Cebu Landmasters uses up IPO proceeds

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Cebu Landmasters

CEBU Landmasters, Inc. (CLI) reported that it had fully used up the P2.15 billion raised after the company’s initial public offering (IPO) last year, bringing its land bank of properties to almost a million square meters.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Wednesday, the listed property developer said around 70% of the funds went to the acquisition of land. Majority of the properties are located in Mindanao at 41%, while 33% are in Visayas and the 26% balance are in Cebu.

“Cebu Landmasters is committed to the fast turnaround strategy of the company. We have developed 420,573 sq.m. of our land bank after IPO. We now have 52 projects in various developments and we’ve already expanded to eight key cities in VisMin,” CLI President and Chief Executive Officer Jose R. Soberano III said in a statement.

The Cebu-based firm now has a total of 52 projects in various stages of construction located across Cebu, Mandaue, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Bacolod, Dumaguete, Iloilo and Bohol.

Among CLI’s recent projects is the P3.6-billion Astra Centre, a mixed-use property located on a 1.2-hectare lot in Mandaue City, Cebu. Astra Centre will house residential towers, office spaces, a boutique mall, and hotel carrying the Radisson RED brand. The company looks to finish the first phase of the project in the fourth quarter of 2021.

CLI is also scheduled to launch a new mixed-use project and business district in Davao City in the following months.

The company expanded its net income by a third to P826 million in the first six months of 2018, as revenues surged by 45% to P2.6 billion. CLI targets to continue its growth momentum for the rest of the year, aiming for a full-year net income of P1.7 billion on the back of P5.3 billion in revenues.

To further support its expansion, CLI raised P5 billion from the issuance of corporate notes in July. The capital will be used to finance properties in Cebu, Dumaguete, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro and Davao, among other sites.

Shares in CLI gained 1.6% or seven centavos to close at P4.45 each at the stock exchange on Wednesday. — Arra B. Francia

DOJ appeals SC ruling downgrading case vs Delfin Lee

In July, the SC voted 7-5 with two abstentions to affirm a Court of Appeals (CA) ruling and dismiss the petition filed by the DOJ and Home Development Mutual Fund.
Edd Gumban/File
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - September 19, 2018 - 12:00am 
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) sought yesterday a reversal of a Supreme Court (SC) ruling that downgraded the charges filed against property developer Delfin Lee to simple estafa and allowed him to post bail.

In a 47-page motion for reconsideration filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida, the DOJ insisted that Lee and his co-accused – Globe Asiatique vice president Dexter Lee, accounting head Cristina Salagan, documentation head Christina Sagun and PagIBIG foreclosure manager Alex Alvarez – “clearly committed fraud,” adding that all elements of syndicated estafa are present in the case.

In July, the SC voted 7-5 with two abstentions to affirm a Court of Appeals (CA) ruling and dismiss the petition filed by the DOJ and Home Development Mutual Fund.

The apellate court said syndicated estafa would not apply because the law requires at least five respondents. The charges against Alvarez and Sagun had earlier been dismissed.

Insiders said a reversal of the SC ruling is probable, citing the close margin in the voting.                 
Lee was indicted for syndicated estafa for allegedly defrauding the government of P6.6 billion in housing loan proceeds, which probers found fictitious or had incomplete documents.

He was arrested on March 6, 2014 based on a warrant issued by the Pampanga Regional Trial Court Branch 42.

Clark now only second to Metro Manila in office space demand, Leechiu says

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New Clark City
THE Clark area has become the top choice for office space outside Metro Manila this year, as more developers build there to take advantage of the region’s projected growth, according to Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC).

LPC said in a real estate market report that the net office take-up in Clark hit 111,000 square meters (sq.m.) in the year to date, making it the second largest market for office take-up after Metro Manila. The company noted that Clark has overtaken Cebu in terms of net take-up.
“Clark is the biggest recipient of demand after Metro Manila… this is because of the improved investor sentiment in Clark, and the BPOs (business process outsourcing) have developed the labor market already, which made it easier for other developers to enter Clak,” LPC President David Leechiu said in a press briefing in Makati yesterday.

