the infrastructure, and a BPO facility will be ready by the end of this year.

Arreza said SBMA is currently in talks with two large call-center companies, and the agency is also looking at opportunities in the nonvoice segment.

At present, three BPO firms are located in Subic, he said. (Ben Arnold O. de Vera, Manila Times)