• Foreign investors keen about Clark Green City

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    Investment potential pegged at billions of dollars

    MORE than 20 investors from Japan and Europe have either pledged to invest, or expressed interest to invest, in the Clark Green City of the Base Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

    Describing the investor response as “remarkable interest,” BCDA president and CEO Arnel Paciano Casanova said on Tuesday that among the potential investors are Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Mitsui, Sumitomo, Sojitz and other major Japanese companies. They are interested particularly in utilities, land development and infrastructure. They are also considering industrial estate investments.

    The industrial estate is identified in the first phase of development covering some 288 hectares. “We are encouraging Japanese educational institutions and research institutes to set up shops in Clark to improve our technological capability,” Casanova said.

    Investors from France and Germany are considering investing, given the large-scale projects in the city.

    Some 20 Japanese companies have already visited the area for ocular inspection, while a French company is scheduled to visit this month.

    About the industrial estates included in the plan, Casanova said: “It’s a strategic partnership because once we do industrial estate development in Clark, you create expansion growth area in Clark for Japanese manufacturing firms to also come in.”

    Japanese companies, he noted, are looking for alternative sites of manufacturing facilities, and they look at the Philippines as “one of their priorities in investments.”

    “The Japanese have been very, very optimistic about the Philippines. They don’t have much [issues]. They’re optimistic about Clark Green City. They look at the scale of the project, and it is something that they’re really interested in. If they’re going to spend time and resources, they wanted it to be on a scale that would create value for them. Small contracts they’d rather leave to domestic players,” Casanova said.

    BCDA had signed an agreement with the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corp. or JOIN in February to form a joint venture company that will support and encourage Japanese firms to invest in Clark Green City. This joint venture is owned 55 percent by JOIN and 45 percent by BCDA.

    BCDA is now considering crafting the necessary legal framework that would help foreign investors and businesses.

    According to Casanova, the potential foreign investment can easily be pegged at “billions of dollars” given the sizable scale of projects within the 9,450-hectare project area which will be fully developed in about 30-40 years.

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