Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, January 26, 2009

Subic records 85% drop in investments

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority reported an 85-percent drop in committed investments in 2008 to $249 million from $1.7 billion in 2007.

Data from the SBMA Business Group showed the number of approved projects locating in Subic Freeport grew by 6 percent last year to 185 from 175 the year before, but the investments involved were significantly lower than year-ago levels.

Investments approved in Subic reached an all-time high of $1.71 billion in 2007. In 2006, SBMA-approved projects amounted to $1.44 billion.

SBMA administrator Armand Arreza said Subic was still in a good position as an investment destination despite the huge drop in the investment value in 2008.

“Subic continued to attract big-ticket projects, while remaining one of the biggest employers in Central Luzon,” Arreza said in a statement.

The projects approved in 2008 were mostly in the tourism, manufacturing and services sectors. The biggest is that of Korean-led consortium Subic Neocove Corp., worth $175 million, involving the construction of a high-end leisure facility in Subic’s Cawag area, near the Hanjin shipyard.

Hanil E&C Subic Inc. committed to invest $11 million to put up medium- and high-rise commercial residential buildings in the area. Another $6.72 million would be infused into the free port by Sultan Ahmed Lootah Enterprises Corp. to produce corrugated cartons, sheets, rolls, paper cores, corner pads, trays and duplex boards.

The SBMA also approved an investment of $6.58 million by George Dewey Medical and Wellness Center Inc., which planned to operate a hospital, medical and nursing school, wellness center, and research center in Subic.

The other major projects approved were Hanafil Golf and Tour’s $3-million golf and tour project; Australasia Marine Alliance Corp.’s $2.32-million boats and marine-related products manufacturing; Pacific Pearl Airways Aviation School’s $2.3-million aviation technical/vocational school project; Taiwan Cogeneration Corp.’s $2-million power plant and transmission facilities; Palmgold International Ltd.’s $1.94-million project involving importation of gaming equipment and operation of a slot machine arcade, and Grand Pillar International Development Inc.’s $1.9-million real estate venture.

Foreign investments account for 90.74 percent of the total, with the bulk committed by Korean firms—61 projects worth $201.8 million. By Abigail L. Ho - Philippine Daily Inquirer

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