PHILIPPINE REAL ESTATE and RELATED NEWS in and around the country . . .

Vista Land keeps AAA issuer rating

[ bworldonline ]
VISTA LAND & Lifescapes, Inc. (VLL) retained its triple A issuer rating from local debt watcher Credit Rating Investor’s Services Philippines, Inc. (CRISP).

In a statement issued Tuesday, the Villar-led property developer said CRISP reaffirmed its AAA rating, the highest on its credit rating scale.

The rating also carries a stable outlook, indicating that it is unlikely to change in the next 12 months.

CRISP took into account VLL’s leadership in the low cost and affordable housing market given its strategic landbanking initiatives. The debt watcher further cited the company’s management team and operating model, which allows it to replicate large-scale housing community projects.

“Its scalable, standardized processes and technologies allow the Company to efficiently build and deliver high-quality houses and lot packages,” according to CRISP, as quoted by VLL.

VLL Chairman Manuel B. Villar, Jr. welcomed the rating’s affirmation, saying this proves that “we have put in place a company with a strong management team and a business model that can withstand challenges such as the recent rise of inflation.”

The company also noted that its balance sheet remains strong with a net debt to equity of 0.71x as of Sept. 30.

The reaffirmation of VLL’s credit rating comes amid its plans to sell up to P10 billion worth of fixed-rate retail bonds, consisting of an aggregate amount of P5 billion with an oversubscription option of up to P5 billion. The issuance will be taken from its remaining P15-billion shelf-registered bonds.

VLL tapped China Bank Capital Corp. as the offering’s issue manager.

Proceeds of the offering will be used to finance VLL’s expansion program. The company has committed to spend up to P50 billion in capital expenditures to support its housing, shopping mall, and office businesses this year.

VLL launched P38 billion worth of projects in the first nine months of 2018, most of which are housing projects in the low and affordable segment outside Metro Manila.

The listed firm registered a 16% increase in attributable profit to P8.09 billion in the first nine months of 2018, driven by a 16% uptick in revenues to P31.05 billion.

Shares in VLL dipped 2.04% or 11 centavos to close at P5.29 each at the stock exchange on Tuesday. — Arra B. Francia

Why Avida Cloverleaf is a good investment

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Avida Cloverleaf Play Area
Avida Towers Cloverleaf has green building design features.
BALINTAWAK used to be synonymous with textile mills, wet markets and the cloverleaf-shaped interchange linking the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and EDSA.

But Balintawak’s image is getting an upgrade, as Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) continues to develop its mixed-use Cloverleaf project on the former site of textile mills owned by the Lim family.

The Ayala Malls Cloverleaf is now open at the master planned estate, while construction of Avida Towers Cloverleaf Tower 1 is now underway.

Seeing strong demand for its first tower, Avida Land launched last September the second of three planned buildings under Avida Towers Cloverleaf.

Ryla Czarina T. Durante, Avida Land Corp. project development associate manager, said Tower 2 has attracted buyers from Quezon City, as well as Caloocan, Malabon, and Navotas, and most were end-users.

She said the buyers recognized that Avida Towers Cloverleaf is a good investment because the area serves as the gateway to the north, with its access to the North Luzon Expressway and the Skyway Stage 3.

“Since the Skyway is connected to SLEX, they can also access the southern part of Luzon easier without going through the traffic on EDSA. The property is also connected to EDSA, as well as LRT and MRT stations,” she said during a briefing in Makati City on Nov. 21.

Ms. Durante described Avida Towers Cloverleaf as a “pocket urban haven.” And being located within an estate managed by the Ayala Property Management Group “offers a secure and organized living experience,” she added.

Also, Ms. Durante noted the price of units at Avida Towers Cloverleaf have doubled since Tower 1 was launched in July 2015.

“Since the launch of the first tower, the prices have gone up and this shows there’s high market potential and high appreciation of value in the property. With the developments and the infrastructure coming from the government as well, we foresee it is expected to increase over time,” she added.

Unit prices for Tower 2 range from P4.1 to P9.9 million, or about P180,000 per sq.m. To compare, Tower 1 had an average selling price of P95,000 per sq.m.

