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Sta. Lucia eyeing $150M from share sale

Posted on March 06, 2011 10:34:53 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]
LISTED PROPERTY developer Sta. Lucia Land, Inc. plans to raise as much as $150 million or about P6.5 billion in the fourth quarter to increase its public float.
Proceeds of the follow-on offering will bankroll a five-year expansion plan, an executive said late last week.
“Fourth quarter is our target but if we can get out earlier, we will do that ... [The amount is] $100 million-$150 million but the formula has not been settled,” David M. de la Cruz, senior vice-president for finance and investor relations of Sta. Lucia Land, said in a press briefing.
Mr. de la Cruz said the follow-on offering would involve a secondary share sale, which has yet to be finalized. A secondary offering involves the sale of shares held by existing shareholders.
Sta. Lucia Land has tapped Asian Alliance Investment Corp. to lead the local component of the share sale.
“The follow-on offering will be spearheaded by the foreign investment house,” Mr. de la Cruz said.
The property developer is in talks to hire UBS Investments Philippines, Inc. as its international adviser.
Depending on the mix of primary and secondary shares to be sold, Mr. de la Cruz said the company might end up with a public float of 15%-30%.
To date, the company has a 2.8% public ownership. Late last November, the Philippine Stock Exchange started implementing the 10% minimum public float rule as a requirement for continued listing.
A listed company that does not meet the prescribed minimum percentage of public ownership will be given a grace period of 12 months to comply. Erring firms will be slapped with penalties. Listed companies that do not comply after a three-year period will be suspended from trading and could be delisted.
Early this month, Sta. Lucia Land announced a five-year, P11-billion investment for new housing and commercial projects to take advantage of high market demand.
“Initially, the number that came out is P11 billion. But that is going to be dynamic as we go along,” Mr. de la Cruz said.
The real estate firm wants to sell more than 3,600 residential units this year alone under the five-year expansion program.
Projects include five residential towers at the back of the Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall in Cainta, Rizal. It will also have a three-level podium.
Furthermore, the property developer will put up several condominium projects in the provinces of Rizal, Cebu, and Davao, as well as General Santos City, Mr. de la Cruz said.
New property projects will also rise in Batangas, Tarlac and Laguna.
The company is planning to allot space for business process outsourcing firms in malls to generate recurring revenues and increase foot traffic, Mr. de la Cruz said.
To date, the firm has eight million square meters of land holdings around the country, of which some are under joint venture deals with land owners.
Sta. Lucia Land has so far developed more than 9,000 hectares of prime property in more than 200 projects nationwide.
Mr. de la Cruz said Sta. Lucia Land’s profits grew by double digits last year from the P22.96 million recorded in 2009.
Sta. Lucia Land was originally Zipporah Mining and Industrial Corp. It underwent a restructuring program in 1996, shifting its focus to real estate.
Shares in Sta. Lucia, whose profits surged to P94.87 million in the nine months that ended in September last year from P17.84 million in the previous year, declined by P0.01 to close at P1.14 each on Friday. -- Neil Jerome C. Morales

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