UK firms to invest in PPP projects
MANILA, Philippines - Visiting Lord Mayor of London Alderman David Wooton said three British companies engaged in mass transport systems are eyeing investments in the Philippines particularly in major infrastructure projects such as railways, airports and seaports across the country.
In a media briefing on Tuesday, Wooton identified the three business firms as Balfour Beatty, Halcrow and SKM-Colin Buchanan, which are interested in joining the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Program of the Aquino administration.
The British official was accompanied by a business delegation to explore investments opportunities in the Philippines.
He said the vast interests of British investors are in “railways, airports and ports” where British expertise is renowned.
The Lord Mayor of London met with President Aquino and key Cabinet officials including Albert del Rosario (Foreign Affairs), Gregory Domingo (Trade and Industry), Cesar Purisima (Finance) and Manuel Roxas II (Transportation and Communications).
Wooton said water management, waste disposal, sewage systems, power plants and renewable-energy sources such as solar power and biofuels are potential areas for investments in the Philippines.
“We have expertise in these areas and British companies are waiting for projects to be offered [under the PPP program],” he told reporters at Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City.
British Ambassador to the Philippines Stephen Lillie, meanwhile, said Wooton’s visit is aimed not only at offering British expertise and services but also looking into potential partnerships with Filipino companies under the PPP program.
The Lord Mayor of London serves as the head of the City of London Corporation. He is also the manager of financial centers across the United Kingdom that include Leeds, Manchester and Bristol in Britain and Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland.
Wooton said the Philippines stands to benefit from a growing regional economy in Southeast Asia along with member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). He added that maintaining stability of financial regulations and effectively managing economic and financial services are important.
Asean groups the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Britain was the largest investor in the Philippines in the last decade (1999-2009) with a combined net foreign direct and net portfolio investments worth $9.7 billion ($8.7 billion in portfolio investments and $930 million in foreign direct investments), followed by Singapore with $6.7-billion cumulative investments.
There are 200 British firms in the Philippines that are multinational companies and small and medium enterprises. Among the multinational firms are Anglo American, Shell, HSBC, BG, Standard Chartered, Pru Life and Unilever.