British companies eyeball Davao for expansion
LONDON — Following a trade and investment mission organized by the British Chamber of Commerce Philippines (BBCP) to Davao in March, a number of UK firms have begun making plans for expansion in Davao City, with two firms already having set up shop.
Returning to the Philippines in July for the Davao Investment Conference 2017, BCCP executive chairman Chris Nelson said that seven British companies showed a keen interest, focused particularly on sectors including cosmetics, water waste, water technology, software products, auto lubricants and medical devices.
Nelson also mentioned that 37 other firms are studying investment plans, specifically in the agribusiness, IT and communication technology sectors.
“We are developing trade and investments between UK and the Philippines and we are happy to be in Davao. It is one of the reasons why we came here today (to the conference), to get an update and to listen to the plans. I also came here to support the Davao Chamber in this event and also to update our members of what are the plans for Davao and Mindanao.”
These UK companies are analyzing long term business prospects in the country, looking beyond the expected period of Martial Law in Mindanao, which was extended by Congress until the end of the year.
Nelson noted security issues that British investors could face, but emphasized the advantages of having existing potential partners in the Davao market.
“Of course, [these companies] will be guided by issues on security,” acknowledged Nelson. “But when you look at it, business is a long-term prospect. And I think what people are looking at is, what is my long-term business prospect in the Philippines? What do I need to do?”
“In any country, there will be short-term issues. Therefore, I think, companies are looking at developments for the long-term,” he added. “We’re all sympathetic to Marawi and we hope that the conflict will end as soon as possible […] and we hope martial law is a short-term issue.”
Nelson further announced that within two months of the trade mission, two British companies had opened for business in Davao.
“We have two companies that actually did business from the mission,” said Nelson. “And the reason why we came back [is because] we wish to follow up and build partnership.”
Edinburgh-based SeaGard, a marine asset monitoring and protection service company, has signed up for business.
YLF Contracts and Costs Solutions Inc., an engineering consultancy firm with an existing presence in Manila, has established a Davao office.
The BCCP is currently assisting other UK companies for Davao market entry, including R&B Distillers (whiskey), PayWizard (software), Foster & Freeman (forensic science equipment), Yllume (skincare) and Symphony Environmental Technologies Plc (plastics).
Although the financial implications of Brexit remain uncertain for the UK, the BCCP clearly views the Philippines as a solid investment area and is active in its mission to strengthen Philippine trade partnerships.– @melissalegarda
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