The Grey Chronicles


BusinessWorld’s Top 1000 Corporations, Part II

Filed under: Commentary,Croppings,Green Debacle,Grey Ascendance,Leadership,Long Grey Notes,Management,National Steel Corporation,Operations,Philippines,Production,Readings,Steel Manufacturing — reyadel @ 23:59
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The 50 Largest Enterprises in ASEANIn 1993, Asiaweek published The 50 Largest Enterprises in ASEAN (Asiaweek, 06 January 1993). For the Philippines, seven enterprises in terms of sales were among the top 50: San Miguel Corp. (beer, food and softdrinks); Phil. National Oil Co. (oil, energy); Pilipinas Shell Petroleum (oil refining, distribution); National Power Corp (Power generation); Manila Electric Co. (power supply); Caltex (Phils) (oil refining, distribution); and Philippine Airlines (air transport). Sixteen years later, most of the biggest enterprises in the Philippines are still among the biggest, with San Miguel Corp., topping the list in 1993, not making it in Business World’s list for 2008?

BusinessWorld’s Top 1000 Corporations in the PhilippinesIn Business World’s top ten corporations, three are oil companies, namely Petron, Shell and Chevron—not surprisingly in the top five— raked in as much by taking advantage of the phenomenal spikes in oil prices during the recent months. Several men-on-the-street interviewed on local television shows have expressed their exasperation over the fluctuations of roll backs vis-a-vìs price increases announced by these companies. Who would not be? Roll back of P1 today; price increase of P2 the next week? It’s not unlike the application of Mao Tse Tung’s war strategy: Two steps forward; one step back?

With state-owned National Power Corp. [NAPOCOR], which held the top position for 14 of the last 15 years, broken up after privatization on 01 October 2008 into National Transmission Corp. [TRANSCO] and Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. [PSALM] and small power utilities group [SPUG]; Meralco is the lone power distributor in the top ten.

Two telecommunications giants, Smart and Philippine Long Distance Telephone [PLDT], are also regular in these types of rankings; although not yet that big in Asiaweek 1000. It is rather amazing that Jesus Joaquin M. Manago (1993) wrote an open letter to PLDT President Antonio Cojuangco, via the editors of AsiaWeek, saying:

“One may ask: Why not get a new line? Wouldn’t a new line be better than the old one? I should like to think so, but I might not live long enough to see it. I was 8 years old when my family first filed the application. Now I am 32, and still … nothing.”

Manago is 48 this year, and I hope he got his phone. Back in 1993, PLDT operated 94% of the nation’s 1.2 million regular lines, and its subsidiary Piltel dominated the cellular market. A cellular-phone network was introduced in the Philippines in 1990 where the initial roll-out proved to be problematic: expensive mobile units, crossed lines, interference, and many “blind spots” Now, the Philippines is said to be the texting capital of the world! Poring over the back issues of Asiaweek, in its 06 January 1993 issue the Almanac: Vital Signs shown a telephone density of 60 people per telephone. PLDT envisioned a $1.12 billion expansion of 1.1 million lines by 1996. By 10 May 1996 issue of Asiaweek, telephone density in the Philippines dropped to 40.3 people per telephone. Social Watch (2008) reports that based on last available data: 2001-2005, the Philippines had 41 mainlines per 1000 people; or equivalent to 24.4 people per phone line. A veritable improvement? From 60 to 40.3 people per phone, in three years (1993 to 1996); or a 32% decrease; compared to 40.3 to 24.4 people per phone or a meager 39.5% decrease all in nine years (1996 to 2005)!

With the case of the “missing load” championed by Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile (competing with the Koh-Halili sex scandal) at the most recent Senate hearings, the respective ranks of these two companies are positive proof that even with the National Telecommunications Commission [NTC] changing the rules of the game recently on the manner how SMS (text messages, MMS), per-second or per-minute calls, balance inquiry are charged or when prepaid load or cards expire; consumers should not be surprised if they make it again in 2009 ranking.

The present spot where Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining [PASAR] Corp. was usually where NSC was ranked then. Back in 1990s, PASAR was way below the top 100. Philippine Airlines is also of similar circumstance.

Moreover, no financial institutions made it to the top ten? Aha! Despite official announcements from Malacañang that the Philippines is not in recession, the effect of the global financial crisis have made it difficult for these institutions to make a buck [pun intended]. In its latest economic outlook, the International Monetary Fund [IMF] predicts that the Philippine economy is expected to shrink during the last three months of the year. Although, when financial conditions deteriorated, the Philippines was able to quickly ease monetary tightness, injecting cash into strained money markets, the IMF said an extended slowdown may cut external demand for Philippine-made goods, increasing negative repercussions for exports, investments, and eventually, economic expansion.

Shrink … slowdown … recession … are these words NO LONGER synonymous in this era of globalization? In spite of all these, are you working for a company belonging to Business World’s Top 1000 corporations?


Asiaweek (1993). The 50 Largest Enterprises in ASEAN. Hong Kong: Asiaweek, 19:1. 06 January 1993. pp. 56—57. back to text.

Bissio, Roberto [ed.](2008) Measuring Progress, Social Watch Report 2008: Right is the answer. Montevideo, Uruguay: Social Watch | Instituto del Tercer Mundo, 03 November 2008. pp. 45. back to text

Business World (2009). Petron Corp. dislodges Napocor in report ranking top 1000 RP firms. Manila: Business World as reported by GMA News TV, 27 October 2009. back to text.

Manago, Jesus Joaquin M. (1993). Letters & Comment: Will Jesus, Now 32, Live to Get a Phone Line?. Hong Kong: Asiaweek, 19:6. 10 February 1993. p. 10. back to text.

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 LicenseDisclaimer: The posts herein do not necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions. Read the full version of self-imposed rules for this blog: A New Year; New Rules. Unless otherwise expressly stated, the posts are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
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