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Manulife Announces Structural and Leadership Changes

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Manulife announced a number of important structural and leadership changes to drive better alignment with its strategic priorities, accelerate the Company’s growth, optimize legacy blocks of business in North America and leverage Manulife’s talent across geographies.

“We are confident that the changes we are making today will enable us to achieve our significant potential and deliver on our purpose of helping customers achieve their dreams and aspirations,” said Roy Gori, Manulife’s President and incoming Chief Executive Officer. “Importantly, they showcase the bench strength of Manulife’s senior leadership team, and position us strongly as we accelerate our transformation.”

Global Wealth and Asset Management

First, Manulife is creating stronger global alignment and direct accountability for all of its wealth and asset management businesses by bringing them together into a primary reporting segment, Global Wealth and Asset Management. This will enable the Company to capture significant market opportunities and take greater advantage of its global scale and talent, while further leveraging its deep local expertise and execution strength.

Paul Lorentz has been appointed Head, Global Wealth and Asset Management. Mr. Lorentz joined Manulife in 1993 and has delivered outstanding results across a variety of senior roles in the Company’s wealth and insurance businesses. His appointment is effective October 1, 2017, and he will report to Warren Thomson, Manulife’s Chief Investment Officer. Mr. Lorentz will join Manulife’s Executive Committee. Kai Sotorp, Head, Global Wealth and Asset Management, has decided to retire. Mr. Sotorp joined Manulife in 2014 and has had a significant impact on the Company’s asset management business, helping scale and grow its capabilities around the world. He will work with Mr. Lorentz over the next three months to help ensure a smooth transition.

North American Legacy Business

Second, Manulife has created a dedicated senior leadership role with direct responsibility for Manulife’s closed legacy businesses in North America. These important operations include the Company’s legacy annuity business, long-term care insurance and select long-duration, guaranteed insurance products. Manulife has a stated objective to improve returns in its legacy businesses, and the creation of this new role will enable it to more aggressively pursue this opportunity with stronger accountability and focus on in-force management, cost efficiencies and leveraging scale, as well as potential strategic transactions for these businesses where it makes sense.

Naveed Irshad has been appointed Head, North America Legacy Business, effective January 1, 2018. Mr. Irshad currently serves as the CEO of Manulife Singapore and his career with Manulife spans 20 years, and includes extensive life insurance, product risk and reinsurance experience. He has worked in the U.S. and Canada, in addition to transforming Manulife’s Singapore business. Mr. Irshad will report jointly to the heads of Manulife’s U.S. and Canadian businesses and will join Manulife’s Executive Committee.

Manulife also announced several key leadership appointments to drive its ongoing growth and leverage talent across its businesses.

Manulife Asia

Anil Wadhwani has been appointed President and CEO of Manulife Asia, effective November 13, 2017. Mr. Wadhwani is a global financial services leader who has spent his 25-year career with Citi, primarily in growth roles across consumer banking in Asia, with a focus on customer experience and digitization. He has extensive wealth management and insurance distribution experience, and most recently served as the global head of operations for Citi’s consumer bank, based in New York. He has lived and worked in Asia, Europe and the U.S. This global perspective, and the varied leadership roles he has performed, will be valuable as Manulife Asia embarks on its next stage of growth.

John Hancock

Marianne Harrison has been appointed President and CEO of John Hancock, Manulife’s U.S. business, effective October 1, 2017. Ms. Harrison currently serves as President and CEO of Manulife Canada, where she has focused the business around the holistic needs of customers and successfully led the acquisition and integration of Standard Life’s Canadian operations. As part of her three decades in the financial services industry, she also spent almost five years leading Manulife’s U.S. long-term care business, which provides her with unique insight into the opportunities and challenges the Company faces in the U.S. market.

