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

Property firm’s condo units to be seized

Posted on 07:35 PM, April 30, 2010 [ BusinessWorld Online ]

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is set to acquire eight condominium units of a real estate firm to cover more than half a billion worth of backtaxes.

"We are set to acquire the condominium units in settlement of the delinquent accounts of EBEDEV, Inc. for taxable years 2003, 2004 and 2005. We have already effected the required procedures and served the necessary documents. Unless the taxpayer pays up, we will let the legal process run its course until we acquire title over the said condominium units," BIR Commissioner Joel L. Tan-Torres said in a statement.

The BIR said that in the course of its investigation of EBEDEV, Inc.’s business operations, it found that the company owed P65.969 million worth of income taxes, value-added taxes, and withholding taxes for the years 2003 to 2005, inclusive of penalties.

The BIR said it had issued a final assessment notice to the company as well as a notice of levy on the condominium units. Prior to the notice of levy, it collected P333,647 after serving a warrant of garnishment covering the corporation’s bank account.

"The BIR’s drive to collect unpaid and delinquent taxes will not stop here. It has just begun and we will continue our drive to make delinquent taxpayers comply and pay. Thus, we call on all taxpayers to comply now and avoid the same fate as EBEDEV, Inc.," Mr. Tan-Torres said.

The BIR is running after tax evaders as part of efforts to improve revenue collections.

This year, the agency is tasked to collect P830 billion. Last year, it collected P743.4 billion, lower than the goal of P798.5 billion.

The government expects to incur a wider-than-expected budget deficit of P293 billion, or 3.5% of gross domestic product (GDP), this year. -- LDD

Filinvest Land doubles capex

Posted on 07:35 PM, April 30, 2010 [BusinessWorld Online ]

Filinvest Land, Inc. of property tycoon Andrew L. Gotianun, Sr., has doubled its capital expenditure for the year to around P7 billion, to allow the company to hike sales from its residential segment.

The firm is targeting a 15%-20% growth in residential sales this year, an executive said on Friday. "For this year, [capital spending] is almost P7 billion. Actual capital last year was P3.3 billion," Joseph M. Yap, president and chief executive of Filinvest Land, told reporters at the company’s annual stockholders meeting in Makati.

"[Funding will be] mostly internally generated," he added.

Annabelle D. Arceo, investor relations chief of Filinvest Land, said P500 million would be used to finish the construction of buildings at the Northgate Cyberzone in Alabang, Muntinlupa. A total of P1.8 billion will be used to buy land, and the rest will be for the development of other projects.

Filinvest Land ended 2009 with a land bank of 2,433 hectares.

Foreseeing higher demand, Filinvest Land will launch P8.6 billion worth of real estate projects -- four socialized housing ventures in Cavite and Batangas south of Metro Manila and the northern Bulacan province, as well as two new "affordable" housing projects, also in Batangas and Cavite.

"For the first quarter, sales are up 26%," Mr. Yap said. "Our guidance for sales growth is about 15%-20%."

Last year, the firm’s residential unit had P7 billion in sales. It accounted for 70% of total sales. About a third came from the lease of business process outsourcing offices.

Mr. Yap said Filinvest Land is also looking at setting up a real estate investment trust (REIT) company to secure more funds. "We are studying the possibility of doing a REIT. The company has been in discussion with some investment bankers," Mr. Yap said.

In December, the REIT bill, which will allow companies to use pooled capital of investors to buy and manage income-generating property and mortgage loans, lapsed into law. Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission released a draft of the implementing rules for the REIT law.

Shares in Filinvest Land went up on Friday to P0.97 apiece from P0.94 on Thursday. -- Neil Jerome C. Morales

Eton Properties, PNB sell lot to SM Prime

Posted on 10:30 PM, April 29, 2010 [ BusinessWorld Online ]

SM Prime Holdings, Inc., the mall development arm of retail and banking tycoon Henry Sy, has bought a property in Novaliches, Quezon City from the group of tobacco, alcohol, banking and airline magnate Lucio C. Tan.