Both BPOs and Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators are starting to expand in Clark, alongside some government agencies like the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, Department of Transportation, and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

Mr. Leechiu noted particular interest in Clark Global City, a 177-hectare estate being developed by businessman Dennis A. Uy.

“Clark Global City is providing the infrastructure. Many of the BPOs inside Clark have moved out of those facilities to go to Clark Global City because they don’t have to provide corporate buses to transport their employees. Number two is Clark Global City is producing world-class office buildings,” Mr. Leechiu said.

The take-up in Clark is part of the record 1.08 million sq.m. in total office take-up across the country recorded as of September. The bulk of the total can be seen in Metro Manila at 799,653 sq.m. The information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) industry occupied a total of 301,000 sq.m in the year to date while offshore gaming firms took up 171,000 sq.m.

The take-up in Metro Manila was seen mostly in Bonifacio Global City with 262,000 sq.m of office space, followed by Quezon City, the so-called Bay Area, Alabang, Ortigas, and Makati.

Mr. Leechiu noted that the lower take-up in Makati was due to lower vacancies in the financial district. He however projected a resurgence in Makati, as developers will soon be reconstructing old buildings in the city.

“There are lots of old buildings that will be reconstructed. So the 20- to 40-year old buildings are going to give way to new development… there’s going to be a massive injection of capital in Makati,” Mr. Leechiu said.

Amid the high take-up, more projects are set to come on stream in the next six years, adding 3.83 million sq.m. to Metro Manila’s office supply of 10.01 million sq.m. as of end-2017. LPC said demand will remain strong as IT-BPM and online gaming firms have pre-committed to space from the office buildings that will be completed from 2019 to 2022.

Meanwhile, provincial areas have so far recorded a net take-up of 283,948 sq.m. Aside from Clark, demand hot spots for office space outside the capital are Cebu, Laguna, Iloilo, Cavite, Nueva Ecija, Davao, and Rizal.

Around 548,000 sq.m of office space is expected to be added into the Luzon office supply, excluding Metro Manila, until 2025, while 305,000 sq.m are in the pipeline for Visayas and Mindanao, excluding Cebu. — Arra B. Francia

Tan’s Alliance Global earmarks P240B for projects until 2020


ALLIANCE Global Group, Inc. (AGI) is ramping up its investments to P240 billion until 2020, pushing the expansion of its property, liquor, gaming, and quick- serviced restaurant businesses in the next three years.

The holding firm of tycoon Andrew L. Tan said bulk of the spending will be for property unit Megaworld Corp. and gaming firm Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc. (TIHGI), which will both be pursuing several residential, office, mall, and hotel projects during the period.

“Megaworld and Travellers, those two will have the largest share in capex requirement. Bulk will be the residential, office, and then the completion of our phase 3 (for Resorts World Manila), and the start of Westside City,” AGI President and Chief Operating Officer Kingson U. Sian told reporters in a briefing after the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting in Eastwood City yesterday.

The capital spending will support Megaworld’s goal to have 1.5 million square meters (sq.m.) in leasable office spaces by 2020. Recently, the listed property giant signed deals with United States-based firms JPMorgan Chase Bank and Factset to build their local headquarters here, spanning a combined footprint of 120,000 sq.m.

The company further aims to have 28 lifestyle malls covering one million sq.m. of gross floor area by 2023.

For TIHGI, the capex will finance the third phase of Resort World Manila (RWM)’s expansion program, where the company will add new international hotel brands Hilton, Sheraton, and Okura, as well as a Grand Wing for casinos.

Both Megaworld and TIHGI will also be funding the development of the integrated leisure and tourism estate called Westside City, located along the state-run Entertainment City in ParaƱaque City.

Megaworld earlier said it will spend P54 billion over the next 10 years for the 31-hectare Westside City, which will house residential, hospitality, and retail components. Meanwhile, TIHGI has allocated $1.1 billion for the integrated resort and casino called Westside City Resorts World Complex inside the township.

