By Zinnia B. Dela Peña Updated June 29, 2009 12:00 AM [philstar.com ]
MANILA, Philippines - High-end leisure estate and gaming firm Belle Corp. is setting aside up to P1.7 billion over the next two years for the continued development of residential communities to ensure long-term growth.
On the sidelines of the company’s annual stockholders meeting, Belle vice-chairman Willy N. Ocier said management remains upbeat on the real estate sector due to the strong demand for its premium projects.
Of the programmed capital budget, P800 million will be used to fund the construction of three projects which include the recently launched Japanese themed residential subdivision called Katsura within the Lakeside Fairways.
In the second half of the year, Belle intends to introduce Fairfields, an American South contemporary-themed development that will rise on a seven-hectare property adjacent to The Verandas at Saratoga Hills.
William Gana, Belle executive vice-president and chief financial officer, said the company is going full blast next year with the construction of five new projects that will require an investment of between P800 million to P900 million.
Gana said the firm is developing up to 30 hectares of property in Tanauan, Batangas called The Greenlands Community. This project is adjacent to established developments such as Plantation Hills, The Parks and The Verandas at Saratoga Hills.
Another 32 hectares are being planned for development as a farm lots project, he said.
“With the help of these plans laid out for the very near future, your corporation intends to maintain its leadership position in its market and we will always continue to work hard to assure that our reputation for quality family-oriented products will continue to be well-deserved in the future,” Ocier said.
Joselito Consunji, Belle chief operating officer, said the company has a landbank of 1,500 hectares, more than sufficient to ensure the continued development of projects.
In the first quarter this year, Belle reported a four percent rise in its net earnings to P38.2 million as revenues increased 5.3 percent to P269.08 million.
Sale of real estate and club shares rise 8.7 percent to P249.21 million from P229.26 million due to higher sales revenues from Plantation Hills farm lots projects and its Verandas at Saratoga Hills residential subdivision.
As a result of the higher revenue, as well as project cost savings, the company’s gross profit rose 22 percent to P117.5 million from P96.6 million.
Total operating expenses, including depreciation and amortization, grew 27 percent to P42.8 million from P33.8 million due to increased project development and marketing activities.