“Eton Properties Philippines, Inc. and Philippine National Bank (PNB) recently signed a memorandum of agreement with SM Prime involving the sale of a three-hectare prime property that forms part of a 13.8-hectare mixed-use township development dubbed North Belton Communities in Quezon City,” Eton Properties said in a statement yesterday. “SM Prime will construct a commercial and shopping complex within two years from execution of the [agreement],” it added.

Last year, Eton Properties signed a deal for SM’s Super Shopping Market, Inc. to open an SM Hypermarket branch in the former’s two-level Centris Station on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in Quezon City.

Meanwhile, SM Prime, the country’s largest mall developer and operator, will open to the public today SM City Tarlac, the 37th SM shopping mall in the country.

The four-level mall, which is the first SM mall in the province of Tarlac, has a gross floor area of 103,340 square meters (sq. m.) and occupies 34,385 sq. m. of land.

This year, SM malls will also rise in Calamba and San Pablo in Laguna, Novaliches in Quezon City, Masinag in Antipolo and Suzhou in China.

Shares in SM Prime and Eton Properties were unchanged yesterday at P10.25 and P3.35 apiece, respectively. -- N. J. C. Morales

Govt faces test case on environmental rules

by Rey E. Requejo
[ ] April 29, 2010 ]

The Supreme Court has directed the government to answer a landmark petition filed by Ramon Magsaysay awardee Antonio Oposa Jr. and other environmentalists in a test-case for the new writ of kalikasan (environment).

Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said that government agencies, including the Palace, have been given 10 days to comment on the petition, which seeks among others the creation of rainwater collectors in all barangays in the country.

Apart from the Palace, the other respondents in the case were the Public Works and Highways, Interior and Local Government, and 80 provinces, 150 cities, 1,400 municipalities and 42,000 barangays.

Oposa group’s petition will put to the test the rules on environmental protection, which Chief Justice Reynato Puno will launch today at the high tribunal’s session hall.

In their petition, Oposa and the members of Global Legal Action on Climate Change asked the high tribunal to order the government to install a more effective nationwide flood control system through the implementation of a 1989 law requiring construction of water wells, rainwater collectors and springs in every barangay in the Philippines.

They said the 21-year-old Republic Act 6716, or the “Rainwater Collector and Springs Development Law”, also imposes this requirement to cities and municipalities through RA 7160, or the Local Government Code.

The petitioners said they have been “affected by the frequent flooding and water scarcity,” due to failure of agencies to comply with the law.

The petitioners complained about the respondents’ “gross negligence in the performance of public duty” because out of 100,000 rainwater catchments required by the law to be completed in 1991, the Public Works has only started complying last year and completed only four so far.

They noted that other countries like India and Singapore have successfully implemented the rainwater collectors and that it is also significant in the Philippines which is experiencing extreme wet and dry seasons. They explained that water wells serve as catchment areas to prevent flooding during rainy season and as sources of freshwater in dry season.

The other rainwater collectors’ purpose include are recharging aquifers, improving micro-climatic conditions, being a source of recreation and spiritual soothing, being home to food sources such as fish and vegetables, they added.

The petitioners also prodded the high court to compel the concerned agencies and local governments to submit a detailed action plan and program of action on how they will implement the law on rainwater collection, and for a Court-appointed commissioner to monitor the implementation of the law.

This will prevent destructive floods during rainy seasons just like what happened last year when typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng struck last year, Oposa’s group said.

Advocating love for nature, the petitioners also offered to be served summons and updates of pleadings via e-mail “to save on paper and postage, and thereby reduce carbon footprint.”

The order of mandamus being sought from the Supreme Court is “to protect the people’s supply of water and their right to a balanced and healthful ecology across the entire country.”

The petitioners said the writ of “kalikasan” must be implemented in each of the 80 provinces, 150 cities, 1,400 municipalities and each of 42,000 barangays all over the Philippines.

The issuance of the writ of kalikasan is immediate in nature and similar to the writs of habeas corpus, amparo and habeas data.

Ayala to pour in P2B in Cebu

Thursday, April 29, 2010 [ ]
By Katlene O. Cacho

THE Ayala Group of Companies is allocating P2 billion for capital expenditures (capex) for Cebu starting this year.

The capex is meant to fund the major developments of the company in its residential, office and retail businesses in Cebu.

