PHILIPPINE REAL ESTATE and RELATED NEWS in and around the country . . .

Tourist influx grows 11% in H1

By Donnabelle L. Gatdula (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 1, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The influx of international tourists continues to improve growing 11 percent in the first half of 2013 to 2.4 million, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. told The STAR.
The arrival figure, he said, makes up 45 percent of the projected 5.5-million arrivals for the year.
He said the sustained growth in foreign tourist arrivals signals the country’s robust efforts to improve its tourism industry.
Jimenez said while data from United Nations World Travel Organization (UNWTO) showed the Philippines lagging behind its neighboring countries in attracting foreign tourists, this may not reflect the actual picture.
“The Philippines is not part of a contiguous land mass unlike our neighbors. We are in the middle of the ocean,” he said.
“What the UNWTO data may have counted are the number of tourists visiting each country in Southeast Asia, even those crossing borders and/or making frequent visits by land. For example, citizens of Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore..crossing borders every day and being counted as tourists. We have no way of doing that here,” he pointed out.
“What we only have are air arrivals data which the UN data does not show. About 98 percent of our visitors arrive here by plane. Even the tourists from our neighbors would have to travel by plane just to visit here. Just imagine, a Malaysian tourist could visit Thailand and Singapore by land. The same with Vietnam, where its citizens can just cross borders from Laos and Cambodia,” he said.
Jimenez admitted that being an archipelago, in a way, is “our disadvantage.”
“We have to explain this to our people. We are really making big improvement in our tourism industry. We can not compare apples with oranges. We should look at it in terms of income. Capturing over four million foreign visitors now is a big push to our tourism industry and the economy as a whole,” he said.
The tourism department has estimated that total visitor receipts could reach P1.504 trillion in 2013 from P1.308 trillion in 2012.
These figures would translate to 6.2 percent and 6.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for 2012 and 2013, respectively.
In the latest UNWTO data, the Philippines’ international tourism arrivals in 2012 stood at 4.3 million as against Malaysia (25 million); Thailand (22 million) and Vietnam (6.8 million).
But the country’s tourism receipts have steadily increased to $4 billion in 2012 from $3.19 billion in 2011 and $2.6 billion in 2010.

6 bidders eye SSS lot

By Jennifer Ambanta | Posted on Aug. 01, 2013 at 12:00am
Six companies have expressed interest to bid for the P2.4-billion property of Social Security System at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, SSS president and chief executive Emilio de Quiros Jr. said Wednesday.
De Quiros said six companies, including a law firm, purchased the terms of reference for the bidding of the 8,300-square meter lot scheduled in September.
He said in an interview SSS was optimistic more parties would join the bidding for the property, as the deadline for the submission of eligibility documents approached.
“[There are] six groups that purchased the TOR, so we’re very happy with the good reception that we’re getting,” De Quiros said.
He said the fund would disclose the final list of bidders after the sale of terms of reference was concluded.

Cavite-Laguna road is a dream come true for big property firms

By Ray Eñano | Posted on Aug. 01, 2013 at 12:01am |
Philippine property companies this early are taking advantage of the publicity being generated by the proposed Cavite-Laguna Expressway project that will link the Manila-Cavite Expressway and South Luzon Expressway in the south.
Real estate agents and broker companies have printed handouts highlighting the proximity of their property projects to the 47-kilometer road project. The P35.6-billion project has now become a major come-on for prospective home and lot buyers interested in settling along the periphery of the toll road.
Ayala Land Inc., the country’s biggest property developer, was among the first builder to express interest in the project, along with infrastructure companies San Miguel Corp. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp.
Ayala Land is developing several properties in Cavite and Laguna that will have access to the Calax. The four-lane road will start from the CavitEx in Kawit, Cavite and end at the SLEX-Mamplasan Interchange in Biñan, Laguna. It will have interchanges in nine locations, namely Kawit, Daang Hari, Governor’s Drive, Aguinaldo Highway, Silang, Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay, Laguna Blvd., Technopark and a toll barrier before SLEX.
Calax and its interchanges, for one, will provide access to  Ayala Land Premier’s projects, namely Santierra at Nuvali, Ayala Westgrove Heights, Ayala Greenfield Estates and Montecito, all in Laguna. Also benefiting from Calax are Avida Land’s low-cost housing projects in the two provinces.
Silent partners?
Ayala Land is so far among the most vocal in its interest to construct the Calax. No other major property companies, except for AboitizLand Inc., have come forward to purchase bid documents from the Public Works Department. A source, however, suspects that some of the big property companies like Filinvest Land Inc., Megaworld Corp., Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc.  of former Senator Manuel Villar and Robinsons Land Corp. might have forged a joint venture agreement with among the 11 groups that initially expressed interest in the road project.

