Malaysia lures Phlilippine firms for investments (Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines – The Malaysian government is looking to tap on the growing wealth of Philippine companies as it hopes to see another Filipino firm as big as San Miguel Corp. (SMC) invest in their country.

Representatives from the Selangor State Government of Malaysia were in the country yesterday to lure local companies to explore business opportunities in Malaysia, particularly in Selangor.

“We’re going to give briefings to business chambers in Manila to promote and introduce Selangor as an investment destination. In the Philippines, people know about Kuala Lumpur not realizing that it is part of Selangor. We have a vision to make Selangor a global trading hub. We believe this will help other Asean businessmen to go global,” Selangor state executive councilor Dato’ Teng Chang Khim said.

Khim said Malaysia’s biggest foreign investors to date are Japan, Singapore and the US. He said Philippine investments in Malaysia, meanwhile, remain insignificant.

Malaysia, however, believes Philippine firms are now strong enough to make their presence felt in other markets abroad, he added.

Hasan Azhari Hj Idris, chief executive officer of Invest Selangor Bhd. an agency serving as the first contact point for corporations planning to invest in Selangor said SMC is currently the biggest Filipino investor in Malaysia.

Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

“San Miguel is a known name in Malaysia. It is one of the main Filipino investor companies in Malaysia,” Idris said.

SMC, through unit Petron Corp., acquired in 2012 Esso Malaysia Bhd and its two subsidiaries, ExxonMobil Malaysia Sdn Bhd and ExxonMobil Borneo Sdn Bhd.

Esso Malaysia’s operations include a refinery located in Port Dickson on the west coast with a capacity of 88,000 barrels per day, seven fuel distribution terminals, and a network of retail stations.

Earlier this year, another Filipino conglomerate announced its entry into the Malaysian market.

Property powerhouse Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) in April marked its maiden entry in Malaysia with a $43-million investment in a development and construction company called MCT Bhd.

ALI is currently studying its option to hike its stake in MCT to 32.95 percent from its existing 9.16 percent.

“We hope that our visit here would create more awareness in the Philippine business community,” Idris said.

On the other hand, the Malaysian officials said companies in their country have also taken notice of the Philippines’ rapid economic improvement in recent years and have already expressed interest in entering the Philippine market.

“I think the Philippines is growing very fast now. There are, in fact, a lot of investors in Malaysia who are very interested in the Philippines,” Khim said.