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

DENR proposes drastic changes in ECC issuance

Updated July 01, 2009 12:00 AM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

MANILA, Philippines - Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza yesterday announced proposed drastic changes in the agency’s procedures in the issuance of environmental permits, including forestry and mining permits, in an effort to improve efficiency and eradicate corruption.

“I assure investors and businessmen, both foreign and local, that the Department will undertake reforms that would hasten the issuance of permits by removing unnecessary requirements that would impede their operation,” Atienza said during the Multi-sectoral Consultation on Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) System Policy Direction at the Social Hall of the DENR in Quezon City.

Atienza said that the main reason that investors are reportedly setting their focus on other places for business opportunities is because of unreasonable and restrictive rules that accompany the environmental permitting system.

“The simplification of the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) procedures is not just about reducing processing time, but more importantly, to strengthen accountability, improve efficiency, remove opportunities for corruption and promote transparency for sustainable development,” Atienza emphasized.

Atienza said the simplification of procedures in the DENR permitting system is in consonance with President Arroyo’s program on reducing bureaucratic requirements that blocks the flow of investment into the country. 

Atienza, however, emphasized that the proposed simplification process will not compromise environmental protection as he stressed for strict monitoring by the DENR.

As proposed, Atienza said the issuance of ECC will be reduced from six months to 20 working days to one month, while the certificate of non-coverage (CNC) will be cut down from three weeks to one day.

The DENR chief also said that the local government units (LGUs) will be given greater responsibility in the determination of social acceptability aspect of the proposed projects.

“The local government units, being at the forefront of development in the countryside, are more in a position to determine the acceptability of projects within their respective areas, in accordance with their land-use plan,” Atienza said.

Present during the meeting were land developers, industry associations from mining and forestry, business groups, non-government organizations, representatives from international development agencies and media.


Robinsons Land to issue P5-billion bonds

Updated July 01, 2009 12:00 AM [ ]

MANILA, Philippines - Robinsons Land Corp. (RLC), the property unit of the Gokongwei’s JG Summit Holdings Inc., has secured the Securities and Exchange Commission’s approval to issue P3 billion worth of bonds, with an option to raise it to P5 billion.

The bonds, which will be issued in tranches, have a maturity of five to seven years.

The bond issuance was assigned a PRS Aaa rating the highest such rating by domestic credit rating agency PhilRatings. This means the issuer’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the bond issue is extremely strong.

In assigning the rating, PhilRatings took into account RLC’s consistent robust operating profit and strong cash flow from a diverse portfolio of real estate assets.

“Using conservative assumptions, projected cash receipts of RLC are expected to comfortably service debt obligations over the term of the rated issue. Its capital structure is similarly expected to remain conservative,” PhilRatings said.

“While the formerly optimistic outlook for the real estate industry over the next few years has been tempered due to the global credit crisis, RLC is expected to remain resilient even in such an environment given its conservative financial policy and its prudent approach to pursuing its various projects,” PhilRatings added.

RLC has set a capital expenditure program of P8 billion this year to bankroll the construction of new shopping malls, office buildings, residential units and a chain of budget hotels.

The company is opening five new malls this year, which will make available an additional 71,000 square meters of gross leasable space. By the end of September this year, RLC’s shopping mall network will increase to 26 from only 21 a year earlier.

In the first half of its fiscal year ending September 2009, RLC reported a 11 percent growth in net earnings to P1.62 billion. Revenues reached P5.1 billion, P2 billion of which came from the commercial centers division or an increase of 10 percent from the previous level.

Significant growth contributors were the Metro Manila malls led by the Midtown Wing of Robinsons Place Manila. Other provincial malls also posted decent growth in rental revenues while significant rental increment was also contributed by the newly opened mall in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija.– Zinnia dela Peña


Ayala firms spark sell-off; index tumbles

Wednesday, June 1, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES [ BusinessWorld Online ]


SHARES of the Philippines’ oldest conglomerate Ayala Corp. and its property arm, Ayala Land, Inc., were dumped yesterday, sparking a sell-off, analysts said.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange tumbled by 1.21% or 30.06 points to 2,437.99, while the all-shares index slipped by 1% or 15.87 points to 1,566.47.

A total of 1.23 billion shares worth P2.41 billion were traded with foreign buyers trumping sellers by P48 million.

