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Villar’s Vista Land focusing on Starmalls expansion this year

Posted on March 17, 2016 08:58:00 PM [ ]
By Krista A. M. Montealegre, Senior Reporter

VISTA LAND & Lifescapes, Inc. is aggressively expanding its commercial portfolio this year, as it adopts a cautious stance on the residential sector after announcing that record earnings last year with the consolidation of Starmalls, Inc.

In a briefing yesterday, Vista Land President Manuel Paolo A. Villar said the developer is increasing the gross floor area (GFA) of Starmalls to 860,000 square meters (sqm.) by end of the year and over a million sqm. next year, from 509,385 sqm. in 2015, through the opening of new malls and office buildings as well as the expansion of existing ones.

The expansion binge will allow Starmalls to account for 25% of net income in the next two years, and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization this year, from its current contribution of 10%, Mr. Villar said.

“Starmalls, based on pipeline, should be experiencing rapid growth,” he said, noting that its merger with Vista Land will generate synergies and generate a reduction in operating expenses.

Vista Land grew its net income by an annual 14% to a record P7.2 billion, getting a boost from the contribution of Starmalls following its acquisition last year. The country’s largest homebuilder completed the purchase of 88.34% of Starmalls in February, propelling the company among the country’s top four integrated developers.

Vista Land has “no concrete plan to delist Starmalls” for now, Mr. Villar said.

Likewise, revenues hit an all-time high of P28.7 billion, up 12% year-on-year. In terms of contribution, Communities Philippines accounted for 44%; Camella, 25%; Vista Residences, 12%; Starmalls, 10%; Crown Asia, 5%; and Brittany, 4%.

Vista Land may follow other developers in adopting a cautious stance on the residential sector, its Chairman Manuel B. Villar, Jr. said. The company will unveil its definite plans for 2016 next month when it discloses its first-quarter earnings performance.

“We don’t want to be too aggressive. Conditions are not too good this year... There’s not much excess inventory, but we will follow the industry sentiment. If the industry is down, it will be hard to be a contrarian,” said Mr. Villar, who is one of the 11 Filipinos on Forbes’ billionaire club with an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion.

Vista Land spent a total of P31.5 billion last year, as the company launched 45 projects with estimated total value of P40 billion last year.

Of the total, 38 projects are in the low and affordable segment, two in the middle-income segment, four condominiums and one in the high-end segment. Twenty-three projects are located in areas outside Metro Manila.

Vista Land has a land bank of 2,353.8 hectares (ha) nationwide, 86% of which is owned an 14% is its share in joint ventures.

The former Senator said he is mulling the creation of a holding company to unlock the value of his businesses -- a move that may increase his ranking in the annual Forbes’ list of billionaires -- adding that this may happen as early as next year if stock market conditions improve.

Shares in Vista Land rose 2.17% to close at P4.71 each on Thursday.

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