Tower 2 offers 848 units, with sizes ranging from studio at 23 square meters (sq.m.), junior one-bedroom (24 sq.m.), one-bedroom (33-37 sq.m.), and two-bedroom layouts (52 sq.m.).

The junior one-bedroom unit, which is priced at P4.4 million, is a new offering by Avida Land.

“We did that because we’d like to tap certain price points in the market. Given the awareness of buyers to attain financial prudence, the rising costs, this specific unit caters to that market because it’s very economical and efficiently designed. It has a partitioned wall, offering something similar to a one-bedroom, but in a smaller space,” Ms. Durante said.

In line with ALI’s sustainability efforts, Tower 2 has green building design features such as low emissivity glass windows and occupancy sensors.

“Our windows are designed in such a way that the glass when light passes through it, reflects the heat and maintains the temperature of the unit, effectively the home owners would use less the cooling appliances,” Ms. Durante said.

Rain water harvesting has also been incorporated in the tower’s design. The collected rainwater will be used for watering the landscaped areas.

“All of these items when taken together, makes their operations more efficient, and less cost for the residents,” she said.

Tower 2’s amenities include a clubhouse, swimming pool, children’s playground, indoor gym, landscaped spaces, and serenity gardens. It is set to be completed in 2024. — Cathy Rose A. Garcia

Floirendo’s DLI to add third tower in Damosa IT Park

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THE Davao Diamond Tower will rise within the Damosa IT Park in Davao City. — HTTP://DAMOSALAND.COM/
By Maya M. Padillo, Correspondent

DAVAO CITY — The Floirendo-owned Damosa Land Inc. (DLI) is constructing a third building within the Damosa IT Park in the central-western side of Davao City and is now in talks with locators.

DLI Vice-president Ricardo F. Lagdameo, in an interview with BusinessWorld, said groundbreaking for the 15-storey Davao Diamond Tower is being planned before the end of November and the target completion date is early 2020.

“We are talking to a few locators already, meaning we already showed them the project. These are the people we have been talking to for quite sometime already and these are people that have office space already with us and need to expand,” Mr. Lagdameo said.

The new building will have a total floor area of 20,000 square meters (sq.m.).

Among the current locators at the Damosa IT Park, a Philippine Economic Zone Authority-accredited facility, are global office space provider Regus, business process outsourcing (BPO) firm Concentrix and various information technology companies.

Mr. Lagdameo said about 90% of their locators are not from Davao City.

“But it is not only BPO inside Damosa IT Park, I would say 50/50, 50% is BPO the other 50% are traditional offices, accounting offices, shipping lines, and the Regus business center,” he said.

Mr. Lagdameo said among those they are talking to for the new tower are some of the Regus clients who are now planning to set up a permanent office in the city.

At the same time, he said they are considering opening another Regus center at the Davao Diamond Tower.

The 1,600-sq.m. Regus Davao center, currently 100% occupied, was opened in September 2016. It has 346 stations, 52 offices, and three conference rooms.

Regus, meanwhile, is opening another Davao branch at the Felcris Centrale BPO building, located at the central-south part of the city.

“We are opening at Felcris Centrale on December 1,” Regus Davao General Manager Cherrilyn Casuga said during the Energy Smart Mindanao 2018 forum organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines last Nov. 22. The Damosa IT Park is located within the Damosa District, one of the first mixed-use complexes in Mindanao. It houses the headquarters of the Floirendo’s holding firm Anflo Management and Investment Corp., the Damosa Gateway with dining places and retail shops, Damosa Market Basket, and Damosa Business Center. — with a report from Marifi S. Jara

New Bai Hotel in Cebu hitting 79% occupancy

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MANDAUE CITY, CEBU — Homegrown Bai Hotel in Mandaue City, which is barely a year in operation, is already enjoying brisk business with an occupancy rate of 79%.

“Normally, a newly-opened hotel has 40-45% occupancy rate and if you are lucky it will normally take you a year to break even. It only took us two months to break even in terms of cash flow and we are also enjoying a record-breaking 79% occupancy rate,” Bai Hotel Vice-President for Operations and General Manager Alfred M. Reyes said during the hotel’s official launch last Nov. 23.

