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Lucio Co conglomerate bares mall strategy

Posted on September 02, 2013 10:14:07 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

LISTED Cosco Capital, Inc. plans to acquire shopping centers to fast-track its foray into community malls, officials of the holding firm of retail tycoon Lucio C. Co said on Friday last week.

Teofilo A. Henson, a company director who is in charge of Cosco’s real estate business, said the firm is looking to build its first community mall in the province of Cagayan.

“Right now, we are looking at Tuguegarao. That is a possible site. We have studies now ongoing,” Mr. Henson told reporters on the sidelines of the company’s stockholders’ meeting in Muntinlupa City.

He also said the firm may also acquire existing malls to move “faster” in this foray.

“There are also existing malls that were offered to us. So we are evaluating [the offers],” Mr. Henson said, declining to name the malls, which according to him are located in Luzon.

Cosco President Leonardo B. Dayao, in his report to stockholders that day, said the company plans to open its first community mall “in 2014.”

Mr. Dayao had said in May that the company was looking to spend P400 million for each of the eight community malls it plans to build in the next three years. These malls will add to 192 supermarkets of Cosco subsidiary Puregold Price Club, Inc. as of end-June.

LIQUOR DISTRIBUTION
At the same time, Mr. Dayao said, company has begun “mass market” distribution of its imported liquor product, Excelente brandy.

“We began the mass market [distribution] of Excelente in June,” he said.

Mr. Dayao also said the company hopes to seal distribution agreements with other supermarkets aside from Puregold and S&R.

The company targets to sell 500,000 to one million cases of Excelente brandy in the next two to three years, Jose Paulino L. Santamarina, president of Cosco unit Premiere Wine and Spirits, Inc., said on the sidelines of the meeting.

“We just hope we can take 5% of the local market in two to three year,” said Mr. Dayao, who noted that the local market is dominated by Emperador Distillers, Inc.

Cosco’s net income surged to P488.30 million in the first half from P1.42 million a year ago after absorbing various assets of the Co family early this year. The group of businessman Lucio C. Co early this year infused P74.8 billion worth of equity in the company -- formerly named Alcorn Gold Resources Corp. -- by transferring to it:

• a 51% stake in supermarket operator Puregold Price Club;

• 100% stake in commercial property developer and lessors Ellimac Prime Holdings, Inc.; Go Fay & Company Incorporada; SVF Corp.;

Nation Realty, Inc.; 118 Holdings, Inc.; Patagonia Holdings Corp.; Fertuna Holdings Corp.;

• 100% stake in liquor distributors Premier Wine and Spirits; Montosco, Inc.; Meritus Prime Distributions, Inc.; and

• 100% stake in oil storage tanks and facilities lessor Pure Petroleum Corp.

Cosco shares shed four centavos or 0.39% to close P10.10 apiece yesterday from P10.14 each last Friday. -- Cliff Harvey C. Venzon      
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