Trade, investment ties growing fast between PH and UK
LONDON – A two-way street acquisition streak is markedly shaping the trade and investment relationship between the Philippines and the UK.
In the past few years alone, a number of Philippine companies have taken the leap of faith onto the UK market, signing off on acquisitions worth billions of pesos.
In October 2014 Andrew Tan made a £447 million (P31.7 billion) acquisition of Scottish whiskey brand, Whyte & Mackay–whose eponymously branded whisky holds around 3 percent of the UK market–under the Philippine-based Emperador Inc.
In November 2015, to help boost its global food portfolio, leading Philippine consumer goods group Monde Nissin Corp. acquired UK meat-substitute producer Quorn Foods, for £550 million (P38 billion).
In February earlier this year, flag-carrier Philippine Air Lines’ acquired six long-haul A350-900 Airbuses and signed a $600 million (P28 billion) order with Rolls-Royce, the renowned British car and aero-engine manufacturers, to equip each aircraft with Trent XWB engines.
PH’s leading European investors
According to the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and British Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (BCCP), bilateral trade between the two countries reaches around $1.8 billion per year.
With a net foreign direct stock of over $5 billion, Britain is considered the country’s biggest European investor.
At present, the BCCP directory shows that there are 14 British companies under negotiations to enter the Philippine market.
One company, Paywizard–a UK software and subscriber management firm–has already built a shared services office in the Philippines.
Scheduled by the UKTI and BCCP this June, Philippine trade missions will promote the country’s energy, infrastructure, food and beverage sectors to UK companies.
Strong UK interest in PH market
On May 6 the BCCP confirmed that at least 12 companies from the United Kingdom are actively looking for access to the Philippine market.
Chris Nelson, BCCP chairman, announced that existing UK companies in the Philippines remain optimistic about continuing fruitful trade and investment partnerships, regardless of a newly elected president.
“Whoever is the eventual winner, we consider that our relationship will not be affected,” said Nelson. “Regardless of the eventual outcome, we only see businesses growing and that interest is shown by the UK companies here.”
According to Nelson, over 800 member companies belonging to BCCP have “expressed interest” in expanding into the rapidly developing Philippine economy.
The sectors that UK firms hold specific interest in includes the infrastructure and power sectors – renewable energy, particularly – as well as electronics and air traffic control support markets.
Alongside their sustained interest in the Philippines, British companies are also expecting an easier business relationship with the country.
“In general, our wish list is to continue to grow and make doing business easier in the Philippines,” said Nelson.
“The Philippines is an emerging market that remains abundant with business opportunities that British companies can take advantage of, and we are here to support [them].”
Nelson added that the Philippines will be a participant in the upcoming International Festival for Business 2016, to be held in Liverpool, England. [email protected]
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