“The firm will redouble its efforts to take advantage of the opportunities brought by the country’s recovering economy,” said Francis Monera, president of Cebu Holding, Inc. (CHI), during the firm’s annual stockholders meeting yesterday.

CHI is a publicly listed company engaged in real property ownership, development, marketing and management. It is an affiliate company of Ayala Land Inc.

Monera said the company will launch this year three residential units, a business process outsourcing project and a mall re-development project.

He said they are finalizing plans to add leasable space with an expansion project that will complete the full circle design of Ayala Center Cebu.

The re-development, he said, will provide more leasable spaces for local and international brands to the mall’s merchandise mix.

Ayala Center Cebu generated a total revenue of P696.77 million, or 19 percent higher than it did in 2008.

Monares attributed this to higher rental rates and sales per square meter and the full operation of The Terraces.

He said the firm will also forge partnerships with other strategic business units of Ayala Land to maximize industry expertise within the group as they set up new projects and explore markets this year.

“We have started, through Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corporation (CPVDC), to partner with the Ayala Land Businesscapes to create the eBloc Tower which was fully-leased out last year. A partnership with Avida is also underway for another development of affordable residential condominiums in Asiatown I.T. Park intended to fully complement the other amenities in the park,” Monares said.

CPVDC is a subsidiary of CHI. It is the owner and developer of Asiatown IT Park.

The firm, Monares said, will also invest in two residential condominium projects within Cebu Business Park,

“One will be here at the City Sports Club Cebu. This will allow us to unlock the value of the land as well as boost the value of ownership at the club. The other residential condominium will be at the Park Tower area, an addition to the two other towers in the enclave which have already been sold out,” he said.

Each residential project will have 500 units.

The remaining undeveloped land within Asiatown I.T Park will also be developed into offices to cater to IT and IT-enabled locators.

CHI chairman Antonino Aquino said the firm will accelerate the development of the projects in line with Cebu’s growing economy, resurgence of tourism, excellent talent pool and vibrant business climate.

Last year, CHI registered a consolidated revenue of P1.29 billion and a net income after tax of P302.19 million, lower than the previous year levels.

The after tax margin was at 23 percent compared to the previous year’s 27 percent.

“However, factoring out the effect of the 1.7 hectare one–time Cebu Business Park transaction in 2008, CHI exhibits an actual growth of nine percent in revenues and 18 percent in net income,” Monares said.

Its total assets stood at P5.77 billion at yearend with a two percent increase of P114.63 million. Of the total consolidated assets, P1.84 billion is classified as current, representing an increase of 17 percent from the previous year’s level.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 30, 2010.

Noli urges OFWs to invest in Pag-IBIG II program

By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) Updated April 30, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Vice President and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chairman Noli De Castro encouraged overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to enroll in the Pag-IBIG II program of the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund) that will give higher dividends.
“This is a voluntary contribution program open to Pag-IBIG members. The dividends under this program are even higher than what we give under your regular Pag-IBIG contributions,” De Castro said.
With an average dividend rate of 5.5 percent per annum, higher than what the banks can offer, members can generate savings of close to P80,000 in 10 years, or about P34,000 in five years for a minimum contribution of P500 monthly. The savings are tax free and guaranteed by the government.
De Castro explained that the funds from members’ contributions go into the members’ housing and multi-purpose loans.
During a meeting with OFWs in Hong Kong and Singapore last week for the financial literacy briefing organized by the Bureau of Treasury, De Castro also urged OFWs to consider the various retail Treasury bonds offered by the Philippine government.
“These small denominated peso or dollar/euro bonds offer competitive interest rates and are much better than what you can get from ordinary deposit accounts,” he said.
The briefing was aimed to present the various types of financial instruments that can serve as safe havens for the hard earned income of OFWs. 
With a minimum denomination of $100 and 100 euro, the bonds have a maturity of three and five years from issue date and cater to OFWs, migrant Filipinos, including their parents, children and allottees and residents with foreign-currency deposit units (FCDUs).
The bonds are considered tax-free since the tax for the bonds will be assumed by the government for OFWs and their beneficiaries.
The Vice President warned OFWs to be wary of people or companies offering investment schemes that offer “quick return and double your money back.” He said there are still a lot of unscrupulous elements out there offering “get rich quick” schemes which result in depositors left holding the proverbial “empty bag.”
He assured OFWs that the funds which will be generated from the government bond sale will help finance the country’s infrastructure projects and reduce the budget deficit.
The Bureau of Treasury reported that the government initially generated $346 million from the sale of the three- and five-year fixed rate RTBs with coupon rates of 2.875 percent and 4.125 percent respectively. The Bureau also sold 35 million euros of three-year bonds and 4 million euros of five-year bonds at 4.125 percent.
BPI Capital Corp., First Metro Investment Corp., Land Bank of the Philippines and PNB Capital and Investment Corp. are the joint issue managers for the bonds.