Mr. Reyes said about 61% of their guests are from overseas, with majority from South Korea, followed by Japan, United States and Taiwan.

“India is another big market for the Philippines next to China although there is a challenge when it comes to visa issuance for the Indians,” he said.

The 23-story Bai Hotel has 668 rooms with 10 classifications from deluxe to presidential suite. It houses a casino, a convention center, executive club lounge, and fitness center, among other amenities. A shopping arcade will soon be built in front of the hotel.

“We aim to be a four-star hotel and we can compete with any international hotel given our facilities and services,” Mr. Reyes said.

Bai Hotel has partnered with World Hotels.

Mr. Reyes said Cebu is still best known as a leisure destination but the hotel is positioning itself as a “bleisure” (business and leisure) destination given its location in Mandaue City, which is an upcoming business district.

“Hopefully by next year, we shall have plans of expanding… its either Visayas or Palawan,” he said.

For the long-term Mr. Reyes said they are also looking at other areas like Davao and Cagayan de Oro, two of the main cities in Mindanao. — Carmencita A. Carillo

Damosa Land inks P1.5-billion loan agreement with BDO

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DAVAO CITY — Damosa Land Inc. (DLI), the real estate arm of the Floirendo-owned Anflo Investment and Management Corp., has signed a P1.5-billion loan package with BDO Unibank, Inc. to fund planned and ongoing projects.

“This fresh fund will help us expand our portfolio,” DLI Vice-President Ricardo F. Lagdameo told BusinessWorld after the signing ceremony held Nov. 20, the birthday of the family patriarch, the late Don Antonio O. Floirendo.

Mr. Lagdameo said the money will be allocated for the new building at the Damosa IT Park and to “accelerate construction of its residential condominium,” the Seawind complex.

The six-building condominium project is targeted to be completed by 2020, with the third building now nearing completion.

“We continue to be bullish about Davao Region, and clearly so does BDO,” he said.

DLI has also started land preparation works for its next big project, the Bridgeport in the Island Garden City of Samal.

The Bridgeport is designed as a township with condominium buildings, an exclusive subdivision of about 20 high-end stand-alone houses, a commercial area, and a marina.

DLI has also started development of the 88-hectare Agriya, another mixed-use complex located in Panabo City, Davao del Norte. — Carmelito Q. Francisco

CLI eyes P3B from 1st phase of The Paragon Davao

The Paragon Davao
The Paragon Davao is a mixed-use project being planned by Cebu Landmasters, Inc.
By Arra B. Francia Reporter

DAVAO CITY — Cebu Landmasters, Inc. (CLI) expects to generate P3 billion in revenues from the first phase of its mixed-use project called The Paragon Davao, where it will be selling residential condominium and condotel units.

Located in Matina, The Paragon Davao will consist of a residential condominium called One Paragon Place, a condotel operated by Citadines, a convention center, and a lifestyle mall.

One Paragon Place will offer a total of 554 residential units across 26 floors, ranging from studio units sized from 22.4 square meters (sq.m.) to three-bedroom types sized 90.3 sq.m.

“We positioned it in a way that is upscale, but not too expensive,” CLI Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jose R. Soberano III said during the project’s launch here on Friday.

The company said prices of the units will start at below P100,000 per sq.m., but could rise as demand kicks in.

“We’re very confident on how the market is perceiving us as our sales people have been going to the usual target markets that they are aiming for. We have received so much positive impact, letters of intent are pouring in. So we’re very confident that the take-up will be very strong,” Mr. Soberano said.

Amenities at One Paragon Place include a pool, function room, gym, and meeting room.

One Paragon Place will be CLI’s second residential project in Davao City, following MesaTierra Garden Residences also in Matina district. The company reported that it has already sold 96% out of the 700 units in the project catered toward the middle-income market.

Meanwhile, Citadines Paragon Davao consists of 395 units, 123 of which will be for sale.

“Buyers will be able to enjoy the returns of owning a condominium and sharing the returns of a hotel business. DavaoeƱos will have the opportunity to own a unit which will be thrown into a rental pool and on a regular basis, get their shares of the returns,” Mr. Soberano said.
Citadines Paragon Davao will have studio-type units sized 24.6 sq.m., and one-bedroom layouts covering up to 47.43 sq.m.

