MANILA (Mabuhay) – Swiss companies are giving the Philippines a closer look as the Southeast Asian place to invest in, lured by the investment grade rating awarded by major debt-watchers earlier this year.
“The Philippines is now on the radar screen as it continues to attract more Swiss investments while those already invested have been expanding their operations,” Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines Ivo Sieber said in an interview with reporters Monday.
Meteomedia, a Weather Station Measurement Network company, which operates in Germany Switzerland, is expanding in the Philippines, according to the ambassador.
The company is expanding partnerships with Globe Telecom, Smart Communications and SM Prime Holdings. Meteomedia provides custom-made weather forecasts for telcos, mining companies, and retailers, using data processed from over 17,000 stations across the globe.
Apart from Meteomedia, Swiss companies are keen on investing in business process outsourcing (BPO).
However, many issues have emerged in the process of placing the Philippines under a magnifying lens, the ambassador noted, saying Swiss businessmen are particularly wary of the Patrimony Law which limits foreign investors from full ownership of businesses and properties.
The private sector in Switzerland – as well as in Europe – is watching how the Aquino administration is doing with corruption.
“A lot of companies are taking note of these issues as well as the passage of important pending bills such as the Anti-Trust bill to improve the competition in the Philippines and the Mining Law,” Sieber said.
In terms of the transportation infrastructure, investors consider the Philippine situation as “remote” because of the difficulties in traveling around the archipelago.
The Swiss envoy said the Philippines’ transport infrastructure is still being viewed as by the Swiss and European investors due to the difficulty in moving around the archipelago.
Still, the positive points include the usual accolades given by foreign investors – a well-educated, English-speaking and young workforce.
In addition, Sieber noted the growing economy that churns with a sizeable number of consumers are major to lures that make the heads of investors turn.
The P6.31-trillion economy, which grew 6.8 percent in 2012, is expected to expand by 6 percent to 7 percent this year after growing 7.6 percent in the first half.(MNS)