31 July 2008

Subic 1st half investments top $212-M; 3,500 new jobs assured

New investment projects approved by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) in the first half of this year reached a total value of $212 million, bringing cumulative investments in this free port to $5.7 billion.

The 94 new projects recorded in January-June 2008 will also generate up to 3,588 new jobs here — "a big boost to government efforts to stem rising unemployment in the Central Luzon region," said SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza.

"More than 90 percent of the new projects that passed the review of the SBMA board are FDIs (foreign direct investments) coming from Norway, Canada, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, US, Taiwan, and Pakistan," Arreza said.

"It is also notable that about 90 percent of the total investment pledges came from the top 10 biggest projects, and these include two Filipino-owned firms," he added.

SBMA records show that Korean firms once more dominated the field in terms of investment value, with five of the companies in the top 10 occupying the first three slots.

Korean resort developer and operator Subic Neocove Corp., which pledged $175 million in April for a 500-hectare resort and golf course project at Subic's Redondo Peninsula, emerged as the biggest new investor.

Neocove's investment represented about 82 percent of the total for the first half.

The next biggest investors are Korean construction firm Hanil E&C Subic, Inc., which will design, plan and build medium- to high-rise commercial and residential buildings, with committed investments of $11 million; Hanafil Golf & Tour, Inc., a joint Korean-Filipino venture for the operation of golf, tour and recreational facilities, with $3 million; Palmgold Int'l Ltd., a Malaysian company that will import gaming equipment and operate a slot-machine arcade, with $1.93 million; and Grand Pillar International Development, Inc., a Taiwanese real estate developer, with $1.9 million.

In the next slots at the top 10 list are Buma Subic Development and Management Corp., another Korean-Filipino business to operate a seafood restaurant, wellness spa, travel agency and merchandise trading, with investments of $1.5 million; the World HDGD Federation Philippine Association, a Filipino firm that will develop a training facility with health facilities, with $1.22 million; and Philkor Utopia Corp., a Korean firm that will put up a hotel and restaurant, spa, grocery and souvenir shop, and travel and tour services, with $1.2 million.

Tied in at the ninth spot with $800,000 worth of investments each are three firms: Filipino-owned Janburlai Corp., which will operate a tollway service facility along the Subic portion of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway; Pakistani-controlled M. Waseem International Corp., which will engage in printing press operation, as well as in import-export and transshipment of various products and equipment; and the Taiwanese firm Ta Zon (Phils) Color Paper Corp., which will import, manufacture, assemble, print and export various packaging materials.

Another Korean company occupied the tail-end of the top investors list: Kumboindustry Corp., which will engage in steel fabrication and production works for the Korean shipbuilder HHIC-Phil, with investments worth $725,000.

Arreza said that in terms of investment value by nationality, Filipino-owned firms were second only to Korean companies during the first half of 2008 with total investments worth $6.5 million.

Taiwanese firms ranked third with $2.7 million; Malaysians, fourth with $2.1 million; and Pakistani, fifth with $800,000.

Other new FDIs came from Japan, with a total of $417,000; Norway, with $161,000; United States, with $50,000; and Canada, with $40,000.

The SBMA also said the 94 new investment projects approved in the first half are projected to employ 3,588 workers.

Among the top 10 biggest new investors, Hanafil is set to employ the biggest number, at 1,495.

The SBMA said that the number of workers has consistently increased in the first half — from a total of 73,482 in January to 77,336 in June. The half year total represented a 12.35 percent increase over the first half total in 2007.

The biggest employers in Subic today are KC Tech, a Korean contractor at the HHIC-Phil shipyard, with 8,830 workers; Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Corp., with 4,960; Japanese firms Nidec and Sanyo Denki, with 2,451 and 2,226 employees, respectively; and Taiwanese computer manufacturer Wistron Infocomm Phils., with 1,629 workers. (SBMA Corporate Communications)