Decliners swept advancers 61 to 31 while 50 stocks did not move.

"Ayala Corp. was one of the biggest contributors to the market’s decline yesterday. It started with the holding company and cascaded to the other stocks," Tristan E. Valerio of Lucky Securities, Inc. said.

The market opened at 2,476.62 or eight points up, touching a high of 2,482.11, until investors started cashing in gains.

"I guess it was just a case of profit taking dominating window dressing.

"[The Ayala companies] were the stocks the foreign investors were holding and naturally they were what they dumped," Joseph Roxas of Eagle Equities, Inc. said.

Ayala Corp. and Ayala Land were the biggest losers yesterday, the holding company tumbling by 4.5% or P12.50 to P265 on net foreign selling of P163 million.

Its property arm declined by 4.7% or P0.40 to P8.10 on net foreign selling of P60 million.

Affiliates Globe Telecom, Inc. and the Bank of the Philippine Islands slipped by 1.04% or P10 to P950 and 1.17% or 50 centavos to P42, respectively.

Claire S. Quiray of Regina Capital Development Corp. pointed out the local market was weak for the past couple of days.

Also, turnover has remained thin, indicating low market participation, while market rallies came on the back of select issues.

"There is always intra-day profit taking and this is tempering the rallies. The intra-day profit taking shows the market is struggling to hold on to its 2,400 support level because of the weak confidence of investors," Ms. Quiray said.

"Investors are waiting for share prices to go up but the market continues to move sideways. They feel therefore it is more prudent to lock in gains before they lose them especially since there is no news to compel them to put their money in the market."

Not one of the six subindices eluded the carnage.

Holding firms, which include Ayala Corp., dived by 2.7% or 36.07 points to 1,298.14 while property shares, which include Ayala Land, fell by 2% or 16.43 points to 802.46.

Industrial stocks slipped by 1.17% or 40.41 points to 3,397.68, while financial companies declined by 1.02% or 5.57 points to 538.90.

Mining and oil shares tumbled by 0.3% or 17.53 points to 5,730.23, while the service sector lost 3.22 points to 1,341.11.

Other blue chips, aside from the Ayala companies, saw their values slide.

Manila Electric Co. slipped by 2.79% or P4 to P139, while the Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. declined by 1.56% or P0.50 to P31.50.

Index heavyweight Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., on the other hand, did not move at P2,395.

Neither did Sy-led Banco de Oro Unibank, Inc., which remained at P31.50.

Andrew L. Tan-led Megaworld Corp., meanwhile, added 1.03% or a centavo to P0.98.

"Expect an anemic trading this week since there is no news locally and abroad that could influence investors," Mr. Valerio said.


Condo builder set to borrow P200 million for Ortigas project

Wednesday, June 1, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES [ BusinessWorld Online ]

LISTED CONDOMINIUM builder City & Land Developers, Inc. is seeking regulatory approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to sell P200 million worth of short-term commercial papers to partly fund a project in Ortigas.

City & Land said the proceeds would be spent on the Grand Emerald Tower, a 39-storey mixed-use building in Ortigas, documents submitted to the regulator showed.

City & Land plans to sell 60% of the short-term commercial papers to the general public, 30% to institutional investors, and the rest to local small investors.

The company again requested for exemption from getting the services of underwriters, saying it had been previously successful in selling commercial papers.

City & Land said the minimum amount of commercial papers that can be purchased is P300,000, with a term not exceeding 365 days. The papers will pay a fixed interest based on prevailing market rates at the time of the issuance.

The property developer, which is led by businessman Stephen C. Roxas, said it expects net proceeds of P198.75 million to be spent in four equal tranches starting on the fourth quarter.

"If proceeds are substantially less than maximum proceeds, the company will just opt to renew maturing obligations from existing financial institutions," the firm said.

City & Land said that as of March 31, it had outstanding loans worth P290.85 million.

The condominium builder is part of the Cityland group, a 30-year-old property firm that has built mixed-use towers in Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig and Manila; affordable houses in Tagaytay, Parañaque and Pasig; and Bulacan, Cavite and Tagaytay.

In the first quarter, City & Land’s profits dropped to P4.04 million from P17.59 million last year, as revenues only reached P61.05 million from last year’s P84.22 million with projects still in the early stages of construction. — D. G. K. Carreon


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