The new Marcos administration continues its predecessor’s economic orientation of promoting infrastructure as a means to achieve economic growth. Thus, the demand for heavy equipment and industrial vehicles should remain robust in the coming years.
This is good news for the local automotive industry which sells both new and used equipment. In particular, used heavy equipment from Japan has been a big deal for players based in the Subic Bay Freeport.
But there’s a new player in town shaking up the industry and raising eyebrows among more established players.
Biz Buzz learns that the recently inaugurated company has its equipment fleet in Lubao, Pampanga, which of course is not a problem. What worries other players is that second-hand gear from Japan is apparently brought to the Philippines through the most unlikely port: the southernmost port in Zamboanga City…and then shipped north to Luzon.
Rivals wonder how a deal like this can stay competitive in this fierce market. And the new guys seem to be full of money. How will the landscape change with this new player shaking things up? Abagan!
—Daxim L. Lucas
The Misfortunes of University Drive
The resumption of in-person classes is causing traffic complications not seen in the past two years, particularly along roads leading to schools whose students are neither carpooling nor in the public utility vehicle crowd.
A silent battle for access to University Parkway Drive at BGC is being waged by stakeholders from some nearby schools. In particular, parents and guardians at Everest Academy – a relatively smaller school than the neighboring International School of Manila (ISM) or British School Manila, but whose students are also scions of wealthy families – are shocked. experience wait times of at least 40 minutes up to an hour and a half just to enter campus to pick up their children.
One cannot miss the queue of cars in the surrounding streets every day of the week since the start of in-person classes. One commenter estimated that Everest has 23 children per section, with two sections per primary and secondary level, and that these students likely have their own car on a 1:1 basis. Along with having too many cars that need to enter its campus, Everest has had to implement COVID-19 protocols that have inevitably slowed the flow of traffic even further.
Some Everest parents think their suffering could be eased by having better access to University Drive, but they lament that nearby ISM has historically not let cars from other schools near their campus. Some complained to the local government but could not obtain the sympathy of the town hall, according to our sources.
If nearby schools are generous enough to share University Parkway, these parents feel their pick-up situation could be alleviated.
Recently, Everest came up with a new system for scheduling outings by grade level for specific days of the week. The new system requires student drop-off and pick-up to be in batches of 12 cars for primary schools and 16 cars for senior schools.
Everest parents hope the new system, which goes into effect today, will help reduce the otherwise arduous wait time for their children to reach campus. Otherwise, they wish and hope that the local government would finally intervene.
Balai Pandesal, the bakery arm of food kiosk king Lester Yu’s new Balai Ni Fruitas, seems to go a long way, starting where its customers are.
Now investors know of his aggressive strategy to grow to 200 stores in four years from 38 branches last June.
But in a recent chat with Biz Buzz, Yu shared more details about his plans for expansion, which would involve working even closer with other popular Stands within his group.
A bakery chain that expands to where the customers reside is not a new concept. Yu, however, is taking it a step further by integrating other products from its mall kiosks, primarily under its other listed company, Fruitas Holdings, into Balai stores.
At one of these Balai branches that we visited, a customer can purchase bread or pastries made by De Original Jamaican Pattie Shop.
Take a few steps through a separate door and you’ll find a mini grocery store selling essential home groceries, chilled juices, and soy milk, all from Yu’s companies or third-party vendors.
It looks like Yu is building a one-stop retail empire, but he shares that it’s still about Balai Pandesal and bread for now.
Balai Pandesal, meanwhile, continues to expand after recently opening its first store in Cebu City. This also marks its entry into the Visayas region.
Yu plans to continue this integrated business model, which would no doubt be strengthened when regular in-person classes resume. So far, the market likes what it’s seeing, with shares of Balai trading more than 21% above its initial public offering price after a recent rally.
—Miguel R. Camus INQ
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