Manulife Canada

Michael Doughty has been appointed President and CEO of Manulife Canada, also effective October 1, 2017. Mr. Doughty has served as the interim President and CEO of John Hancock since May, and, prior to that, led John Hancock Insurance. Under his leadership, John Hancock launched the innovative Vitality offering in the U.S. and initiated the transformation of its approach to insurance. Mr. Doughty, who joined Manulife in 1992, has also held senior positions in Manulife’s Canadian insurance and pensions businesses.

Finance and Actuarial Functions

Steve Roder, Manulife’s Chief Financial Officer, has decided to retire for personal reasons, effective December 31, 2017. Mr. Roder has made a significant impact on the Company, leading the transformation of its finance function, deepening its relationships with investors and analysts, bringing a stronger global focus to Manulife and contributing meaningfully to a number of strategic partnerships and acquisitions.

Philip Witherington, currently the interim President and CEO of Manulife Asia, has been appointed Manulife’s Chief Financial Officer, effective January 1, 2018, subject to immigration approvals. Before taking his current role, Mr. Witherington served as Manulife Asia’s CFO since 2014, contributing significantly to its growth and financial performance and working to improve its competitive position. Prior to joining Manulife, Mr. Witherington was the Asia-Pacific head of finance for retail banking and wealth management at HSBC. He also held finance roles at AIA, and prior to that he was a financial services specialist at KPMG. Mr. Roder will work with Mr. Witherington to ensure a smooth transition.

Manulife has also made the decision to elevate the role of Chief Actuary to reflect the importance of this function to the Company’s success. As a result, Steven Finch, Manulife’s Chief Actuary, will report directly to Mr. Gori effective January 1, 2018.

“I welcome these leaders to their new roles, and look forward to seeing the impact they will have on our teams and our business,” Mr. Gori said. “I would also like to thank Steve Roder and Kai Sotorp for their many contributions to the Company, and wish them all the best in retirement.”

“Manulife is embarking on a transformational journey and today’s announcement marks a very significant and positive step in this regard,” said Donald Guloien, Manulife’s retiring Chief Executive Officer.

“Today marks a culmination of a significant amount of hard work and complex planning, and I would like to thank Roy and his team for the leadership they have provided to the Company throughout this process,” said Richard DeWolfe, Chairman of the Board. “The Board is confident that these changes will help Manulife deliver strong financial results and create significant shareholder value.”

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Cebu Landmasters Ends 2017 With Record P4.58-B Reservation Sales, Plans 20 New Developments in 2018

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Homegrown property developer Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI) finished the year 2017 with P4.58 billion in total reservation sales, exceeding its target by 13.75 percent and beating the 2016 result by 55.6 percent.

CLI attributed its exceptional performance mainly to newly launched residential projects: 38 Park Avenue (Cebu IT Park) with 745 units, Casa Mira South (Cebu) with 3,200 units, Mivesa Garden Residences (Cebu) with 1,514 units, Mesaverte (Cagayan de Oro) with 798 units, and the 694-unit MesaTierra (Davao City). These projects are now almost fully sold.

The listed company said its sales performance is resounding affirmation that its products respond to the needs of the market and are distributed strategically to the areas where demand is strongest.

“All the projects we launched were well-received by their respective markets making 2017 another banner year,” said CLI chief executive officer Jose Soberano III referring to the firm’s efforts to penetrate new markets such as Davao and Dumaguete and to diversify its products.

The past year saw CLI aggressively venturing into the hospitality industry to increase its inventory to a total of 610 rooms in four years. All CLI hotel projects are located within company-developed mixed-use communities. The 180-room “lyf Cebu City” by Ascott targeting millennial travelers and the 250-room Citadines Riverside Davao were launched in late 2017. They will complement Citadines Cebu City set for completion in 2018. More hotel projects are expected to break ground in 2018.

Cebu Landmasters is confident it will gain even greater momentum this year. The company has targeted reservations sales to hit P7 billion this2018, a massive 52-percent hike from the previous year, as it starts more projects and expands to more territories in Visayas-Mindanao growth centers.

The array of new developments planned for the year include 10 in Cebu (two residential subdivisions, three residential condominiums, three offices, one hotel and one industrial park). Details of these projects will be revealed in the coming months.

