Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the acquisition by United States private equity firm Cerberus Frontier of the former Hanjin shipyard at the Subic Bay Freeport is a “win-win” for the Filipino people, as it will retain and create more jobs, stimulate the Philippines’ robust growth and serve the requirements of both the military and the private sector.
Dominguez said with the conclusion of the agreement for the buyout of the shipbuilding facilities, the deal would allow five of the Philippines’ largest banks to book a profit from their written-off loans with Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines, while the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, where the shipyard is located, would get a better tenant in Cerberus.
The Philippine Navy will also get a naval base “with an ideal harbor for its rapidly expanding fleet facing the West Philippine Sea,” Dominguez said.
Many of the displaced workers in the former Hanjin shipyard will be retained, while additional jobs averaging about 300 per year from locators and subcontractors will be created, catalyzing growth in Central Luzon and the rest of the country, Dominguez said.
“With this development beneficial to all stakeholders, we look forward to a robust shipbuilding and ship repair facility to serve not only our military and coast guard requirements but also the requirements of the private sector,” Dominguez said at the reception in Washington D.C. hosted by Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez to mark the conclusion of the agreements involving the Cerberus takeover of the shipyard.
“I congratulate Cerberus, the Department of Defense of the Philippines, the Philippine Navy, the banks and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority for striking a deal that will benefit each of the partners and, more importantly, will benefit the Filipino people,” Dominguez said.
Several key officials of the Philippine government led by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and representatives from the US Departments of State, of Defense and of Transportation, and the US National Security Council and Cerberus officials led by Steve Feinberg, the co-founder and co-CEO of the firm attended the reception.
“There are like two months left for the Duterte administration. There is no better finale to all the work done to strengthen the ties with the US than to see the ink on the paper of the biggest public-private partnership in the 75-year history of Philippine-US relations,” Locsin said during the reception.
Romualdez said that he is “confident that with this collaboration with the United States, we will have a much stronger alliance founded on deeper friendship and mutual respect.”
“I cannot thank everyone enough for your valuable contributions, knowing that it had not been easy putting this project together and making it happen. With the conclusion of the agreements, I am hopeful that this project will bear the fruits of our efforts for generations to come,” Romualdez said.
The discussions on the acquisition of the former Hanjin shipyard by Cerberus Frontier began three years ago, according Romualdez.