MANILA, Philippines – The Aboitiz Group slashed its capital expenditure (capex) for 2020 by a third, as the coronavirus pandemic affects the growth of the conglomerate.
During its annual stockholders’ meeting held online on Monday, April 27, Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) said it has adjusted its capex from P73 billion to P47 billion, a cut of P26 billion.
“Most of the capex reductions were from the infrastructure, power, and land units. These mostly covered operating, maintenance, and expansion costs,” AEV said.
Aboitiz Infrastructure is “closely reviewing” the impact of COVID-19 on its projects, especially in the airport sector. (READ: Airlines ask gov’t for lifeline as virus leads them to bankruptcy)
While it has trimmed spending on other projects, the conglomerate is “further embracing” opportunities, particularly in digital infrastructure.
“Digital infrastructure investments in previous years and regular business continuity planning [have] allowed us to cope with the adverse impact of COVID-19. While it’s anyone’s guess how the future will unfold, we assure our stakeholders that we are fully equipped and prepared to guarantee the continuity of all business transactions,” said Sabin Aboitiz, Aboitiz Group president and chief executive officer (CEO).
UnionBank president and CEO Edwin Bautista added that the crisis has “accelerated the coming of the digital world,” with online accounts increasing tenfold during the quarantine period.
UnionBank upgraded its mobile app to enable users to directly transfer funds nationwide to remittance centers such as Cebuana Lhuillier, LBC, PeraHub, and soon, Palawan Express.
Meanwhile, Aboitiz Land’s industrial business unit expects fresh demand for its distribution centers and warehouse-type logistics facilities, as e-commerce soars during the pandemic.
Since the Luzon lockdown began mid-March, the Aboitiz Group has mounted corporate-led initiatives to support medical frontliners and affected workers. ([WATCH] The Philippines’ Best Work Spaces: Aboitiz)
It earmarked P900 million for its workers and released their 13th and 14th month pay in advance for them to cope with the pandemic.
“We did more online work, more work from home – preventive measures are going to be the name of the game until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed,” Aboitiz said.
AEV also gave P400 million worth of monetary and in-kind assistance to severely affected communities. – Rappler.com