CLI has also set its sights on two new territories in the Visayas. Bacolod will play host to two residential condominiums and a hotel, while a residential condo is planned for neighboring Iloilo. Reports from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) show that the Visayas region will zoom ahead of other regions in the next five years and is expected to outpace the projected 7 to 8 percent growth for the Philippines.

The listed property developer also plans to fortify its foothold in Mindanao where it will launch two residential subdivisions and one residential condominium in Cagayan de Oro while a central business district and two residential condominiums will be unveiled in Davao. NEDA reports that in terms of economic growth, Davao ranks third among 18 regions in the country.

The upcoming projects boost CLI’s total number of projects to 66 from 46 last year, as it continues to strengthen its brand in its niche markets. The company’s residential condominiums are mostly designed for the mid-market segment, although it also offers condos for the high-end market.

“In 2018, we will continue to expand our footprint in the Visayas and Mindanao, and develop projects that respond to the growing market in these areas,” said Soberano who is confident CLI will meet its performance targets set for the year and beyond.

It expects that hikes in household income resulting from the newly approved package 1 of the Duterte government’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) will be channeled to housing.

Studies (TUCP, 2010) have also shown that around 2 to 2.1 percent of OFW remittances are channeled to housing. Total remittances in 2017 were seen to hit US$33 billion (World Bank, 2017). This means that at least US$693 million or about P35 billion would be used for shelter requirements.

CLI also expects that government spending in infrastructure will unlock land values outside Metro Manila and stimulate business in the countryside as the Duterte administration pushes for investments outside of the country’s capital.

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Ferrero to Acquire Nestle’s U.S. Confectionary Business

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Image Source: greatist.com; logo from Vectorlogo4u.com

The Ferrero Group and its affiliated companies (“Ferrero”), a global confectionary group, announced a definitive agreement pursuant to which it will acquire the U.S. confectionary business from Nestle for $2.8 billion in cash. Nestle’s U.S. confectionary business generated sales of approximately $900 million in 2016.

Ferrero will acquire more than 20 American brands with a rich heritage and strong awareness, including iconic chocolate brands such as Butterfinger®, BabyRuth®, 100Grand®, Raisinets®, Wonka® and the exclusive right to the Crunch® brand for confectionary and certain categories in the U.S., as well as sugar brands such as SweeTarts®, LaffyTaffy®, and Nerds®.

With this transaction, Ferrero will become the third-largest confectionary company in the U.S. market where it is best known for Tic Tac® breath mints, Ferrero Rocher® pralines, Nutella® hazelnut spreads, the Fannie May and Harry London chocolate brands, and the Ferrara Candy Company, which was recently acquired by a Ferrero affiliated company and whose portfolio of brands includes Trolli®, Brach’s® and Black Forest® Gummies.

Ferrero will acquire Nestle’s U.S. manufacturing facilities in Bloomington, Franklin Park and Itasca, Illinois, and the confectionary-related employees, and will continue to operate through the offices in Glendale, California, as well as from its other current locations in Illinois and in New Jersey.

Giovanni Ferrero, Executive Chairman of the Ferrero Group, said, “We are very excited about the acquisition of Nestle’s U.S. confectionary business, which has an outstanding portfolio of iconic brands with rich histories and tremendous awareness. In combination with Ferrero’s existing U.S. presence, including the recently acquired Fannie May Confections Brands and the Ferrara Candy Company, we will have substantially greater scale, a broader offering of high-quality products to customers across the chocolate snack, sugar confectionary and seasonal categories, and exciting new growth opportunities in the world’s largest confectionary market. We look forward to welcoming the talented team from Nestle to Ferrero and to continuing to invest in and grow all of our products and brands in this key strategic and attractive market.”

“Our commitment to deliver value to the North American consumers and customers will be strongly enhanced by the arrival in our portfolio of such powerful confectionary and chocolate brands,” said Lapo Civiletti, CEO of the Ferrero Group.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals and is expected to close around the end of the first quarter of 2018.

