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Ayala Land doubles budget share of hotel segment for 2012

Posted on April 18, 2012 11:16:49 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]
BY FRANZ JONATHAN G. DE LA FUENTE, Reporter

LISTED DEVELOPER Ayala Land, Inc. is ramping up spending for its hotel portfolio this year to take advantage of the government’s focus on growing the tourism industry.

“We will be spending around 13% of our total capex this year for hotels as tourism is seen to be the next driver of the economy,” Jaime E. Ysmael, Ayala Land chief finance officer, told BusinessWorld at the sidelines of a press briefing following the company’s annual stockholders meeting yesterday.

This is higher than the 6% budget share allotted for hotel development last year out of a total 2011 capital expenditure of P29.91 billion, according to the company’s annual report.

For 2012, Ayala Land has allotted a record P37 billion in capex to fund around 67 new projects with an estimated sales value of P90 billion, as well as for the acquisition of new properties moving forward.

“With the impact of the government’s new tourism campaign and the PPP (public-private partnership) initiatives that will improve the country’s connectivity and access, there is no way but up for Philippine tourism, in addition to the country’s natural attractiveness in terms of people and places,” Mr. Ysmael added.

This year, Ayala Land will be opening the 349-room Holiday Inn and Suites Makati in Ayala Center, which is expected to be fully operational by early next year
Holiday Inn will cater to a broader target market than more upscale accommodations in the area, and will also strengthen the company’s hotel portfolio in the central business district, Jose Emmanuel H. Jalandoni, Ayala Land senior-vice president, said in a separate interview yesterday.

At present, Ayala Land’s hotel portfolio of 634 rooms consists of Hotel Intercontinental in Makati City and the Cebu City Marriott.

In addition, Ayala Land will be rolling out the first two hotels of its flagship Kukun boutique hotel brand this year.

“Bonifacio Global City will open this October, while CDO (Cagayan de Oro) should follow and open in the latter part of the year as well,” Mr. Jalandoni said, adding that Kukun Davao is slated to open early next year, followed by Kukun Nuvali in Laguna in 2014.

Ayala Land will also be beefing up its resort complex in El Nido, Palawan, by opening its Pangulasian Island Resort this year, in addition to its existing Lagen, Milinoc, and Apulit Island Resorts.

“Pangulasian is a very high-end project, and is located in a pristine beach in El Nido. We will be pre-opening this May, and the resort’s full-blast operations will take place in October,” Mr. Jalandoni said.

Moving forward, Ayala Land is eyeing other sites for future hotel and tourism developments in order to meet its 1,012-room target in the next two years, but nothing has been finalized yet, he added.

This, as Ayala Land President and Chief Executive Antonino T. Aquino hinted at a robust first quarter for the real estate firm, which puts the company on track to attain an earlier-announced P10-billion profit target by 2014.

Yesterday, Ayala Land shareholders went on to approve an earlier-announced capital restructuring in order to bring down its foreign ownership level to a desired 19% from the 38% recorded end-January, in light of a recent high court ruling on meeting a 40% foreign equity cap.

Shareholders have allowed the company to buy and retire 13.04 billion outstanding, non-voting preferred shares and issue 13.04 billion voting, preferred share via a stock rights offer, Ayala Land shares rose 1.62% to P21.90 yesterday.
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