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ALI firms up Ortigas plans

Posted on August 28, 2012 10:57:18 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

THE BOARD of Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) has approved its executive committee’s proposed tie-up with a faction of the Ortigas family for a deal that will hand the listed developer access to one of Metro Manila’s largest land banks.

Following a meeting last Friday, Ayala Land’s board endorsed “the strategic alliance that [was] entered into with the group led by Ignacio R. Ortigas” as it will allow the company to “participate in OCLP Holdings (Ortigas & Co. Limited Partnership Holdings, Inc.),” a disclosure to the local bourse stated yesterday.

Jaime E. Ysmael, Ayala Land senior vice-president and chief finance officer, declined to elaborate, saying in a text message: “We hope to provide more information as we firm up plans.”

Ayala Land had announced back in June that its executive committee had authorized the exploration of a partnership with the Ortigas group, earmarking a P15-billion initial investment for this effort.

The announcement of an Ayala Land-Ortigas alliance comes after OCLP Holdings told BusinessWorld in June that it recently purchased the 34% stake held by Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. (HSBC) in the company, halting a possible buy-in by the Sy-led SM Group.

OCLP Holdings is the parent of Ortigas & Co., the firm behind the Greenhills, the Valle Verde and the Greenmeadows subdivisions, the Ortigas Center business district, and the Greenhills Shopping Center.

Ortigas traces its roots to the 1920s when the Augustinians sold 4,033 hectares in what is mostly present-day Mandaluyong City to Frank W. Dudley and Francisco Ortigas. At present, the company holds a 50-hectare land bank in the cities of Quezon, San Juan and Pasig.

Ayala Land’s board also approved the issuance of the fifth tranche of its so-called Homestarter Bonds valued at P3 billion, subject to the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the disclosure added.

The company’s Homestarter Bonds, whose first tranche was issued back in 2006, aims to raise funds for general corporate purposes by offering retail investors an opportunity to finance the purchase of an Ayala Land property.

The bonds will be priced at 100% of its face value, and will mature three years from its initial listing date.

BPI Capital Corp., China Banking Corp., PNB Capital & Investment Corp., and RCBC Capital Corp. will be serving as underwriters for the bond issuance, Ayala Land added.

The company also cleared the distribution of cash dividends worth 10 centavos per common share on Oct. 8, payable to all stockholders on record as of Sept. 17. This is a 42% increase from the seven-centavo cash dividend issued in the same period last year, the developer noted.

Ayala Land was organized in 1988 when parent firm Ayala Corp. decided to spin off its real estate division into an independent subsidiary to enhance management focus on its real estate business. It went public in 1991.

For 2012, Ayala Land has allotted a record P47 billion in capital expenditures to fund around 67 new projects, the acquisition of new properties, and a possible partnership with the Ortigas family.

Ayala Land shares surged by 4.20% to P22.35 yesterday. -- Franz G. de la Fuente          
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