Credit Suisse Securities, Davis Polk and Wardwell LLP and Lazard served as advisors to Ferrero. (Ferrero)

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Globe myBusiness Helps SMEs Become Future Proof

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Participants of the Globe myBusiness workshop for Boracay SMEs

Globe myBusiness has brought its valuable expertise and tried-and-tested products and solutions to the country’s favorite tourist destination, Boracay, to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) become future-proof.

The workshop, dubbed as Globe myBusiness Digital Tools to Future-Proof Your Business, centered on the most prominent industries currently flourishing in Boracay such as tourism, hotels and accommodations, restaurants and food establishments, and retail.

In the four-day event, entrepreneurs, managers and various other staff members from all over the island were able to pick up a wealth of knowledge that allowed them to better understand technology and what it can do for them.

Derrick Heng, Senior Advisor for Globe myBusiness said: “Employing technology in business isn’t instantaneous. Rather, it’s a step-by-step process. It may take years for a business to fully maximize its digital potential, but the results are definitely worth the challenge. Globe myBusiness is here to assist entrepreneurs every step of the way.”

As a first takeaway from the workshop, the participants learned about the importance of social media which is the simplest way to use technology for business. Through social media, entrepreneurs can spread word about their business, get feedback, and contact their clients or customers in the blink of an eye.

“Digital marketing was the most important lesson for me, that you really need to make the most out of it through social media,” said Lourdes A. Ramirez of Secret Garden Boracay.

June Myrrh Dueñas and Dane Aldeguer of Isla Chicas Travel Consultancy added: “We understand that everything’s online, and everything’s on mobile phones, and we need to be a part of everything that’s happening. We have to grow with the changes, with technology.”

At the same time, Globe myBusiness educated the participants about different business solutions that can help them sell online such as Shopify; boost efficiency through the Gsuite online suite of productivity tools that can be used anywhere and on any device; and advertise their business like the Adblast targeted texts to consumers, among others.

“The workshop was very helpful for me. The things discussed were added nutrients for what I need for my business, like customer advocacy, offline tools, online tools … they’re very helpful because I discovered what else I need in order to improve the business,” said Jeyna Azugi of Team Sir George Salon.

Digital technology, however, has to be embraced not only by the decision-makers but the whole team for it to make a bigger impact.

“We learned a lot that could help us with our future plans for the business. We are most interested in the concept of GCash. Our consideration now is how we’ll train our employees, because they’re already doing things a certain way, so it’ll be a [challenge] helping them adapt to technology,” said Flory Jhen and Flory Vhel Alvarez of Shinyou.

However, technology only emphasizes what business owners already know and live by, that it is quality that still gets the customer. Thus, technology has to work side by side with current sales, service and marketing strategies in order for it to work.

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Capiz to Push Native Chicken Raising

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Native chicken production will be introduced by the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) this year as a provincial government initiative designed particularly to provide livelihood opportunity to identified island and hinterland residents.

This was disclosed by Gov. Antonio A. Del Rosario in a Jan. 9 meeting of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council ,noting that the livelihood project in support to food security will be an alternative source of income among the farmers.

“Poultry and livestock are less prone to calamities that’s why only insignificant damages to animals were monitored,” Del Rosario noted during the PDRRMC meeting, referring to the effects of tropical depression Agaton in the province.

For his part, PVO chief Dr. Leonel Abordo said that a supplier from Panay Island is being contracted for the project that will initially supply about a thousand heads of two – month old chicks to would – be beneficiaries.

“We opted for native chicken because of its resistance to diseases and possibility of being raised organically,” he said.

The project is also aligned with the Philippine Rural Development Project which identified the province as suitable for chicken production.

It will be rolled out to about 300 farmers who will each receive a set of two young hens and a roster when the chicken will be made available by the supplier, Abordo noted. (JSC/AAL/PIA6 Capiz)

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