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SM property arm eyes five more projects next year

Posted on 07:07 PM, August 27, 2010 [ BusinessWorld Online ]

SM Development Corp., the property development arm of the Sy mall and banking conglomerate, is eyeing further expansion next year with at least five projects, an executive said on Friday.

The property developer is already looking at a minimum of five locations for new projects. Next week, the Sy-led conglomerate will start non-deal international road shows to update potential investors, the official said.

"In the line up next year, [SM Development] will keep on adding new projects," Jose T. Sio, chief finance officer of SM Investments Corp., told reporters at the sidelines of the 4th Annual Best Financial Institutions awarding ceremony in Makati.

"Initially that is five project locations, usually one project per location," Mr. Sio said.

SM Investments, the holdings firm of the SM Group, has five core businesses -- retail (SM Retail, Inc.), malls (SM Prime Holdings, Inc.), banking (Banco de Oro Unibank, Inc. and China Banking Corp.), property (SM Development) and hotel and entertainment (SM Hotels and Conventions Corp.).

"SM Development is now becoming the number one [property developer] in terms of the volume sold," Mr. Sio claimed.

For the non-deal road shows next week, Mr. Sio said: "We are going to London, Denver and Boston."

"We go there every year, we visit our investors and update them on what is happening," Mr. Sio said.

He said the company still has no definite plans of tapping the debt market. At end-June, the conglomerate had about $1 billion in cash. In May, SM Development borrowed P10 billion through corporate notes for "land-banking."

Profits of SM Development Corp. jumped by 24% to P1.3 billion in the first half due to the strong takeup of new projects. Revenues went up by 77% to P4.1 billion while pre-selling more than tripled to P12.4 billion in the first semester.

SM Development has 13 residential projects in the market.

Shares in SM Development shed 1.4% or P0.10 to close at P7.00 apiece on Friday. -- Neil Jerome C. Morales

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