Subic investor says deal to lead to port monopoly

[ ] April 29, 2010

Amerasia International Services Inc. on Tuesday filed a criminal complaint at the Ombudsman against officials of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc. for sealing an irregular deal that will lead to a monopoly in the Subic ports.

Amerasia, a cargo handling operator at subic, said the contract was awarded to Harbour Centre as the project proponent. None of the other Subic locators submitted a counterproposal as they found the condition for such participation totally unfair.

In Amerasia’s complaint-affidavit signed by its president and chairman, Mario Lorenzo A. Yapjoco and George G. Schulze, Jr., respectively, SBMA and HCPTI officials were accused of “perpetrating, in conspiracy with each other” the crime defined in the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act as well as the crime defined in Article 186 of the Revised Penal Code” on monopolies and restraint of trade.

Co-accused are SBMA Administrator and CEO-chairman Armand C. Arreza, which recommended the approval of the Harbour Centre proposal. A second group of respondents comprise the SBMA board of directors headed by its chairman, Commodore Feliciano G. Salonga, which first approved in principle the HCPTI proposal and HCPTI officers, namely, Reghis M. Romero II, chairman; and Michael L. Romero, CEO.

The complaint contains factual evidence, which Ventura said, “established SBMA’s manifest partiality, evident bad faith, and gross negligence in approving the contract.”

Amerasia legal counsel Eulalio Ventura said, “ The SBMA-HCPTI contract effectively nullified, without due process, Amerasia’s valid and outstanding 25 years Lease and cargo handling operations contract with SBMA.”

FTI price tag cut to P7.5 billion-P9 billion from P15.9 billion

By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star) Updated April 29, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - From a valuation of P15.9 billion in 2009, the government’s Food Terminals Inc. (FTI) property in Taguig is now for sale for only P7.5 billion to P9 billion, Finance Secretary Margarito Teves said yesterday.

For the second time this year, the government has decided to lower the price of the agro-industrial property on hopes that it would finally be able to attract buyers for the prime asset.

“We are in the process of negotiations. We’re hoping to raise P7.5 to P9 billion,” Teves said.

In early February, the government also decided to lower the selling price of the property to P9 to P10 billion from a previous estimate of P13 billion.

However, a government source privy to the privatizatiion of FTI said the sale is unlikely to take place this year because investors are still on a wait-and-see stance on the results of the elections in May.

“People are holding on to their funds,” said the government source.

Teves, nonetheless, remains optimistic that the government would be able to sell FTI before June 30 as it is already in negotiations with interested parties.

Sources said the property has been offered to giant developers including the Ayala Group, Robinson’s Land and Henry Sy’s SM Development Corp.

FTI is a 120-hectare agro-industrial commercial estate in Taguig. It was originally built to be a food processing and consolidation center for agricultural products. It houses more than 300 small-to-medium scale companies engaged in different industries such as manufacturing, garments and electronics.

Of the 120-hectare property, the government is selling 103 hectares because the remaining 17 hectares are owned by the National Food Authority (NFA).

Last year, private property developers snubbed a public bidding for the property, resulting in a failure of bidding.

Four developers including the Ayala Land Inc. and the Gokongweis’ Robinsons Land Corp. earlier expressed interest in vying for the FTI property but none of them submitted bids during last year’s sale.

The government is counting on the FTI sale to boost revenues and plug an estimated record deficit of P293 billion this year.

