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Polar Property raises capital to jumpstart Starmalls expansion

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña (The Philippine Star) Updated June 27, 2012 12:00 AM 
MANILA, Philippines - Villar-led Polar Property Holdings Inc. has obtained the Securities and Exchange Commission’s nod to raise its authorized capital to P17 billion from only P5.5 billion.

Polar Property told the Philippine Stock Exchange it also secured approval to change its name to Starmalls Inc. in line with the consolidation of the Villar family’s retail and office building assets under one basket.

The merger of Polar and Manuela Corp. would be implemented via a share swap scheme, with the former issuing 3.53 billion common shares worth P3.53 billion in exchange for a 98 percent stake in the latter.

With the merger, Starmalls aims to become a major player in the retailing business and compete head on with other BPO building developers.

Manuela opened its first shopping mall in Las Piñas City in 1979 and three other malls between 1982 and 1996 -- Starmall Las Piñas Annex, Starmall EDSA in Mandaluyong and Starmall Alabang in Muntinlupa.

The Villar family took over Manuela in 2008 after succumbing to the ill-effects of the Asian financial crisis in 2007.

In April 2012, or barely three months after the termination of its rehabilitation program, Manuela opened its newest mall, Starmall San Jose del Monte, a three-level structure with gross floor area of 35,700 square meters and the first shopping complex in the biggest city in Bulacan.

The project brought Manuela’s mall portfolio to five, with an aggregate gross floor area of 363,000 sqm and 1,777 tenants.

Manuela also owns the Worldwide Corporate Center in Mandaluyong City, which has been accredited by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) as an IT building and currently houses some of the major BPO players in the country, including Sykes and Stream Global.

The Starmall group has set a P15 billion capital expenditure program over the next five years as it embarks on a nationwide expansion which will include the opening of new malls in Visayas and Mindanao.

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