Also included in The Paragon Davao’s first phase is a convention center spanning 4,842 sq.m. in terms of gross floor area. The convention center will have a capacity of 2,500 people, and will also house a grand ballroom sized 1,711 sq.m., event areas, meeting rooms, pre-function areas, a lobby and lounge.

CLI will also build a lifestyle mall with 4,564 sq.m. in gross leasable area, and will be connected to the convention center.

The company will pour in P2.6 billion for the development of the first phase of The Paragon Davao.

Mr. Soberano said they will announce the second phase for the 1.9-hectare property depending on how fast the take-up is. The second phase can include two more residential towers and more retail outlets.

Ayala to expand Cloverleaf mall

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AYALA MALLS Cloverleaf is located in Balintawak, Quezon City. — CLOVERLEAF.PH
By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

AYALA LAND, Inc. (ALI) is expanding the mall inside its mixed use estate Cloverleaf in Balintawak, Quezon City, as it looks to cater to the needs of commuters traversing the area.
The listed property developer said it targets to open phase 2 of Ayala Malls Cloverleaf by 2022, offering a gross leasable area (GLA) of around 40,000 square meters (sq.m.).

“Because of the success of phase 1, we will have Ayala Malls phase 2, but unlike the first one this is more targeted to the commuter sector of Quezon City or Balintawak in particular because of its connection to the LRT station,” AyalaLand Estates, Inc. Project Development Senior Associate Paula Eimreh Joy Cagampan said in a press briefing in Makati on Tuesday.

Construction on the Cloverleaf mall is set to start in January.

“This is envisioned to become the Market! Market! of the north,” Ms. Cagampan said, referring to the company’s mall in Taguig located near a transport terminal.

Ayala Malls Cloverleaf phase 1 currently caters to the mid-income market. Opened in October 2017, the mall covers about 38,000 sq.m. in GLA spread out across four levels. It features six cinemas and various retail shops targeted toward millennials.

“As of October, almost occupied na ‘yung spaces natin in that area,” Ms. Cagampan said.

Also set to rise in Cloverleaf is a residential tower by ALI’s upscale market brand, Alveo. The project will have three residential towers, with the first to be launched by the third quarter of 2019.

Cloverleaf is ALI’s 11-hectare master planned development in Quezon City. The estate is accessible through EDSA and A. Bonifacio, which the company noted makes for a highly strategic space for retail business and for a place of residence.

The company has allocated to spend P15 billion to develop phase 1 of Cloverleaf, out of the total P23-billion budget for the estate. Since its launch in 2015, the company has already completed about 42% of the developable area.

Cloverleaf is one of 26 estates across the country under ALI’s portfolio. Its most recent one is called Habini Bay, a 526-hectare property located in the municipalities of Alubijid and Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental. It will house an industrial park to be managed by Laguna Technopark, Inc.

Habini Bay will be ALI’s fourth estate in Mindanao, following Abreeza in Davao, Alegria Hills in Cagayan de Oro, and Azuela Cove in Davao.

Earnings of ALI climbed 15% to P7.2 billion in the third quarter of 2018, after revenues improved by 14% to P39.3 billion. On a nine-month basis, the company’s net income went up by 17% to P20.78 billion, while revenues stood at P119.7 billion, 21% higher year-on-year.

Shares in ALI ended flat at P40 each at the stock exchange on Thursday.

QC realty tax hike suspension bags 1st OK

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Quezon City hall
By Vann Marlo M. Villegas

A PROPOSAL to suspend until after 2019 implementation of the Quezon City (QC) ordinance that increases real property fair market values has secured committee approval, a senior local official said on Sunday.

Asked for updates on the measure, QC Council Majority Floor Leader Franz S. Pumaren said proposed Ordinance No. 20CC-497 was approved at the committee level on Nov. 14.
“It’s up for debate this Monday,” Mr. Pumaren said in a mobile phone message.

“It was approved in the three committees so the next step is… debate in the plenary,” he added, identifying the committees concerned as Ways and Means, Appropriations, as well as Laws, Rules and Internal Government which he heads.

Awaited is approval on second and third reading, which could happen a week apart, he added.

