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Villar to beef up capital of retail unit

By Neil Jerome C. Morales (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 19, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Villar family is beefing up the capitalization of its retail company and private holding firm as it pursues expansion projects.
Paolo A. Villar Inc. (PAVI) and Finds Convenience Stores Inc. are set to be beneficiaries of fresh capital infusion, officials said.
“Right now, the capital of PAVI is P1 billion but (CEO Manuel Paolo Villar) is increasing it to P3 billion to P5 billion next year. This is to fund his planned investments,” said former Senate president Manuel B. Villar.
The capitalization can be further increased in the next few years depending on expansion opportunities. To date, PAVI is into water distribution through Prime Asset Ventures Inc. and retail electricity supply through Primewater Infrastructure Corp. Both companies are focused on serving the needs of its community projects.
“On the infrastructure side, we still continue to be very interested in this. We will participate (in biddings) when the terms are good,” said PAVI CEO Villar.
For instance, the group is interested to join the auction for the 27.5-kilometer Cavite-Laguna Expressway through a partnership.
On mining, the Villar family’s Queensberry Mining & Development Corp. has invested more than P3 billion to secure a significant minority stake in the Kingking gold-copper project in Compostela Valley.

The mine, considered one of the largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits in the world, covers 1,656 hectares. Listed among the top priority projects by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the mine has estimated gold deposits of 10.3 million ounces and copper deposits of 5.4 billion pounds.
“There’s a lot of commercial potential there,” the younger Villar said.
“We’re obviously very bullish about the Philippines in general. The opportunities are out there and I think we can do a lot to develop the country at the same time,” he added.
For the retail business, Finds will be rebranded into All Day convenience stores.
“We will definitely end the year with 100 stores, mostly in Luzon but we want to go nationwide,” the former senator said.
So far, the Villar family has around 60 convenience stores. The capitalization of Finds will be doubled to P1 billion from P500 million to support the expansion.
Listed units Starmalls Inc. and Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc. will also increase their recurring income portfolio.
“We’ll be increasing our leasable space continuously every year both for Starmalls and Vista Land,” former Senate president Villar said.
Last year, Starmalls announced it is spending P15 billion to expand malls nationwide in the next five years, particularly in the Visayas and Mindanao. Starmalls, formerly Polar Property Holdings Corp., has seven commercial centers and is putting up five more.
Starmalls will also be riding the increasing demand for business process outsourcing office space.
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.
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