NEWS IN BRIEF; P/$ Rate Closes at P54.18 to $1
The peso rate closed slightly higher at P54.18 to the US dollar yesterday at the Philippine Dealing System of the Bankers Association of the Philippines from P54.19 the previous day. The weighted average rate appreciated to P54.143 from P54.208. Total volume amounted to $307.87 million.
DSWD gets $2-M WB grant
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has secured a US$2 million grant from the World Bank (WB) to broaden the participation of poor and vulnerable groups. The WB extended the grant to DSWD for its Kapitbisig Laban Sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services Project (KALAHI-CIDSS). The grant, "Empowering Poor and Vulnerable Groups to Participate in the National Anti-Poverty Program," is funded from the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) administered by the World Bank. It aims to achieve its objectives by identifying constraints to the representation and active participation of the very poor and vulnerable people in the countrys poverty alleviation efforts. The grant is intended to design and pilot test programs to empower the poor and vulnerable to engage more effectively in the implementation of the governments Anti-Poverty Program. "This grant gives added meaning to pro-poor development by enabling marginalized communities and vulnerable groups to fully engage in the KALAHI-CIDSS and ensuring they are able to benefit from it," said DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman.
BoC sets P1.2-B debt notes
Bank of Commerce (BoC) is starting its roadshow presentations next week to prospective clients following the approval by the Monetary Board, the policy-making body of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), of its P1.2-billion debt notes float under the Tier 2 capital. Sources said BoC officials will commence its roadshow presentation aimed to drumbeat investors interest on its issue this Monday. The bank management is busy preparing of its roadshows after the BSP has given its go signal to float of some P1.2-billion worth of subordinated debt," sources said. Already, BoC has obtained a PRSA rating for its debt instrument from Phil Ratings, a local rating firm. It was stressed that PRSA rating one of the highest credit rating given by the local rating firm.
P3.7-B Meralco net loss seen
Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is likely to incur a net loss of P3.7 billion this year because of huge provisions for possible losses after a lower court stopped the company from raising its tariffs, ATR-Kim Eng Securities Inc. said. In a research note, ATR-Kim Eng said it expects Meralco to book total provisions of P6.5 billion this year, from P9.8 billion last year. In the first quarter of this year, provisions already reached P1.4 billion. Meralco officials earlier said the company would book more provisions to cover a possible final adverse decision on a case related to the unbundling of tariffs currently pending with the Supreme Court. "We also assumed (in the forecast) further under-recoveries in transmission charges and inter-class and lifeline subsidies," said ATR-Kim Eng analyst Laura DyLiacco. She noted that Meralcos total under-recoveries as of end-March stood at P3.4 billion, of which P1.2 billion had been booked during the first quarter. Previously, DyLiacco was looking at a net profit of P3.2 billion for Meralco in 2005. Last year, the power retailer made a net loss of P2.6 billion. But she expects Meralco to return to profitability from next year, projecting a net profit of P2.2 billion for 2006 and P6.5 billion in 2007, if the Energy Regulatory Commission approves a rate adjustment mechanism preventing the company from incurring more under-recoveries starting next year.
Export competitiveness pushed
Efforts of the government and the export sector should be directed at improving competitiveness to achieve the 10 percent growth target in merchandise export this year. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Romulo L. Neri has batted for the strengthening and addressing infrastructure bottlenecks, labor productivity, and reducing cost of power through greater competition. …