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Post by Jan on Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:07 pm

HK Land, Gaisano acquire a sweet spot for Mandarin hotel along seaside Cebu

Friday's announcement about Hongkong Land acquiring 20 hectares of a bayside property in Cebu has added fuel to the industry chatter that the Chinese property developer has finally found an ideal location for its sister company, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, in the Queen City of the South.

HK Land's partner in the purchase was identified as the little-known Cebu Asian Rim Property & Development Corp., which, as it turned out, is a subsidiary of the publicity-shy Gaisano mall group.

According to the grapevine, Gaisano, which had long-labored in the lower end of the market until its Metro department store venture with the Ayala Group in The Fort and Alabang, plans a mixed-use, higher-end development for the Cebu property.

The putative project, if the grapevine is correct, would take inspiration from Marina Bay and One Raffles Quay, the twin luxury development projects of Hongkong Land in Singapore.

Aside from the Mandarin Oriental in Makati, Hongkong Land also has a 40-percent stake in Ayala's Roxas Triangle twin-tower residential condos adjoining the hotel.

And parent Jardine Matheson just last year concluded a 50-percent acquisition of the Shopwise supermarket chain, subsuming the local retail chain -- formal name: Rustan Supercenters Inc. -- under the regional Wellcome supermarket group after paying the Tantocos $112 million for the partnership.

The chairman of Jardines Philippines and the local Mandarin happens to be Aloysius Colayco, but the latter said he would check first with the Hong Kong office when asked about the Mandarin chatter.

Should Mandarin finally enter Cebu, well behind the Shangri-La of the Kuoks, the luxury hotel could suffer a confusion and branding issues since there is an existing "Mandarin Plaza" hotel in downtown, a budget hotel right next to the Ayala mall.

That, as they say, is another story waiting to be told.

Win some, lose some

The Ayala Corp. has partially won its battle against Revenue Commission Kim Jacinto-Henares after the Court of Tax Appeals ruled that the Zobel holding company was entitled to P65 million in tax credit out of the P102-million overpayment that Ayala was claiming.

Ayala quietly sued the Bureau of Internal Revenue in 2011 after the revenue-challenged tax police rejected the Ayala claim that it had excessively withheld creditable taxes for the years 2008-2009 to the tune of P102 million.

Before the favorable ruling, the tax court had earlier dealt a setback to an Ayala shelf company, Michigan Holdings, which had sought to stop the Makati city government from collecting P660,000 in local business tax.

The Ayala company was this time questioning the legality of the Binay-imposed Makati Revised Revenue Code, adding that Michigan Holdings was not an operating company but was merely a recipient of passive income from stock investments.

In rejecting Michigan Holdings, the Court of Tax Appeals said the proper avenue, as provided by the Local Revenue Code, was for Ayala to file first the complaint with the Department of Justice before elevating the issue to the courts.

Curiously, the same set of justices -- Juanito Castaneda, Caesar Casanova and Amelia Cotangco-Manalastas -- issued the two, favorable and unfavorable, Ayala decisions within a couple of months.


o Former Smart chief commercial officer Danilo "Bong" Mojica has his hands full battling his former Japanese principal, DoCoMo, all the way in Guam and Northern Marianas, where Mojica has been pirated by the Delgados to run their mobile phone and internet company Island Telecommunications and Engineering against market-leader DoCoMo.

o New Philippine Veterans Bank chairman Roberto de Ocampo and president Joey Bermudez are being tested by how the bank would deal with the foreclosed properties in Cavite of fallen plastics king William Gatchalian now that his sons are very much entrenched in politics and the P.Noy administration.

Heard through the grapevine

Malacanang spokesman and former broadcaster Ricky Carandang is being tipped to head the partially-privatized RPN-9, which just underwent its nth iteration Sunday as the Solar News Channel.

If the grapevine is correct, Carandang will have his separate broadcast megaphone, just as the other Malacanang spokesman Herminio Coloma Jr. has Channel 4 under his belt.


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