Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

34 firms invest $87.6M in Subic free port

SUBIC BAY FREE PORT—Despite forecasts that the Philippine economy will feel the pinch of the global financial downturn next year, foreign and local companies continue to invest in this growing commercial, industrial and tourism hub.

A total of 34 new investment projects got the nod of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) last week, thereby increasing the $6-billion investment commitments here by $87.63 million.

Out of the 34 projects, 28 are new investments and four are expansion by existing locators, said SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza.

About 1,000 jobs will be created once these projects become operational, he added.

In the mass contract-signing ceremony held at the Subic Gateway Park here, Arreza disclosed that the SBMA remains optimistic despite the economic slowdown worldwide, as the agency strives to improve facilities and services in Subic to make it more competitive.

He said that while Subic now hosts around 1,200 firms employing more than 85,000 workers, the SBMA hopes to further increase its investment and job generation records each year.

The new batch of investors is headlined by Puregold Duty Free, which is embarking on a $50-million expansion program for its retail outlet here. Next in line are Sultan Ahmed Lootah Enterprise Corp., which is infusing $6.72 million; Pacific Ocean Underwater Solutions Corp., with $5 million; and Samahophir Corp., with also $5 million.

Lootah is set to operate a corrugated cartons and duplex boards manufacturing plant; while Pacific Underwater will provide various underwater services like repair and construction, salvaging and photography, as well as purifying and maintaining fishing fields; and Samahophir will manufacture, fabricate, install and repair door systems for various projects of shipyard operator Hanjin Heavy Industries.

The manufacturing sector, which brought in the most number of new locators, also gained Cheongwa Subic Corp., with $4.312 million for the manufacture, import/export, assembly and fabrication of steel frames related to shipbuilding; Australasia Marine Alliance Corp., $2.32 million, for the manufacture of boats and other marine–related products and components; TECO Phils 3C and Appliances Inc., $1 million, for the importation and exportation of home appliances; and Ixion Corp., $800,000, for the importation and distribution of petroleum products.

Some firms also proposed projects in the tourism and leisure sector. These are Magspeak Inc., with $1.1 million; World HDGD, $1.1 million; Janburlai Corp., $800,000; Free port Skyworld Inc., $640,000; and Molawinville Corp., $500,000.

For the logistics and warehousing sector, there are the MSK Group Work Inc., which pledged $2.85 million; and Ocean Coast Shipping Inc., with $350,000 for bunkering, brokerage and other port services.

The new investors, meanwhile, also expressed optimism about putting up a business in Subic.

Lawrence Lusung of the Bank of Commerce, which joined the latest batch of Subic locators, described Subic as “one of the most dynamic places for business in the country.”

“The Bank of Commerce believes that for a bank to become one of the top financial institutions in the country, it must have a place here in Subic where great opportunities await every investor,” Lusung said.

Pateek Tiwari of ED & F Commodities Phils. Inc., meanwhile, cited the investor-friendly policies of the SBMA as “the main attraction” for investors. Tiwari’s company will engage in the warehousing and storage of biofuels and other liquid products here. Written by Henry Empeño - Business Mirror
CHIEN TYNG-CHEN (left) of Teco Phils. 3C and Appliances Inc. gets a warm handshake from Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Chairman Feliciano Salonga, while SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza looks on during the mass contract-signing held at the Subic Gateway Park.

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