SBMA approves P1.5-B new investments in 1 Qtr.
Subic Bay Freeport (4 June) -- The global business outlook this year may be bleak, but officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) are counting on this free port's strong domestic base to further economic growth during the global financial crisis.
According to SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza, the agency signed up a total of 30 new projects worth P1.5 billion for the first quarter this year, topping by 13.6 percent the recorded volume of new investments in the same period last year.
The new projects brought to 966 the total number of registered investors here, Arreza said during the mass contract signing held at the Subic Gateway Park here.
Some 580 workers are expected to be employed by the newly-registered Subic companies, he added.
With the continued influx of investments here despite the global economic slowdown, Arreza said the SBMA is optimistic that Subic will weather the current crisis.
"A 13.6 percent growth despite this global crisis indicates that the Subic Bay Freeport has achieved an excellent level of economic resiliency," said Arreza.
This is because the SBMA "has created a self-sustaining business environment for the Subic Bay Freeport, which, through the years, was directed towards various industries that require less, if not total dependence, on foreign markets," he added.
Arreza also pointed out that tourism has become a major economic driver for Subic Bay, and that the growing support industries for this sector, such as hotel construction, keep the local economy afloat.
He added that the maritime industry here still has a lot to offer, as proved by Filipino-owned Tountzis Shipping Inc. that committed a P975.3 million investment, the biggest among the investment projects approved in the first quarter this year.
According to Stef Saņo, the SBMA senior deputy administrator for business, the biggest projects proposed by new Subic investors are related to the maritime and logistics industries.
Aside from Tountzis Shipping, which will engage in the buy-and-sell of shipping vessels and in other shipping services like logistics and warehousing, two other big investments are in maritime and logistics.
These are the 7,107 Islands Shipping Corp., which has made the Subic Bay Freeport as its home port, committing P201 million for its cruise ship operations; and Eastern Subic Fuel Depot Corp, which committed P50.8 million for the establishment of gasoline stations and retail outlets for petroleum products.
Saņo also identified the other new investor-firms sharing the top ten list as: Subic Mobymix Concrete Industries Trading, Inc., which will invest P49.7 million for the production and supply of ready-mix concrete products, warehousing, import/export and trading of construction materials, equipment and machinery; R.A. Geigl Realty Construction Corp., P41 million, for the development of housing facilities; and Westcoast Automotive Corp., P39 million, for the sale and distribution of motor vehicles, spare parts, accessories and other related products, as well as repair, maintenance, and leasing of vehicles.
Also among the biggest projects are: HYS-Yacht Phils. Ltd. Co., P36.1 million, for the construction, development and operation of a marina restaurant, resort operation and yacht restoration facilities; Fuso Kasei Philippines Inc., P30.1 million, for the manufacturing of plastic products; Hankook Networks Philippines Corporation, P19.3 million; and Bongture Corporation, P18.2 million, for real estate development, subleasing, management and marketing operations. (PIA-Zambales) [top]