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Traslacion 2024: PNP eyes cell phone signal jammers

1. SP New Energy [SPNEC 1.34, up 1.5%; 478% avgVol] [link] confirmed reports that it has “broken ground” on the 3 .5 GW Terra Solar Philippines project. SPNEC said that it has started clearing the 3,500-hectare site in preparation to have the first phase of development operational by Q1/26.

MB quick take: This is the crown jewel of MVP’s SPNEC spoils. Sure, the first quarter of 2026 sounds like a long time from now, but then again, just remember that today is the first week of 2024. That’s wild. This project is also gargantuan, so while it’s not like all 3.5 GW of capacity will come online in early 2026, SPNEC shareholders will not need to wait too long for this project to throw off some income. One of the main benefits of solar is how quickly a site can be pushed through the construction phases to commercial operation.

2. Jollibee [JFC 255.00, up 1.4%; 71% avgVol] [link] is pushing an additional $100 million into its Tim Ho Wan holding fund, Titan Dining LP. This will increase the fund’s size to $450 million. At the same time, Jollibee Worldwide Pte Ltd (JWPL), a subsidiary of JFC, will purchase an additional 2% stake in Titan Dining LP from another limited partner to increase JWPL’s stake in Titan Dining LP from 90% to 92%.

MB quick take: These moves are to support JFC’s “aggressive” expansion of the Tim Ho Wan brand in Mainland China, from 19 restaurants today to “100 restaurant outlets in the middle term.” It’s clear that JFC considers this brand to be a pillar of its non-PH growth plan, but it will be interesting to see how Chinese consumers react to the brand outside of Shanghai where the vast majority of the current locations reside. If successful, though, these are the kinds of moves that a company like JFC would need to make in order to keep growing.

3. Global Ferronickel Holdings [FNI 2.07, up 0.5%; 4% avgVol] [link] said that its subsidiaries signed a sale and purchase agreement with China’s Baosteel Resources International (BRI) for the supply of 1.5 million wet metric tons (WMT) of nickel ore for 2024. Price of the ore will be determined monthly based on market rates. FNI has a “long history” with BRI going back “almost 10 years”.

MB quick take: The size of the contract is identical to the one the two parties signed for the FY23 mining season, but the proportion of medium- and high-grade nickel that BRI will take under the FY24 agreement is considerably lower. In FY23, BRI took 66% of the contracted amount in medium- and high-grade nickel, with the remainder to be satisfied with low-grade nickel. This year, they’re taking 66% of the contracted amount in low-grade nickel, with the remainder (33%) in medium-grade nickel. That seems like a notable downgrade, and if you are interested in FNI or the nickel sector, it’s worth a deeper look.

3. DITO CME [DITO 2.37, up 0.8%; 28% avgVol] [link] denied a report that it was preparing a stock rights offering. DITO said that it is “aware” of the PSE’s requirement that it conduct some form of follow-on offering as a consequence of its original backdoor listing, but would only go so far as to say that it was “working on complying with the regulatory requirements” to conduct the required follo w-on offering.

MB quick take: The denial/clarification doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. The article said that DITO was doing a follow-on offering as early as Q1 of this year, and DITO said it hasn’t “launched any activity” related to a stock rights offering, but that it is “working on complying” with its need to conduct one. Cool cool cool. Feels like a weird word game to play, unless the intent was to push back on the timeline without actually saying it out loud. Which, again, is also kind of a weird game to play. Just DITO doing DITO things?    

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MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police is not discounting the possibility of using cell phone signal jamm ers during the traslacion for the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila on Jan. 9, the PNP’s top official said yesterday.

PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. said cutting cell phone signals is among the security options being considered to protect millions of devotees who are expected to join the annual procession of the Black Nazarene after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic.

“Kasama sa practice ‘yan, but I will leave that to the police commanders on the ground and most likely, kapag ‘yan ang nirekomenda nila, gagawin natin,” Acorda said in a radio interview.

The PNP earlier said no security threat has been monitored related to the traslacion – the procession of the wooden image of the Black Nazarene along the streets of Manila.

Acorda said 13,691 police personnel would secure the traslacion, which they expect will draw around 2.5 million Catholic devotees.

He urged the public to follow the security protocols imposed by the organizers of the Feast of the Black Nazarene and government authorities for everyone’s safety.

Among these is the prohibition on carrying backpacks, umbrellas and canister bottles during the procession.

Wearing bull caps is also prohibited, police said.

“These are the things we want the people attending the procession to know para hindi na magkakasitahan (so accosting won’t be done),” Acorda said.

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