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SEC nod sought for Robinsons Land’s P5-B bond sale

Friday, June 19, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES [ BusinessWorld Online ]


LISTED PROPERTY developer Robinsons Land Corp. has sought approval from regulators for the sale of up to P5 billion worth of bonds to partly finance projects this year.

The Gokongwei-led firm said it plans to sell P3 billion worth of fixed-rate bonds, with a P2-billion provision for oversubscription, documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showed.

Robinsons Land said the proceeds would be used for capital expenditures and general corporate purposes. The bonds, whose interest rates have yet to be set, will come in two terms, five years and one day, and seven years.

The property developer said it has earmarked P8.7 billion for spending this year, with 38% allocated for residential buildings, 37.7% for commercial centers, 14.4% for office buildings, 6% for housing and land development, and 3.9% for hotels.

The firm said the balance of its spending program would come from existing reserves and cash generated from operations and preselling.

The firm’s budget is about P2 billion smaller from last year, easing up on developments due to the economic slump.

Robinsons Land said it had appointed The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. Ltd. and SB Capital Investment Corp. as joint issue managers.

The Philippine Rating Services Corp. earlier assigned its highest rating to the bond, saying the firm had consistently generated robust profits and strong cash flow.

This year, Robinsons Land said it plans to launch five new condominium projects, open five shopping malls and complete the redevelopment of two more.

The firm also expects to finish its fourth office building within the Robinsons Cybergate Complex in Mandaluyong, launch six housing projects, and open 108-room Summit Ridge Hotel Complex in Tagaytay.

In a related development, the SEC approved earlier this week the merger of three Gokongwei-owned companies to cut costs, and permitted the decrease in authorized capital of another due to its dormancy for almost two years.

On Tuesday, the regulator approved retail firm Robinsons, Inc.’s absorption of affiliate retailer Shrine Galleria Corp. and unit Robinsons Pharmacies, Inc., documents from the regulator showed.

The surviving corporation, a unit of Robinsons Holding Corp., said the merger would improve operating efficiencies and increase its financial strength by pooling resources, which would allow access to credit at lower rates.

"The parties to this plan of merger have determined that it is to their best interest to merge into one corporation, [as this] will redound to the advantage of the [companies] and their respective shareholders," the document read.

Robinsons will absorb the firms’ assets worth P859.4 million and assume liabilities totaling P698.78 million. Robinsons already has P2.02 billion in assets and P1.09 billion in liabilities.

Robinsons said it would no longer issue additional shares in exchange for absorbing the assets of the said companies, since it has the same parent as Shrine Galleria, while Robinsons Pharmacies is a wholly owned subsidiary.

Meanwhile, the SEC approved on Monday the petition of dormant CFC Corp., to cut its authorized capital stock to P50 million from P600 million to give it a capital structure commensurate with reduced operations.

CFC said the reduction in authorized capital would allow it to retire treasury shares worth P28.93 million, cancel stock subscriptions totaling P5.13 million and return P285.52 million worth of shares.

The company, a unit of Gokongwei-led Universal Robina Corp. (URC), was set up in 1959 to operate restaurants and food manufacturing facilities, its profile said.

In 1997, the CFC’s food manufacturing facilities were taken over by URC to cut costs. In 2007, it transferred operations of its restaurant business to affiliate Everyday Convenience Store, Inc. — Don Gil K. Carreon

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