POSTSCRIPT / August 23, 2001 / Thursday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Readers drub senators for harassing witnesses

LET’S change the subject for a while from blah-blah politics to something more substantial, namely business. Here’s a roundup of business notes from sources and disclosures.

GOKONGWEI REVIEW: John Gokongwei, patriarch of JG Summit, wants to make sure that all is well in the Gokongwei empire when he retires by end of 2001. To make sure the group continues to be a focused, lean and mean organization, he has commissioned McKinsey, the No. 1 management consulting outfit in the US.

The findings of the 12-month organizational review by McKinsey will be presented to the JG Summit executive committee composed of John Gokongwei, his brothers James and Johnson, and his son Lance.

McKinsey has pedigree. It is based in Boston, and for a long time hired only Harvard School of Business graduates. Most of their consultants who do consulting work for Fortune 500 companies usually end up as chief executive officer of those companies.

A notable example is Lou Gerstner, who for a long time was a senior consultant for McKinsey and one of whose major clients was IBM. Gerstner is now CEO of IBM, and is credited for the dramatic turnaround of the company.

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McDO vs JOLLIBEE: The war between McDonald’s and Jollibee is expected to escalate shortly. In preparation, McDonald’s top brass led by Jim Skinner, CEO for McDonald’s Europe and Asia Pacific, arrived recently.

Skinner announced, along with George Yang, master franchisee of McDonald’s Phils., that they have earmarked P3.5 billion to fund McDonald’s aggressive expansion in the country.

Jollibee holds 3/4 share of the Philippine fast-food market. This is the only place in the world where McDonald’s is being beaten in their own game of selling burgers, french fries, and Coke.

McDonald’s Phils. has about 200 outlets, only half of what Jollibee has. Every year, Jollibee opens about 30 new outlets. Adding the outlets of Jollibee subsidiaries, such as ChowKing, Greenwich, and Delifrance, their total number of outlets would hit 800.

Jollibee operates in 28 countries throughout the world.

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NOKIA DEAL: Samsung, one of the export powerhouses of South Korea, has bagged a huge deal to supply RD RAM (Random Access Memory) chips to Nokia exclusively. Nokia is No. 1 in the local cellphone market.

Samsung is a leader when it comes to RD RAM chips, known as Rambus in the US, which are said to be more powerful than old-technology SD RAM. The more powerful Rambus chips are being used by Nokia whose phones are now performing more varied and complicated tasks.

Samsung and Nokia have estimated that the total demand for RD RAM chips is about 300 million units per year. Samsung plans to sell the chips to Nokia for about $8 per unit.

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BPI GETS DBS PHILS.: Bank of the Philippine Islands which is No. 2 in the country, has completed its acquisition of DBS Phils. for P1.6 billion. DBS Phils. is owned by Singapore-based DBS and Luke Roxas, owner of ASB Land. Roxas is estimated to get about P800 million from the deal.

BPI made the purchase through its consumer banking subsidiary BPI Family, which will be upgraded from a thrift bank with the acquisition of DBS Phils. into a full-scale commercial bank using a commercial banking license of DBS Phils.

But Aurelio Montinola III, president of BPI Family, said the bank would still continue to focus on consumer banking.

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SINGAPORE RECESSION: DBS is no longer No. 1 in Singapore although it was for a long time the largest bank in Singapore and in Southeast Asia, not counting Japan. It lost the top slot to United Overseas Bank (UOB) after the bank acquired a controlling 83 percent of Overseas Union Bank (OUB).

Singapore government leaders, by the way, have warned its citizens that the city state’s economy could contract for the third quarter in a row. The economy of Singapore is technically already in a recession because of negative growth for two consecutive quarters.

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ADVENTURE LEADS: For the first time in the history of AUV sales in the Philippines, the Toyota Revo is no longer No. 1. Sales figures as of last July show that the top slot has been taken by the Mitsubishi Adventure, which sold 1,726 units compared to Toyota Revo’s 1,702.

