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First Holdings eyes Rockwell takeover



by Jenniffer B. Austria
[ manilastandardtoday.com ] June 21, 2010

First Philippine Holdings Corp., a holding company controlled by the Lopez group, is interested in acquiring the entire 51-percent interest of Manila Electric Co. in Rockwell Land Corp.
Incoming First Philippine Holdings chairman and chief executive Federico Lopez said the company was open to the possibility of purchasing Meralco’s stake in Rockwell Land, stressing that property development was not part of the power utility firm’s core business.
First Holdings owns 49 percent of Rockwell Land after purchasing the 24.5-percent stake of Benpres Holdings Corp. in the property company for P1.5 billion Meralco owns the 51-percent balance.
Lopez said First Holdings wanted Rockwell Land because of its long affiliation with the Lopez group.
“I think it’s a very strong brand for us. It’s a brand that has been quite affiliated with [the Lopez] family. I think if ever we pour more resources into it, it will help the company’s brand,” he said.
Rockwell Land, one of the country’s premier real estate development companies, is responsible for developing the Rockwell Center in Makati. It has other projects, such as the Rockwell Business Center in Ortigas and The Grove in Pasig.
Rockwell Land’s revenues increased by a quarter to P1.02 billion in the first quarter of the year while net income was flat at P158 million due to higher expenses.
Condominium sales rose 13.9 percent to P719 million on higher revenue recognition from current projects, namely Number One Rockwell and Edades Tower and Garden Villas in Makati and The Grove along C-5 Road in Pasig City.
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