2017 CFO of the Year Awards: Superhero CFOs Crash the Party

Five finance leaders were honored at the 2017 CFO of the Year awards during a superhero-themed dinner gala in Singapore on December 7. Now on its sixth year, the 2017 celebration was attended by more than 120 CFOs and other guests, including representatives from accounting firms, banks, business software companies, consulting firms, outsourcing providers and other finance partners. 

And the honorees are:

  • CFO of the Year: Rafael Jose D. Consing, Jr., Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Compliance Officer, International Container Terminal Services Inc.
  • Excellence in Finance Transformation: Janelle Hopkins, Group CFO and EGM Finance & Commercial Services, Australia Post
  • Excellence in Finance Transformation: Jacqueline Chan, Chief Financial Officer and Managing Director, DBS Hong Kong
  • Excellence in Financial Planning & Analysis: Mohamad Yasin bin Abdullah, Group CFO, Maybank Kim Eng Group
  • Excellence in Technology Transformation: Graham Knight, Satit Bilingual Schools of Rangsit University

CFO of the Year
Rafael Jose D. Consing, Jr.
Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Compliance Officer
International Container Terminal Services Inc.

You need to manage numerous moving parts when your company embarks on a massive geographical expansion, as the Philippines’ International Container Terminal Services is doing. From late 2010 to 2016, the number of operating terminals in ICTSI’s portfolio jumped from 14 to 25 as it acquired new concessions and completed construction projects in Argentina, Australia, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq.

Consing’s first move was to design a capital management strategy that aimed to reduce the cost of debt and extend call duration

The task of steering the financial ship through unfamiliar foreign waters fell on CFO Rafael Jose D. Consing, Jr. (pictured above with Black Widow and Iron Man). His challenges included supporting the acquisition and integration of the geographically dispersed assets, managing the accounting transition and financial and leverage impact, and keeping investors interested in the stock through anemic financial results as the portfolio transitioned to the current global footprint.

Consing’s first move was to design a capital management strategy that aimed to reduce the cost of debt and extend call durations. He orchestrated tender and private exchange offers for expensive debt that carried interest rates as high as 8.375% , using proceeds of perpetual securities and notes borrowed at 4.875% to 6.25%. The cost of debt was reduced by US$5.5 million per annum and call durations were stretched by three to five years.

Then he raised funds for the various port constructions by issuing hybrid capital, which helped mitigate the impact of borrowings on leverage ratios. The use of hybrid capital was meant to deliver the full benefits of both debt (non-dilutive to shareholders plus tax deductible cash distributions) and equity (upon consolidation under IFRS, hybrid bonds are accounted for as shareholder capital and therefore carved out in the calculation of leverage ratios).

The company also tapped commercial borrowing and project finance facilities, including a first-ever US$40-million term loan facility by a Philippine bank to an Ecuadorian entity, which lowered that subsidiary’s funding cost by 5%, and a US$260-million facility with the World Bank’s IFC, Inter-American Development Bank, and China Co-Financing Fund for Latin America and the Caribbean – at a spread of 2.8%, on average, above 6-month LIBOR.     

A critical aspect of the financing strategy was the creation of a Euro-Medium Term Note Program and a Global Loan Program, which aligned and pre-negotiated the terms of all loans and bond issues. This helped shorten transaction execution time to five days, from two to three months, and gave ICTSI the ability to seize market windows of opportunity. 

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