The Revo had been the best seller until the newly designed and flashier Mitsubishi Adventure came out. Apparently, the consuming public preferred the Adventure’s looking more like an SUV than an AUV.

In the third slot is Isuzu, whose sales are boosted by an all-new model called the Highlander Crosswind. Both the Adventure and the Highlander Crosswind are all-new models, unlike the Toyota Revo.

In passenger car sales, the top slot belongs to the historical leader Honda.

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INFOTECH NOTES: Hard disks of computers are getting bigger-capacity and faster, and their prices have not gone up. With the peso gaining against the US dollar (P51=$1 yesterday), there could even be a dip in prices soon.

If you’re getting disk-full error messages, your computer appears to be slowing down and you have had to remove some of your files and software to create space for new materials, it’s time to get a new hard disk.

Your old hard disk need not be wasted when you install a new one. What you can do is make the new and bigger disk the main master drive, while emptying and reformatting the old one and making it a backup slave drive.

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CHECK PRICES: We verified yesterday the prices of hard disks. Check these: Quantum 40gb, P5,500; IBM 20gb 7200 rpm, P4,900; Maxtor 15 gb 5400 rpm, P3,850; Maxtor 20gb 7200 rpm, P4,900; Maxtor 40gb, P5,800; Seagate 15gb 7200 rpm, P4,500; Seagate 40gb ATA100, P5,400; and Seagate 30gb 7200 rpm, P6,000.

Computer stores that have lower prices are encouraged to send their price lists to us.

The guideline is for users to buy the biggest and fastest hard disk that they can afford. With software now getting bigger, more space is continually being needed. Get the bigger disk and be ahead.

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KEEP OLD DISK: After the new hard disk is set up as master on drive C, install into it your Windows or whatever is your operating system. The old hard disk will be pushed down as drive D (slave drive), but with its contents still intact.

Using any of several means, copy or transfer your important files from the old disk (now relegated as drive D) to C (the new hard disk), and you’re back in business.

Having moved the contents to the new drive C, you can proceed to delete or uninstall the same (now duplicate) contents still in the old disk (D). To make sure the old disk is clean and ready for use, it’s better to reformat it.

The old disk, now clean as new, can be used as your backup for keeping or backing up important files and software in case anything should happen to your new drive C. You can also copy to it useful CDs and thereby avoid having to look for the CDs when you need them.

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POSTSCRIPT POLL: The Senate got a good drubbing in the heavy first wave of responses to our survey of readers’ opinion about the Senate hearing last Friday on drug trafficking and money laundering.

Seven out of every 10 responding readers said the senators who gave witnesses AFP intelligence chief Col. Victor Corpus and ex-police agent Ador Mawanay a hard time must be themselves hiding something in their “political closets” that they were afraid the inquiry might force into the open.

The early respondents were mostly from the US and the Middle East who keep abreast of developments here via the Internet. Nine out of every 10 were male.

We will give the poll results on Sunday.

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YOUR OPINION: Those who want their opinion counted can still catch up. Please choose from the list below what you think is/are the reason(s) why the senators came down hard on the witnesses and ordered Mawanay detained in a Senate room:

  1. They (some of the senators) expected a carpetbombing from Corpus and Mawanay and so had to defend themselves by taking the offensive.
  2. They feared Corpus, whose dossier-gathering includes even senators.
  3. They wanted to protect Lacson because he is one of the boys.
  4. They have some drug lord friends in their closets.
  5. They themselves have substantial dollar deposits abroad.
  6. Other reasons (please explain).

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HOW TO SEND: For easier verification, respondents are requested to give their real names and addresses and not hide themselves. We also need their age, sex and location (not for publication) for statistical purposes.

If responding by email, please type Senate Poll on the subject line. Our computer automatically shunts to a separate folder all email with that subject. The email not bearing the subject Senate Poll get mixed with the rest of our bulky email.

If sending a response by snail mail or by hand, also write Senate Poll on the envelope. Keep the explanation of your choice within 50 words only. We reserve the right to edit messages.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of August 23, 2001)

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