Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

South Korean firms dominate Subic Bay's investment portfolio

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT - South Korean companies continue to dominate the investment portfolio of the Subic Bay Freeport zone, pledging some US$198.8 during the first eight months of the year, cementing their position as the top investors in the freeport.

Figures released by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) on Tuesday show that 46 South Korean firms committed some 85% of the US$232.6 million investment pledges.

A far second, 67 Filipino projects will infuse about US$10 million. Rounding off the top five are Taiwanese, Malaysian and Pakistani firms that are putting up US$2.9 million, US$ 2 million and US$800,000, respectively.

“Most of these Korean companies are either suppliers or subcontractors of Hanjin, and some are property developers that also target the growing Korean community not only in Subic, but in other parts of the country," said SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza.

To date, South Korean shipbuilding giant Hanjin Heavy Industries Corporation-Philippines (HHIC-Phils) is the biggest investor, promising to put up some US$1.6 billion until 2010.

“Subic’s biggest new investor so far this year, the Subic Neocove Corp., is also a Korean company which intends to develop a resort to cater mostly to Korean expatriates," Arreza said.

Last year, Koreans were on the number one rank with $993 million worth of investments, followed by Filipinos with $355 million, and Taiwanese with $222 million. In 2006, Korean companies put up a total of $1.36 billion, followed by Filipinos with $57 million, and Taiwanese with $9.8 million.

Among the nationalities that put up new investments here this year are the Japanese, American, Norwegian, Australian, British, Singaporean and Canadian.

“Of course, Subic has a good mix of nationalities, who have been part of the local business community since the freeport was established in 1992," Arreza said.

SBMA's investment department records show that from January to August this year, foreign direct investments composed the bulk of fresh capital infusions in Subic with a total of $208.8 million.

In the same period, the SBMA approved a total of 130 projects, with projected employment of 5,177, pushing the number of approved projects to 1,103, with committed investments totaling $5.73 billion. - JOHN BAYARONG, GMANews.TV

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