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Ayala Land looks north for strategic expansion

Monday, August 31, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES [ BusinessWorld Online ]

AYALA LAND, INC. (ALI) has set its sights on the north, citing a shift in economic activity brought about by newly completed infrastructure projects in the area.

Company President Antonio T. Aquino, in an interview, said the strategy was to take advantage of the completion of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), and talks of making Clark International Airport the country’s main gateway.

"I think there [will be] some kind of shift in the gravity going toward the north this time. As time goes by, we think Clark will become an important airport [which] means that the economic activity in the area will be better," Mr. Aquino said.

The company, which traditionally focused on areas in the south of Metro Manila such as Makati, Fort Bonifacio, Alabang and Laguna province, sees the infrastructure developments as magnifying "the trading activities in the area by bringing provinces closer to one another."

"The strategy now is not to focus on the south but focus on geographical location, and obviously the northern part is where we should be present now. We are [currently] choosing those areas for geographical expansion and we are looking at Central Luzon," Mr. Aquino said.

"We would like to choose where the best strategic location is [and right now it is defined] by NLEX, SCTEx and the international airport."

ALI’s northward expansion began in the metropolis with the Trinoma Mall along North Ave. in Quezon City. This development will be complemented by a joint venture agreement, signed last week with the National Housing Authority, to develop the 29.1-hectare North Triangle Property into a central business district similar to Makati and Fort Bonifacio.

Next month, the firm will open its 70,000-square meter Marquee Mall in Angeles City in Pampanga — Ayala Land’s first Central Luzon foray. The mall is situated near Angeles City’s business district and is adjacent to the Angeles exit along the NLEX.

The mall is part of the 53-hectare Marquee project which is envisioned to be a mixed-use community.

"We have started with Trinoma, and then the Quezon City business district and now we are looking farther north," Mr. Aquino said.

"The future is dependent on the demand supply situation and we are always interested in areas that are close to [our existing projects] because managing them will be easier," he added.

Ayala Land’s net income grew by 14% to P1.01 billion in the second quarter. The result brought the firm’s first half net to P2.07 billion, down a third from the same period last year.

Shares of the company closed unchanged at P10.75 apiece on Friday. — K. J. R. Liu


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