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HIDDEN AGENDA - The Philippine Star

So it’s back to the Big Apple for our flag carrier Philippine Airlines.

After 18 years, PAL is flying back to the East Coast, landing at JFK Airport located at Queens Borough. The flight to New York at 14,501 kilometers or a flying time of approximately 16.5 hours is PAL’s longest route.

According to PAL, about half a million ethnic Filipinos reside on the East Coast, with over 253,000 in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area, 90,000 in Virginia, 75,000 in Washington, D.C. and environs, and 31,000 in the Philadelphia metro area. Overall, Filipinos on the East Coast account for 15 percent of the estimated 3.4-million-strong Filipino population in the US.

PAL will fly to New York starting today (March 15) with PAL chairman Dr. Lucio C. Tan leading a high-level delegation of government and airline officials onboard the inaugural flight.

The 70-member delegation composed of PAL, tourism and civil aviation officials, as well as media guests, will leave Manila close to midnight and stop for two hours at Vancouver before heading to the US east coast.

Ceremonies at the NAIA Terminal 2, Vancouver and John F. Kennedy airports will mark the re-introduction of four-times-weekly service to the Big Apple since flights were suspended in 1997.

Flight PR126 departs Manila every Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, arriving the following day at Terminal 1 of JFK International Airport.

New York will bring to five the total US destinations, following Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and Guam.

“If I can make it there, I’m gone make it anywhere. It’s up to you, New York, New York,” goes the theme song of Martin Scorsese film that goes by the same name, which was written for and performed in the movie by Liza Minnelli. Two years later or in 1979, it was recorded and made famous by Frank Sinatra.

For the come-backing Tan group which reacquired control of PAL late last year, the ambitious New York route could be an auspicious start. After all, if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.

Problems plaguing Alliance?

Reports say leading canned tuna manufacturer Alliance Select Foods International, Inc. has been plaqued by a string of resignations in the past few months. 

The firm’s vice-president for international and domestic sales, Juan Salcedo III, reportedly resigned last Feb. 1 after being appointed to the position just two months earlier.

Last December, Alliance announced in a disclosure to the local stock exchange that it has reorganized its management team and board of directors to allow younger and more dynamic executives to address the challenge of international competition. The board appointed 46-year-old Raymond See as the new president and chief executive.

See, a former executive of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., took over the post from Alliance Select founder and incumbent president Jonathan Dee, who assumed the position of chairman of the board, replacing George Sycip.

Was it possible that Salcedo did not fit into See’s leadership style or is there more than meets the eye?

In 2013, the company suffered a net loss after tax of $2.9 million (296.89 percent lower than previous year) on gross revenues of $85.4 million which grew by three percent from 2013. And then for the January to September 30, 2014 period, Alliance Select posted a net loss after tax of $744,903 and gross revenues of $65.1 million.

In 2014, nine of Alliance’s top officials, including the CFO, VP for marketing, treasurer, and two board members resigned. A little over one year, Alliance has surprisingly gone through two corporate secretaries. Reports say no one is performing the full role of corporate secretary since the resignation of lawyer Avelino Sebastianin last December 2014.

Even Alliance’s staunch defender Rajat Balainhas resigned as VP for corporate planning, CIO, and compliance officer.  Early this year, Alliance is said to have lost its senior VP and COO.

I’m currently finishing this assignment I have (which I can’t seem to finish) with Prof. Charles Wood analyzing the earnings quality of Harnischfeger Corporation, an old case prepared by the Harvard Business School and it would be interesting to apply what I’ve learned (or what I am trying to learn) and try to find out what is going on with this company which has so much potential and yet could not seem to realize it.

The problem with financial statements and financial ratios is that they only tell you so much about the company. There is so much fixation about the income statement when what we should be really looking at is the cash flow statement. After all, many items in the income statement and balance sheet could be “managed,” but it is more difficult to that with the cash flow statement.

Existing and potential foreign investors in the Philippine tuna industry are closely following developments in Alliance as a case study on how a business could go wrong.

For comments, suggestions, and observations, you can e-mail at maryannreyesphilstar@gmail.com


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