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SM Investments plays down interest in auction of FTI site

Posted on December 25, 2011 09:36:35 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

SM INVESTMENTS Corp. hinted at its waning interest in developing the 120-hectare, state-owned Food Terminal, Inc. (FTI) property in Taguig City, saying it had enough projects nearby.

“If you have the Fort already, FTI is [too] near,” Jose T. Sio, SM Investments chief finance officer, told BusinessWorld in a chance interview earlier this month, comparing the government lot to former military base Bonifacio Global City.

“Between the Fort and FTI, customers will go to the Fort. The developments there are already good, and there we can stand alone already,” Mr. Sio said.

The Sy-led conglomerate had been reported to put up an SM mall along C-5 road in the area, which is already home to commercial, residential and office developments by Ayala Land, Inc. and Megaworld Corp., among others.

SM Investments, through its subsidiaries, has been trying to penetrate the area, earlier joining auctions for joint-venture contracts covering military lots controlled by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.

The firm had also signalled interest in FTI, last valued at P13 billion as of its last appraisal in 2010, noting however that it was concerned over the risk of developing such a large property.

“It’s all about location,” Mr. Sio added.

FTI was supposed to be the centerpiece asset of the government’s 2011 privatization program, and is one of the largest industrial complexes in Metro Manila.

Firms from light- to medium-scale industries have established their plants and facilities in the complex. They are engaged in various lines of production and services such as electronics, food, transport, garments, and general warehousing, FTI’s Web site states.

However, the property’s privatization failed to take off in 2009 and 2010 due to poor global economic conditions.

Last week, Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima announced that the bidding for FTI has been moved to next year pending a new reappraisal by state-run Land Bank of the Philippines.

Apart from the SM Group, other firms that had expressed interest in FTI included Ayala Land, Megaworld and Gokongwei-led Robinsons Land Corp.

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