Mr. Pumaren had said in a press conference on Oct. 26 that the council — the city government’s lawmaking body — targets to approve the proposed ordinance on final reading before yearend.

The proposed local law seeks to suspend until after 2019 — a midterm election year — implementation of Quezon City Ordinance No. SP-2556, Series of 2016 which jacks up real property fair market values, which were last adjusted in December 1995 even if Republic Act No. 7160, or the Local Government Code of 1991, requires a review every three years.

Quezon City councilors filed the proposed ordinance following the Supreme Court’s Sept. 18 ruling lifting the April 2017 temporary restraining order against the realty fair market value hike.

The assailed local law increases the fair market values (FMV) of residential, commercial and industrial real properties by 400-733.33%, consequently raising tax payable by real property owners by 39-131%. New assessment rates, on the other hand, were cut to five percent for residential and 14% for commercial and industrial lands in order to cushion the FMV increases.

Proponents in the council of the suspension of the realty tax hike cited as reason for their move the multiyear-high monthly inflation rates that averaged 5.1% in the 10 months to October against the central bank’s 2-4% target range for full-year 2018.

They had noted that MalacaƱang itself, seeking to quell inflation expectations and cushion the public from already high prices of basic goods, has suspended a fresh oil excise tax hike that was scheduled to take place in January.

The city will have additional P700 million in revenues once the planned realty tax hike is implemented.

According to the latest available data from the Finance department’s Bureau of Local Government Finance, Quezon City was the biggest contributor to Metro Manila’s revenues last year with P15.161 billion of the P77.099-billion total revenues of the National Capital Region.

Real property tax is Quezon City’s second-biggest revenue tax source last year with P3.431 billion, following business tax with P9.204 billion.

DMCI unit secures contracts worth P10B


DM Consunji

D.M. CONSUNJI, Inc. (DMCI) secured P10.6 billion worth of new contracts in the first nine months of 2018, as it was engaged mostly by private firms for building projects. 

The construction arm of diversified engineering conglomerate DMCI Holdings, Inc. said the newly-signed projects pushed its order books eight percent higher to P28.5 billion, compared to the same period a year ago. 

Its newly-signed projects include Ortigas and Company’s residential condominium called Connor worth P1.1 billion, STRC Apartment Ridge of ST 6747 Resources Corp. worth P1.3 billion, and the DLS College of St. Benilde Academic Sports and Dormitory Buildings, among others.

To note, ST 6747 Resources Corp. is the joint venture firm between the SM Group and tycoon George S.K. Ty’s Federal Land, Inc. for the development of a residential condominium in Makati City, on a property considered to be the last parcel of undeveloped land in the business district. 

D.M. Consunji has also been tapped for the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 Nagtahan Rampway worth P1 billion. 

The company’s major ongoing projects include the Cavite-Laguna Expressway project of MPCALA Holdings, Inc., Prima Infra Dev. Corp.’s Bued Viaduct and Roadway, LRT Line 2 East Stations under the Department of Transportation, Ortigas & Company’s Maven at Capitol Commons, and Anchor Land Holdings, Inc.’s Anchor Grandsuites. 

“Right now our order book is skewed toward private sector-led construction projects but we expect more big-ticket projects under the Build, Build, Build program to come on-stream within the next few months,” D.M. Consunji President and Chief Executive Officer Jorge A. Consunji said in a statement. 

The company is currently bidding for the first package of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR), which seeks to connect Tutuban, Manila to Malolos, Bulacan. The project will have a capacity of 100,000 passenger per hour, reducing travel time from Tutuban to Malolos to about 35 minutes from two hours before. 

The project will be partially funded by Japan’s official development assistance loan signed in 2015. The government targets to start the project by next year. 

“2019 will be a busier year for public construction, and we are very eager to participate in this infrastructure modernization program of the government,” Mr. Consunji said. 

Earnings of D.M. Consunji rose by 19% to P343 million in the third quarter of 2018, pushing its nine-month profit 21% higher to P1.1 billion. — Arra B. Francia

SM opens 1st mall in eastern Visayas

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SM PRIME Holdings, Inc. is expanding in Eastern Visayas region with the opening of a new mall in Ormoc, Leyte.

