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Property firm ACM Landholdings postpones listing debut

Posted on April 08, 2012 09:45:40 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]
BY FRANZ JONATHAN G. DE LA FUENTE, Reporter

NICHE DEVELOPER ACM Landholdings, Inc., has once again called off its planned initial public offering (IPO) despite improved market conditions, saying it would rather add to its project portfolio first.

“The consensus of our major shareholders is that we really do not need to rush our IPO program. At the earliest, we might do our IPO in the latter part of next year,” Carolina S. Osteria, ACM Landholdings chief financial officer, told BusinessWorld in a telephone interview last week.

“I think for 2012, we are going to ‘fatten the calf’ once again. We are lining up a few projects in the pipeline, the outcome of which will not be realized until late next year,” Ms. Osteria added.

ACM Landholdings’ latest withdrawal marks its fourth failed attempt to list on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), with earlier IPO plans being shelved in 1997, 2008, and 2011, even if a due diligence was already completed in its 2008 attempt.

The property developer, which caters to seafarers and their families, postponed its P1-billion IPO bid last year to the third quarter of 2012, citing unfavorable economic conditions back then.

The latest postponement comes even as the PSE has shown marked improvement from year-ago levels, with the benchmark PSE index (PSEi) gaining 16.8% to 5,107.73 at the close of the first quarter versus the first trading day of the year.

This is the index’s highest gain since the third quarter of 2010, and higher than the PSEi’s close of 4,055.14 in the same period last year, according to earlier reports.

At least two other IPOs have been lined up amid the stock exchange’s robust performance: GT Capital Holdings, Inc. and East West Banking Corp., which are set to go public this month and next month, respectively.

Nevertheless, ACM Landholdings remains optimistic that it will be able to exploit the market’s upbeat sentiments especially for the property sector next year.

“The best is yet to come for property. I do not think the OFW (overseas Filipino workers) market will dry up any moment,” Ms. Osteria noted.

In the meantime, the company plans to tap internally-generated cash to fund at least four new property projects for 2012, Ms. Osteria said.

“We are lining up new products anchored on our core market, which is housing for the OFWs. There are a lot of possibilities,” she said.

Further, ACM Landholdings may also look to forge new deals with entities keen to invest in the company.

“We may have new investors coming in. We are hoping to close the deals soon. When eventually we do the IPO, you will see a lineup of shareholders who have more clout and credibility in the local business scene,” Ms. Osteria said.

ACM Landholdings, established in 1992, is a niche real estate company based in Cavite and Batangas that caters primarily to end-users and first-time home buyers. It recognized revenues of P823 million in 2010 versus P600 million in 2009, according to an earlier report.
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