PHILIPPINE REAL ESTATE and RELATED NEWS in and around the country . . .

Economy seen growing over 4% this year amid crisis

[ ] January 31-February 1, 2009

A leading Filipino economist yesterday said the country’s gross domestic product economy will manage to rise above 4.0 percent this year, despite the deterioration in financial markets that forced the International Monetary Fund to revise its global growth outlook to its lowest rate since World War II.

“While we do expect a further slowdown to sub-4 percent in the first quarter of 2009, I still think domestic demand, spurred by high double-digit spending, residential construction, business process outsourcing and non-metallic mineral products should again be able push GDP growth to our forecast of 4.1 percent for the year,” said Victor Abola, executive director of First Metro Investment Corp. -University of Asia & the Pacific Capital Markets Research.

The National Statistical Coordination Board earlier reported that the GDP grew 4.6 percent in 2008, but there were worries that growth this year will be much slower, with the IMF predicting the global economy will come to a virtual halt.

World growth is projected to fall to just 0.5 percent in 2009, its lowest rate in 60 years, according to the IMF.

Abola said remittances and the devaluation of the peso would help support consumer spending in the Philippines this year.

He noted that in 2009, remittances in current peso terms, had a substantial impact on consumption spending, which rose 4.5 percent.

“In dollar terms, these were up by some 13.6 percent but the average depreciation of 12.3 percent of the peso added the extra vigor to the consumer sector,” he said.

Abola cited studies by the University of Asia and the Pacific indicating that remittances had a multiplier of 2.5 using input-output analysis. This means that for every peso of remittance, a total of P2.50 in income is generated, he said. Roderick T. dela Cruz


Grand Boulevard’s tax payment ignored

[ ] January 31-February 1, 2009

The owner of Grand Boulevard Hotel has offered to pay P6.2 million in realty taxes but Manila City Hall looks the other way.

The Silahis International Hotel Inc., principal, earlier filed a civil case to rehabilitate the establishment on Roxas Boulevard.

Hotel operations stopped on July 9, 2008, after the local government took over as the Treasurer’s Office issued a warrant of levy over the failure to settle tax arrears.

Silahis filed a suit asking the Manila Regional Trial Court to declare that it has redeemed its tax obligations, following the city treasurer’s refusal to accept payment.

Silahis counsel Augusto Arreza said City Hall started forfeiture proceedings leading to its acquisition of Grand Boulevard at a public auction sale on Jan. 30, 2008.

“Preparatory to exercising its right to redeem the hotel property, SIHI reportedly sought from the Treasurer’s Office a statement of account which shows that the plaintiff’s total obligations due is P6,119, 566.19,” the petition said.

“Thus, on January 9, this year, the corporation reportedly tendered payment to the City Hall [which] refused... the payment without even justifying such refusal,” the Silahis petition stated.

“And on January 15, SIHI reportedly notified the Treasurer’s Office of its resort to... judicial consignation of the P6.2 million in full settlement of its real property tax obligations.”

Lat Jan. 6, unsecured creditors sought in court a stay of Grand Boulevard’s rehabilitation.

“Herminio Valerio... filed the petition on behalf of some fellow unsecured creditors who are owed P507 million,” the Silahis petition noted amid a court-approved plan.

The corporation’s debt to the unsecured creditors is pegged at 25.20 percent of Silahis liabilities.

Valerio says his co-creditors are “entitled to bring the petition for rehabilitation pursuant to Rule 4, Section 1 of the Interim Rules of Procedure on Corporate Rehabilitation.”

He noted that on Oct. 15, 2004, Silahis filed its rehabilitation plan before the Manila court, proposing a reduction of the P2.015-billion indebtedness by P727.515 million converted to “equity and restructuring,” or the balance due to secured creditors, and the rest of claimants to be repaid over a 10-year period.

But Valerio and his co-creditors are pressing for a better plan despite an “analysis of SIHI’s revenue and debt-service projections [showing] that the SIHI is forecast to be able to repay the reduced amount of P1.226 billion.” Michael Caber


DMCI Holdings gets P500-million loan to settle unit's debt

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña Updated February 01, 2009 12:00 AM

[ ]

DMCI Holdings Inc., the investment holding firm of the Consunji family, has obtained a P500-million short-term bridge loan facility from Banco De Oro Unibank.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, DMCI Holdings said the facility will be used to partially settle loan obligations of subsidiary Atlantic Gulf & Pacific Co. (AG&P) of Manila with Cameron Granville 3 Asset Management Inc. and the Philippine National Bank, amounting to a total of P650 million.

DMCI owns 98 percent of AG&P, which filed for creditor protection in 2002.

In the nine months ending September 2008, DMCI reported a 30 percent drop in net earnings as it booked extraordinary and non-operating charges from its water business.

Net profit amounted to P1.21 billion as against P1.73 billion the previous year while revenues reached P14.15 billion or 52.3 percent higher than the year earlier figure of P9.29 billion.

DMCI’s investment in the water sector, operated under Maynilad Water Services Inc. and owned via a consortium with Metro Pacific Investments Corp. reported an impressive growth in operating level income from P1.1 billion to P2 billion on the back of higher billed volume.

DMCI said the adoption of a new concession accounting principle for 2008 accounted for a net charge of P787 million, resulting from forex losses from the recognition of dollar denominated future concession fee payables, the recognition of which is a feature of the new accounting standard.

As for its real estate business, DMCI Project Developers Inc. reported a 28 percent rise in net income to P748 million on the back of a 71 percent jump in revenues to P3.5 billion. Better sales volume from new projects and the higher selling price boosted the company’s financial performance.

Sales came from existing projects: Manors at Celebrity Place, Raya Gardens Condominiums, Mahogany Place Subdivision and Rosewood Pointe Homes which accounted for 40 percent of all real estate revenues.


Aklan to launch ‘high-impact’ 5-year projects

[ Manila Bulletin Online ] February 1, 2009


KALIBO, Aklan – Gov. Carlito Marquez said the provincial government will embark on a five-year program to implement "high-impact" projects which are expected to generate P1.525-billion revenues for the government from 2009 to 2013.

In his 5th State of the Province Address (SOPA) on Thursday, Marquez challenged all Aklanons to work together for prosperity and unity to cushion the economic slowdown now experienced by United States and European countries.

"As long as we are united, as long as our leaders are one in the task of developing our beloved province, we will succeed. Today, Aklan is alive; the economy is healthy and vibrant. Our province is bullish and has a very positive outlook," the governor stressed in his 85-minute address.

Marquez said the high-impact projects to be financed by the national government, private sectors and the provincial government will soften the adverse effects of the global financial crisis in the province.

The projects are expected to employ more than 12,000 skilled and unskilled workers, Marquez said.

Task Force Bangon Aklan also plans to reclaim the R800-million 100 hectares of foreshore property along the shoreline of Barangay Bachao Norte in Kalibo from the dredged materials along the silted Aklan River.


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