In a disclosure, the listed property developer said SM Center Ormoc covers 20,000 square meters, with 85% of the space already leased out. Among its stores include SM Supermarket, SM Appliance Center, Watsons, Ace Hardware, Simply Shoes, Surplus, Miniso, as well as Banco De Oro.

The mall also has an al fresco dining area on its second level, and four SM Cinemas, including a Director’s Club Cinema.

“It is SM Prime’s pride and joy to finally open our first mall in the Eastern Visayas Region. SM Center Ormoc will be a great addition to the growing local economy of Ormoc City and the continuously developing province of Leyte. We look forward to more growth opportunities for the people of this region along with SM’s brand of lifestyle and entertainment,” SM Prime President Jeffrey C. Lim said.

SM Center Ormoc brings to 79 the number of SM malls, which include seven in China.

In the first nine months of 2018, SM Prime has opened four new malls, namely SM Center Imus in Cavite, SM City Urdaneta Central in Pangasinan, SM City Telabastagan in Pampanga and SM City Legazpi in Albay.

SM Prime’s 9-month net income climbed 17% to P23.44 billion, after a 16% surge in revenues to P34.91 billion. Its shopping mall business contributed 58% to its revenues during the period.

Higher property sales lift GT Capital Q3 profit

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GT CAPITAL Holdings, Inc. logged a 6% growth in attributable profit for the third quarter of 2018, as the surge in real estate sales and higher income from associates offset the auto unit’s drop.

In a regulatory filing, the holding firm of tycoon George S.K. Ty said net income attributable to the parent climbed to P3.8 billion, higher than the P3.58 billion posted in the same period a year ago.

Revenues dipped by 2% to P60.18 billion as automotive operations — which accounted for about 80% of revenues — slumped by 12% to P47.94 billion.

Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP), GT Capital’s joint venture with Toyota Motor Corp. of Japan, reported a 13% decline in wholesale volume for the quarter to 42,303 units, from 48,645 in the same period a year ago. Demand for vehicles continued to be dampened by higher excise taxes, soaring inflation, and rising fuel prices.

With this, GT Capital’s attributable profit for the first nine months of the year was flattish at P10.94 billion, a percent higher than the P10.82 billion booked in the same period a year ago.

The company’s revenues further went down by 5% to P161.34 billion, as wholesale volume of TMP slipped by 12% to 117,080 units. TMP’s revenues accordingly fell by 11% to P132.92 billion.

“Our year-to-date results show the counterbalance between the soft auto sector volume sales mitigated by strong growth in financial services, property, and insurance segments. The consensus is that the decline in auto sales may have bottomed out as monthly volumes have stabilized,” GT Capital President Carmelo Maria Luza Bautista said in a statement.

Real estate sales from Federal Land, Inc. and Property Company of Friends, Inc. (PCFI) compensated for the auto unit’s weakness, rising by 45% to P15.7 billion in the nine-month period. Federal Land was boosted by sales from its middle-market condominium projects and lot sales, while PCFI benefited from affordable and economic housing projects.

GT Capital also saw 39% higher equity in net income of associates to P9.13 billion for the period due to profit increases among the companies.

For Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, net income for the nine months ending September expanded by 27% to P16.18 billion due to higher deposits and loans. GT Capital holds a 36.36% stake in the lender.

Infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. also posted an 8% increase in consolidated core profit to P12.2 billion. This was driven by increased investments in the power sector, continued traffic growth in its operating toll roads, and tariff adjustments coupled with volume increase from its water unit.

Earnings of AXA Life Insurance Corp. meanwhile jumped by 21% to P2.14 billion, following higher life and non-life premium income for the period.

GT Capital Chairman Arthur V. Ty said they remain optimistic for the company’s performance next year, noting that macroeconomic indicators have shown positive trends as of the third quarter.

“Oil prices have declined, foreign exchange rates have shown some strength, and food prices have stabilized. We believe that these factors, combined with the increased spending levels in the last quarter, provide a good backdrop for improved conditions in 2019,” Mr. Ty said in a statement. — Arra B. Francia

Robinsons Land partners with Frabelle for Cavite projects

ROBINSONS Land Corp. (RLC) has teamed up with the Tiu-Laurel family’s Frabelle Fishing Corp. to establish a firm that can purchase and develop properties in Cavite.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Wednesday, the property developer said its board of directors approved the joint venture (JV) partnership with Frabelle. The JV firm will have an authorized capital stock of P1 billion.

