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ALI ‘cautiously optimistic’ amid global woes

    Published : Monday, November 14, 2011 00:00 [ ]

AYALA Land Inc. remains cautiously optimis tic about the prospects of the residential sector because of concerns of a slowdown in the United States and the debt crisis in Europe.

Jaime Ysmael, ALI chief finance officer, told reporters that take-up of its projects remain robust, citing the growing domestic economy, continued flow of remittances, robust business process outsourcing industry and the high level of liquidity in the system.

“Right now, things are still good but there will come a time when it will be more challenged. The supply will outpace demand but for now, we still see it as a good market to play in,” said Ysmael. ALI acknowledged overseas concerns may “temporarily” affect consumer sentiment as Filipinos worry about job security and the more affluent customers want to keep themselves liquid.

“The underlying demand remains quite strong, but then again despite that comment, we are still cautious. While optimism is there, we would like to make sure that we have the appropriate risk management in place to be able to ride out any difficulty that come our way,” Ysmael said.

ALI said it remains on track to hit its target launches of 20,000 units this year, double last year’s figures, but the property developer is “prepared to step on the brakes if necessary.” At end-September, ALI had launched over 10,000 units, half of its full-year projection.

The real estate firm expects its launch target this year will be the company’s new base in terms of future roll-outs, driven by its low-cost unit Amaia Land, its most aggressive brand representing 32 to 34 percent of Philippine households.

“Our launch plan for the year actually mirrors the shape of the pyramid. We said that our thrust is to extend our offering to tap the base of the pyramid, the unserved market which Amaia is addressing,” Ysmael said.

In terms of value, Ayala Land Premier continues to dominate sales take-up, but affordable brand Avida Land has generated “quite a bit of revenues” this year in terms of unit take-up.

In the first nine months, sales take-up value reached P38.96 billion, equivalent to an average monthly sales take-up of P4.33 billion or 57 percent higher than the average achieved for the whole of 2010.

Robust real estate sales fuelled cash flow “in a big way” that allowed the company to defer planned borrowings to finance the construction of its projects. ALI posted a 33-percent increase in earnings to P5.23 billion in the first nine months of the year, 96 percent of what the company reported for the entire 2010.

Its shares added P0.28 to close at P15.94 each on Friday.

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