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More ALI-SM Prime partnerships possible

By MST Business | Nov. 10, 2014 at 11:01pm

The Ayala, Sy and Ortigas families, which own vast property holdings in the Philippines, will likely build joint venture projects that will further expand the  asset portfolio of the three groups.

SM Prime Holdings Inc. of retail tycoon Henry Sy is looking at a fruitful working relationship with Ayala Land Inc. and the Ortigas Group following their decision to enter into a partnership agreement.

“It was a proposal that was laid at the table that we felt maybe rather than stressing ourselves out, we just decided to see what we can do together,” SM Prime president Hans Sy told reporters at the sidelines of a forum Monday.

Sy said he “cannot divulge anything yet” on the possible projects that the three might develop together.

“I don’t want to preempt anyone yet,” Sy said.

Ayala Land Inc. and SM Prime ended a two-year legal feud over the control of vast landholdings owned by the Ortigas Group.

SM Prime and Ayala Land issued separate disclosures to the stock exchange Friday  that the two developers, along with groups controlled by Francisco Ortigas and Rafael Ortigas, signed an agreement to drop all lawsuits relating to the ownership and management of the family’s OCLP Holdings Inc.

The parties said they agreed “to cause the termination of all cases relating to the ownership and management of OCLP Holdings Inc., which owns Ortigas and Company Ltd. Partnership.”

“SMPH and ALI will enter into partnership with FOG and ROG. This strategic alliance will further enhance the properties in the Ortigas area, and create maximum value for their various stakeholders,” the developers said.

The alliance ended the two-year rivalry of  Ayala and SM over a stake in OCLP and its land holdings. Ayala and SM have also fought over a 300-hectare (741-acre) reclamation project on Manila Bay, a 7.7-hectare property in Negros Occidental and which mall would be picked the new train hub.

A stockbrokerage firm said the settlement over OCLP Holdings “may set the stage for more compromises between SM and ALI.”

The group of Rafael Ortigas formed an alliance with Ayala Land while the bloc of Francisco Ortigas teamed up with SM Investments.

“We have agreed to move forward… All of us have decided to come together,” Ayala Land president Bernard Vincent Dy said earlier.

The Ayala Group, together with the camp of Rafael Ortigas, will take four board seats in OCLP Holdings, the holding company of the Ortigas family, while SM Prime together with Francisco Ortigas will take four board seats in the nine-man board.
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