“RLC and Frabelle, through a joint venture company, shall purchase, lease and develop real estate properties situated in Bacoor City and other areas. The project is intended to be a mixed-use development and may include residential units and commercial retail outlets,” RLC said in a disclosure.

Founded in 1966 by Francis and Bella Tiu-Laurel, the Manila-based firm specializes in catching sardines, mackerel, round scad, skipjack, frigate, and yellowfin tuna. It supplies fresh, frozen, and processed seafood products locally, as well as markets in Africa, Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Asia, according to its website.

The Frabelle Group also has businesses in cold storage operation, meat processing, and property development.

RLC said profit sharing will be split in accordance with the shareholdings of each company, with the JV firm’s board to have six directors.

The Gokongwei-led RLC has been partnering with several firms this year to further expand its mixed-use developments in the country.

In February, it sealed a partnership with Hong Kong Land International Holdings Ltd. and its subsidiary Ideal Realm Limited for the purchase of a property in Bridgetowne East, Pasig City. RLC also announced its joint venture with Shang Properties, Inc. for a mixed use development in Bonifacio Global City last November.

RLC’s net income climbed by 43% to P6.55 billion in the first nine months of 2018, after revenues grew by 31% to P21.8 billion.

Shares in RLC jumped by 2.05% or four centavos to close at P19.90 each at the stock exchange on Wednesday. — Arra B. Francia

Megaworld earnings jump in 3rd quarter

Megaworld Chairman and CEO Dr. Andrew L. Tan
MEGAWORLD Corp. grew its attributable profit by 14% in the third quarter of 2018, driven by the double-digit expansion of both its residential and leasing businesses.

In a regulatory filing, the property firm of tycoon Andrew L. Tan reported a net income attributable to equity holders of the parent of P4.04 billion from July to September, versus P3.54 billion in the same period a year ago. Revenues also surged 17% to P14.98 billion.

On a nine-month basis, Megaworld’s attributable profit rose 13% to P11.29 billion following a 13% increase in revenues to P41.76 billion.

This translates to earnings per share of 35.5 centavos, from 31.4 centavos in the same period in 2017.

“The residential landscape has been experiencing a resurgence, which has been very evident in its growth during the past quarters. Our rental business for both offices and Megaworld Lifestyle Malls remains to be the fastest growing segment of the company,” Megaworld Senior Vice President and Treasurer Francisco C. Canuto said in a statement. 

Residential revenues went up by 10% to P28.39 billion by end-September, on account of higher sales during the third quarter. Sales of real estate rose by 9.9% to P23.04 billion for the period, with sales coming from The Venice Luxury Residences, San Antonio Residence, The Ellis, and Uptown Parksuites Towers 1 & 2, among others.

Megaworld noted that gross margins for the segment improved by more than 200 points year-on-year.

“We have already rolled out quite a number of residential projects this year, which reflects the kind of demand that we have been seeing in 2018…as long as we see this type of demand on the ground, then we will continue to launch projects aggressively. Moreover, we have already secured the land to do this, which is key in being a leader in this industry,” Mr. Canuto said. 

For commercial properties, rental income delivered an 18.6% increase to P10.46 billion from P8.82 billion in the same period a year ago. The company benefited from the expansion of its office and retail portfolio. It further cited the higher demand for office spaces from business process outsourcing (BPO) companies. 

The company’s hotel operations meanwhile generated P1.03 billion in revenues, 8.42% higher from a year ago due to higher hotel occupancy rates coupled with the opening of a new hotel. 

“We have been tracking a promising trajectory during the first nine months of 2018, and we are optimistic to finish the year strong,” Mr. Canuto said. 

Shares in Megaworld dropped by 1.11% or five centavos to close at P4.45 each at the stock exchange on Monday. — Arra B. Francia

Corporate Code amendments hurdle 3rd reading at House


THE PROPOSED Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines, which extends corporate life indefinitely, was approved on third and final reading at the House of Representatives on Monday.