Proceeds from the FTI sale will form part of the P30 billion programmed collections from privatization of state-owned assets this year.

Because of the setbacks in privatization of state-owned assets, the government’s budget deficit widened to P134.2 billion in the first quarter of the year from P119.7 billion recorded in the same period last year.

ALI allots P3 billion for new Makati project

By Ma. Elisa P. Osorio (The Philippine Star) Updated April 29, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Ayala Land Corp. will spend P3 billion for its new development, The Lerato at the Makati central business district (MCBD) North.

In an interview at the launch of The Lerato yesterday, Alveo Land President Dante M. Abando said that they have earmarked P3 billion for the three tower residential development and retail area of The Lerato.

During their pre-selling last April 15, Abando reported that  they have sold 115 of the 540 residential units of the first tower. This amounted to P500 million in sales and is a quarter of the entire inventory of the first tower. The first tower is expected to be completed by fourth quarter of 2015.

The first tower is composed of 420 studio units and 120 one bedroom unit. The studio is 30 square meters with an average price of P3 million while the one bedroom is 55 square meters for P5.5 million. Once sold completely, revenue for the first tower is expected to reach P1.65 billion.

Abando said they are targeting young urban achievers and small families whose monthly income ranges between P100,000 and P120,000 per month. He said earlier sales were mostly from local buyers and not the Overseas Filipino Market (OFW).

The entire project stands in a 9,800-square meter lot near the Reposo Area. It is close to commercial, retail and institutional landmarks like the Ayala malls, Ateneo Graduate School and De La Salle Graduate School of Business.

“Simply put, The Lerato is for the new Makati resident,” Abando said. “One that sees Makati not just as a corporate arena but appreciates it as a new frontier that combines work and recreation.”

The MCDB North is Ayala Land’s newest district in Makati. Abando said they will develop it as an integrated mixed use district.

Last year, Alveo Land contributed 31 percent of the total income of the residential business of the Ayala Group with P655 million net income after tax.

DMCI’s income jumped to P4.7b in ’09

[ ] April 28, 2010

DMCI Holdings Inc., the listed holding company of the Consunji family, said net income in 2009 grew by threefold to P4.7 billion from P1.68 billion in 2008 on strong showing of the company’s core businesses.

DMCI Holdings said in a filing with the Philippine Stock Exchange that consolidated revenues rose 38 percent to P29.7 billion from P21.1 billion a year ago, boosted by higher sales of water, construction, real estate and mining units.

Maynilad Water Services Inc., a joint venture with Metro Pacific Investments Corp., contributed P1.6 billion to the company’s total operations from just P30 million in 2008 on higher billed volumes and tariff.

The company said the water operating efficiencies of Maynilad improved as billed volumes grew 11.3 percent despite a slight dip in water supply. Non-revenue water slid to 59.67 percent from 63.81 percent in 2008.

The company’s construction business also doubled its net contributions to P794 million from P394 million a year ago. Construction of local buildings and infrastructure projects boosted the business while offshore works sustained the steel fabrication sector.

DM Consunji Inc., the company’s construction unit, registered net contributions of P500 million, up 2.5 times from P201 million in 2008, as construction works from new big-ticket projects were started and realized in 2009.

AG&P, the steel fabrication subsidiary of the company, posted a growth of 51 percent in net contributions from P193 million in 2008 to P292 million in 2009.

DMCI Holdings in early 2008 wanted to sell AG&P but the plan did not materialize due to the difficult economic environment. The company, instead, fully supported AG&P in 2009 with hopes of renewing and improving its business to become a fully contributing subsidiary.

The property unit posted a 48- percent increase in net contributions to P1 billion from P748 million as housing sales reached P6.96 billion from P4.7 billion a year ago.

The coal mining business, now operated by DMCI Holdings’ Semirara Mining Corp., more than doubled the income to P1.7 billion from P796 million. Sales volume rose 35 percent to 4.5 million metric tons from 3.3 million MT as coal exports reached new highs. Coal prices slightly improved by 2 percent despite a 17-percent increase in composite domestic prices.

Coal revenues jumped 37 percent to P11.6 billion in 2009 from P8.4 billion a year ago. Jenniffer B. Austria

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