Eight more companies, including the Aboitiz Group, Korea Expressway Corp. and AlloyMTD Philippines Inc. of Malaysia, have expressed interest to bid for the Cavite-Laguna Expressway project.
The eight new bidders are Korea Expressway, AlloyMTD, Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte. Ltd., Megawide Engineering Excellence, Leighton Contractors (Philippines) Inc., Makati Development Corp., EGIS Projects Developer of Infrastructure & Service and Aboitizland Inc.
Ayala Land’s parent Ayala Corp. is bidding through unit AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp. Another notable bidder is Korea Expressway, a privately-owned business that operates the toll roads of South Korea, while EGIS is a French engineering group of companies involved in the areas of infrastructure and transport systems, planning, water and environment.
Malaysia-based AlloyMTD, a leading Asian infrastructure conglomerate operating in the global market, built the 36-kilometer South Luzon Expressway, while AboitizLand is a member of conglomerate Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc., which has interests in power generation and distribution, banking, shipping and property.
Public Works, the implementing agency of the project, has modified the bid documents from a combination of official development assistance and public-private partnership to a “pure” private-public partnership.
It modified the bid documents, after San Miguel made an upfront payment of P11 billion to the government for the NAIA Expressway project.
The Calax is the agency’s third infrastructure project under the government’s PPP program. The first project, the Daang Hari-SLEX, was awarded to the Ayala group, while the second, the NAIA Expressway, went to Optimal Infrastructure Development of San Miguel.
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Casino operator turns a profit

Posted on July 31, 2013 10:48:35 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]
BLOOMBERRY Resorts Corp. saw a turnaround in its second-quarter financial performance after it opened Solaire Resort & Casino -- its sole operating asset -- last March, according to a financial report the company disclosed through the Philippine Stock Exchange yesterday.
The company said it booked a net income of P22.68 million in the April-June period, a turnaround from P126.94-million losses recorded in the same quarter last year, according to unaudited consolidated financial statements of comprehensive income.
Solaire, an integrated casino complex, started operations last March 16, making it the first of four licensees at the Bagong Nayong Filipino Entertainment City in Parañaque City to start operations.
Bloomberry generated P3.6 billion in total revenues in the second quarter, the company said in its report.
In a separate statement yesterday, the company said gross gaming revenues in the quarter amounted to P3.32 billion, while non-gaming revenues from the hotel, food and beverage, retail and other operations totaled some P267 million.
Stripping out promotional allowances of P576.4 million, gaming revenues accounted for 92% of total revenues while non-gaming revenues and interest income accounted for 7.4% and 0.4%, respectively, of the total.
Total expenses stood at P3.658 billion in the second quarter with the bulk accounted for by “operating expenses followed by cost of sales, interest expenses and financing charges and foreign exchange losses.”
Second-quarter gains notwithstanding, the company’s losses still widened to P1.033 billion in the first half from P260.85 million on higher expenses for the completion of Solaire.
Bloomberry, in the statement, said it was focusing on ramping up its gaming business by unveiling various programs, events, promotions and other strategic marketing activities.
“It was during the second quarter of 2013 when the group signed up several junket operators, bringing in foreign VIP players,” it said.
Enrique K. Razon, Jr., Bloomberry chairman and president, said second-quarter profitability is expected to be sustained.
“It is gratifying to know that Solaire has begun to generate profit after only a few months,” Mr. Razon was quoted in the statement as saying. “I am confident that this trend will continue.”
“At the same time, there is no let-up in our ramp-up programs, many of which are already on stream,” he added.
Shares of Bloomberry added 10 centavos or 0.85% to close P11.90 apiece yesterday from P11.80 each last Tuesday. -- C. H. C. Venzon  

SM Prime posts 15% income growth

By Neil Jerome C. Morales (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 1, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - SM Prime Holdings Inc., the largest mall developer and operator in the Philippines, continued its robust earnings growth in the second quarter on the back of strong consumer spending.
In a regulatory filing, the newly-consolidated property arm of tycoon Henry Sy reported a P2.85-billion profit in the second quarter, up 15 percent from P2.49 billion a year ago.
This was supported by a 16-percent growth in revenues to P8.72 billion from P7.53 billion a year earlier.
“New malls opened in 2012 and 2013 with a total gross floor area of 698,000 square meters (sqm) largely pushed rental revenues higher, add to that the higher contribution of SM’s China malls,” SM Prime said.
Specifically, SM Prime has started commercial operations of SM City Olongapo, SM City Consolacion, SM City San Fernando, SM City General Santos, SM Lanang Premier and SM Aura Premier.
The latest figures allowed SM Prime to post P5.64 billion in earnings in the first half, 15 percent higher compared with P4.92 billion a year ago.
“Revenues for the January to June period expanded 14 percent to P16.55 billion from P14.57 billion during the same period the past year,” SM Prime said, adding that same-store rental picked up seven percent.
In the first semester, operating expenses rose 13 percent to P7.71 billion from P6.79 billion “due to new malls opened in 2012 and 2013 and the increase in administrative expenses and film rentals,” SM Prime said
Hence, income from operations climbed 14 percent to P8.84 billion from P7.78 billion last year.
The country’s largest mall builder expects growth to remain strong for the rest of the year.
 “SM Prime continues to deliver strong revenue growth affirming our positive outlook for 2013,” said SM Prime president Hans T. Sy.
“The increasing patronage and support that SM Supermalls receive from its customers drive us to deliver better services and concepts that cater to the needs of everyone,” Sy added.
By the end of this year, SM Prime will have 48 malls in the Philippines, up from the current 46, and five in China with an estimated combined gross floor area of 6.9 million sqm.
For the next three years, SM Prime allotted P88 billion to build new malls and expand existing shopping centers in the Philippines and China.
SM Prime will become the umbrella firm of the SM Group’s property businesses. Late in May, holding firm SM Investments Corp. consolidated SM Prime, residential builder SM Development Corp., private firm SM Land Inc. and Highlands Prime Inc. in a P279-billion transaction that created Southeast Asia’s largest integrated property firm.

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