House Bill No. 8374, which hurdled the chamber with 165 affirmative votes and zero negatives, will also remove the minimum requirement of five incorporators, thereby allowing single-stockholder corporations.

The 38-year-old Corporation Code of the Philippines, contained in Batas Pambansa 68, provides a corporate life of up to 50 years, which may be extended for another 50 years.The new code will remove the 25% requirement for subscribed and paid-up capital stock for incorporation, currently required under BP 68. — Charmaine A. Tadalan

Holiday Inn opens in Baguio City

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Joanne Acott
GM Joanne Acott
THE InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) recently opened a Holiday Inn in Baguio City.

In statement, IHG said the hotel will have 185 guest rooms, a ballroom for 600 guests, function rooms, meeting rooms, 24-hour gym, and dining services like Lamisaan Dining and Bar, and Apo Lounge & Bar.

Holiday Inn Baguio City Centre is located along Legarda Road. It offers free shuttle services to key destinations.

“We are always searching for new ways to better cater to our clientele, this time offering the IHG standards and incorporating them within the Cordillera culture. Our goal is to provide guests with a complete range of services when they check in at the Holiday Inn,” Joanne Acott, general manager of Holiday Inn Baguio City Centre, said in a statement.

The eight-storey hotel is the latest addition to Baguio City, as it gears up for the peak season in December. In 2017, Baguio City saw 1.7-million tourist arrivals, 21% higher than the 1.4-million tourist arrivals a year ago.

Holiday Inn Baguio City Centre is the city’s first major international hotel chain after Hyatt Terraces Baguio Hotel, which was destroyed during the 1990 Luzon earthquake. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang

Removing developers’ incentives may worsen housing backlog, says think tank

THINK TANK Center for Housing and Independent Research Synergies (CHAIRS) flagged the proposed removal of incentives for developers of socialized housing under the second package of the tax reform bill, saying this could worsen the housing backlog in the country.

In a statement issued over the weekend, CHAIRS President Christopher Ryan T. Tan said mass housing developers are protesting the planned repeal of compensatory incentives should the Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-quality Opportunities (TRABAHO) bill be enacted.

Republic Act No. 7279, otherwise known as the Urban Development and Housing Act, states that socialized housing projects will be exempted from paying project-related income taxes, capital gains tax on raw lands used for the project, value-added tax for the project contractor, transfer tax for both raw completed projects, and donor’s tax for lands donated for socialized housing projects.

The law further provides that developers must “develop an area for socialized housing equivalent to at least 15% of the total subdivision area or subdivision project cost and at least 5% of condominium area of project cost, at the option of the developer.”

“Removing this incentive will effectively paralyze private sector participation housing production,” Mr. Tan said in a statement.

He added that the current incentives granted to developers are only “compensatory” for doing a “missionary activity,” and should therefore be distinguished from investment incentives to be lumped under the Strategic Investments Priorities Plan.

Mr. Tan also noted provisions under the 1987 Constitution, which mandates the state to “undertake with the private sector a continuing program of urban land reform and housing which shall make available at affordable cost decent housing to the underprivileged and homeless.”

“Removing such compensatory incentives to socialized housing, will not only be unconstitutional, but will also reduce the balanced housing requirements to an “unjust, oppressive, and confiscatory exercise of police power,” Mr. Tan said.

With this, developers would be discouraged from developing projects for the socialized market, causing the housing problem in the country to swell.

The CHAIRS executive cited a 2016 study by the University of Asia and the Pacific stating that the Philippines would need 12.3-million housing units by 2030, from an estimated backlog of 6.7 million from 2001 to 2015 plus a projected housing demand of 5.6 million from 2016 to 2030.

CHAIRS Executive Director Santiago F. Ducay further criticized the removal of exemptions for the Home Development Mutual Fund (PAG-IBIG) from taxes, fees, and charges, which could potentially affect the affordability of housing projects for lower income groups.

“Current savings from Pag-IBIG’s tax exemption are channeled to providing interest subsidy to enable the lending for housing acquisition at a low of three percent for socialized housing,” Mr. Ducay said. — Arra B. Francia

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