Posted on February 28, 2016 08:26:00 PM
By Krista A. M. Montealegre, Senior Reporter [ businessworld.com ]
VISTA LAND & Lifescapes, Inc. (Vista Land) is increasing its footprint to over 100 cities and municipalities this year, although the country’s largest homebuilder is keeping a close eye on the troubles in the Middle East that may possibly affect sales to overseas Filipinos.
MANUEL PAOLO A. VILLAR -- BW FILE PHOTO
Vista Land President and Chief Executive Officer Manuel Paolo A. Villar said in an interview last week the developer is “doing more launches” as part of its growth strategy despite the challenges in the real estate industry.
“In bad times and good times, we will be expanding in the provinces. Definitely we’re not going to stop expanding in the provinces this year. We are going to be, from where we are right now, to about 100 cities and municipalities by the end of the year,” Mr. Villar said.
Vista Land, owned by billionaire Manuel B. Villar, Jr. said in a regulatory filing in September it has established presence in 92 cities and municipalities across 35 provinces.
Mr. Villar cited the slight oversupply in the vertical segment of the market and the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers from the Middle East as the major concerns in the industry.
“History points to it not being bad as some people anticipated but you never can tell so its something we should be looking out for,” Mr. Villar said. Vista Land gets bulk or 55%-60% of its sales from overseas Filipinos.
There have been worries the escalating tensions in the Middle East would adversely impact Filipino workers and cause a corresponding drop in remittances.
Money sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) reached $25.767 billion for the entire 2015, reflecting an increment that breached a downward-revised 4% full-year target and 4.6% more than 2014’s $24.628 billion. A sizeable chunk of remittances came from OFWs based in the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Should the situation in the Middle East worsen, Mr. Villar said the strengthening US economy may offset its impact on the residential industry.
Vista Land expects its earnings this year to get a boost from the consolidation of Starmalls, Inc. to its books after completing the acquisition of 88.25% of the mall and office developer.
“By the end of 2016, we’re expecting Starmalls to have a very rapid growth. We will have a growth surge in 2016. There will be a significant impact from Starmalls,” Mr. Villar said.
The merger of Vista Land and Starmalls will accelerate the transformation of the former from a purely residential developer into the country’s fourth biggest integrated property developer.
Vista Land grew its nine-month earnings by 18% to P5 billion from P4.25 billion on higher double-digit growth in revenues from its core housing projects. Real estate revenues jumped 13% to P16.7 billion in the January to September period.
Shares in Vista Land were unchanged at P4.40 each.