Ongoing developments at Westside City will support AGI’s goal to have 12,000 hotel keys by 2020, more than thrice its current portfolio of 3,198 hotel rooms — mostly in RWM. The company noted that at least 1,000 of these hotel rooms will be located in Westside City, while the others will be spread out across their various townships.

Mr. Sian said they expect to start construction for Westside City by next year, as the group is already working on the final touches for the re-masterplanning.

For the liquor business, Emperador, Inc aims to expand its portfolio through more product introductions such as Shackleton, Terry White, and Fundador Double Light, among others. This will improve the company’s presence in the 102 markets where its products are currently available.

Golden Arches Development Corp., the master franchise holder of the McDonald’s brand in the country, will also continue its expansion to hit 1,000 stores in the following years. Mr. Sian noted that they have been opening 50-55 stores in the past two years, compared to its previous average of 25-30 stores. This will bring the company closer to its target faster.

AGI Chief Executive Officer Kevin Andrew L. Tan said most of the capex will be funded by internally generated cash and some borrowing.

“Be assured though that we will always maintain financial prudence and keep our gearing at reasonable level,” Mr. Tan said, adding that AGI’s net debt-to-equity at the consolidated level stood at 38% as of end-June, versus 41% in 2017.

AGI booked an attributable profit of P7.86 billion in the first six months of 2018, after gross revenues went up seven percent to P70.07 billion.

Shares in AGI slipped by eight centavos or 0.64% to close at P12.36 each at the stock exchange on Tuesday. — Arra B. Francia

Remittances recover in July 2018

“The rise in personal remittances during the first seven months of 2018 was supported by an increase of 2.8 percent and four percent in remittance inflows from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more and sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts, respectively,” BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla said.
Edd Gumban/File

Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - September 18, 2018 - 12:00am 
MANILA, Philippines — Personal remittances from overseas Filipinos bounced back in July, rising by 4.5 percent to $2.67 billion from $2.56 billion in the same month last year, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

This brought the first seven months’ tally to $18.46 billion, $529 million higher than the $17.92 billion recorded in the same period last year. Personal remittances consist of cash and non-cash items that flow through both formal or via electronic wire and informal channels such as money or goods carried across borders.

“The rise in personal remittances during the first seven months of 2018 was supported by an increase of 2.8 percent and four percent in remittance inflows from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more and sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts, respectively,” BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla said.

On the other hand, the BSP chief said cash remittances coursed through banks rose by 5.2 percent to $2.4 billion in July from $2.28 billion in the same month last year.

He said cash remittances sent by land-based workers grew by 4.5 percent to $1.9 billion, while those from sea-based workers expanded by 7.8 percent to $511 million.

The cash remittances for July came mainly from the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

For the first seven months, cash remittances inched up three percent to $16.6 billion from $16.09 billion in the same period in 2017.

In particular, cash remittances from land-based and sea-based workers totaled $13.1 billion and $3.5 billion, respectively. More than 79 percent of the total cash remittances came from the US, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Japan, UK, Qatar, Canada, Germany, and Hong Kong.

The BSP has set a four percent growth target for both personal and cash remittances this year.

Beneficiaries of remittances emerge as one of the winners of the continued weakening of the peso against the dollar.

Remittances continue to boost personal consumption, helping sustain a steady growth. Personal remittances accounted for 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and 8.3 percent of gross national income (GNI) last year.

ING Bank Manila senior economist Joey Cuyegkeng said the capital inflows and the hawkish BSP would moderate or offset the weakening bias resulting from the

current account deficit, while moderating private sector growth with higher financing costs.

Aboitiz solar power unit expands to Mindanao

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DAVAO CITY — Aboitiz Power Distributed Energy, Inc. (APX), the newly formed rooftop solar power unit of Aboitiz Power Corp. (AboitizPower), is ready to enter the Mindanao market after starting out in Luzon and the Visayas in April this year.
Jose Rafael R. Mendoza, APX general manager, said the market is ready for renewable energy options as well as the opportunity to have direct power source alternatives that are independent from distributors.

