The country’s coal industry produced some 7.6 million metric tons last year, up 21% from the 6.3m MT produced in 2010, on the back strong demand from local power firms and the cement industry, and for export to China and Thailand. However, despite the increase in local production, coal imports are still larger. Last year, total imports reached 11m MT. 95% of the country’s total coal output came from Semirara Island in Antique.

PAL Holdings, Inc. (PAL) boss Lucio Tan confirmed reports that he is talking to both Ramon Ang of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and Manny Pangilinan of PLDT for the possible sale of Philippine Airlines. The business tycoon said the talks are informal and still at the early stages and he has not even decided how much he’s looking to unload his stake in the airline. SMC and TEL/ MPI comes out as the top contenders who may be interested in PAL given their current rapid diversification spree in various industries. Lucio Tan meanwhile could be planning to let go of the airline after continuous losses and nagging labor problems. Trading Buy.


Belle Corp. (BEL) said the development of its Belle Grande hotel and casino complex on the Manila Bay reclamation area is on schedule. It recently completed the topping-off of its six hotel towers and will soon begin piling works on its entertainment center. The six hotel towers will offer more than 800 rooms, on top of a 17,000 square meter floor area of casino and more than 20,000 sq.m. of restaurants and retail shops. BEL is committed to invest up to US$1.0 billion for the whole project. It is expected to open 1Q13. Long-term Buy.


Universal Robina Corp. (URC) is planning to spend PhP5.2bn for capital expenditures for fiscal year 2012, higher than the PhP4.6bn capex from 2011. The company plans to concentrate on expanding its branded consumer food operations in the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Part of the planned capex will also go to URC’s commodity and agro-industrial groups for expansion and maintenance. The company aims to increase its international business operations and contribute revenues of up to US$450m, or almost equal its Philippine sales. At PhP50.60, URC is trading at 14.7x 2012E PER, a 26% discount to the food sector’s 19.6x multiple. Long-term


 SOURCE: PSE, Philstock, Manila Bulletin