“There is an increased awareness in environmental issues [like] climate change,” said Mr. Mendoza last week in a presentation during the Mindanao Business Conference in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

He also said APX’s solar rooftop solutions would help consumers in Mindanao reduce power demand from distributors, majority of which are electric cooperatives.

Another AboitizPower subsidiary, Davao Light and Power Co., is a distributor in Davao City and parts of neighboring Davao del Norte province.

Mr. Mendoza added that the new source is “part of our (AboitizPower) commitment to balance our energy mix.”

The Aboitiz group currently has a capacity of about 3,000 megawatts (MW) nationwide, including 1,272 MW of net sellable capacity under the Cleanergy brand.

It is expected to increase its renewable energy portfolio later this year with the operations of Hedcor, Inc.’s 68.8-MW plant in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.

Meanwhile, Romeo M. Montenegro, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) deputy executive director, said the entry of APX in the southern islands “will provide another renewable source for people who want to help rehabilitate the environment.”

“This is a welcome initiative because those who want to install solar panels will now have another source for it,” he said on Monday.

Mr. Montenegro, who is also the MinDA point person for the power sector, noted that he had been pushing for the continued development of green energy sources for Mindanao as the balance had been tilting in favor of fossil fuel following the opening of several coal-fired plants in recent years. — Carmelito Q. Francisco

Ayala Land gets top rating for P8-billion fixed rate bonds

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LOCAL DEBT watcher Philippine Ratings Services Corp. (PhilRatings) assigned the highest credit rating for Ayala Land, Inc.’s (ALI) proposed issuance of fixed rate bonds worth P8 billion.
In a statement issued Monday, PhilRatings said it had given the listed property developer’s proposed bonds a PRS Aaa rating with a stable outlook. The rating indicates that ALI has an extremely strong capacity to meet its financial commitment, while the obligation is “of the highest quality with minimal credit risk.”
Meanwhile, a stable outlook means that the assigned rating is unlikely to change in the next 12 months.

The bonds represent the remaining unissued balance out of the company’s P50-billion shelf registration program filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission back in 2016.

ALI said the funds raised from the issuance will be used to partially finance several projects in the pipeline, including the Seda Hotels Bay Area in ParaƱaque, Seda Hotels Bonifacio Global City expansion, leasing projects in Arca South, the Taguig Integrated Terminal Exchange, and the Vertis North Corporate Center Tower 3.

The company will also be funding projects outside Metro Manila, namely Ayala Malls Capitol Central in Bacolod, the Bacolod Capitol Corporate Center, and the Cebu Central Bloc mixed-use complex.

PhilRatings took into account ALI’s well-diversified portfolio with a sizable and strategic landbank, a healthy outlook for the real estate industry, its rising profitability and healthy cash flows, and a sound capitalization with manageable debt level and mix.

“PhilRatings shall continuously monitor developments relating to ALI and may change the ratings at any time, should circumstances warrant a change,” the debt watcher said.

ALI has programmed to spend P110.8 billion in capital expenditures this year, the highest allocation in the company’s history as it looks to take advantage of the strong demand for real estate properties.

Alongside the higher capital spending, the company has also outlined the launch of P125 billion worth of projects for 2018.

ALI generated a net income attributable to equity holders of the parent of P13.5 billion in the first six months of 2018, 18% higher year on year as revenues climbed 25% to P80.4 billion.
Revenues from the sale of residential lots and office spaces alone surged by 27% to P55.7 billion, while the sale of commercial and industrial lots went up by 16% to P3.9 billion.

The property giant recorded reservation sales of P72 billion during the six-month period, indicating the sale of P12 billion worth of residential units every month.

The company targets to generate P40 billion in revenues by 2020, aiming for an equal contribution from both residential development and leasing segments by then.

Shares in ALI rose by six centavos or 1.46% to end at P41.60 on Monday’s trading session. — Arra B. Francia

Shang Properties launches new condo in Mandaluyong

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Shang Residences Wack Wack
The resort-inspired Shang Residences at Wack Wack features 460 units. -- SHANG PROPERTIES, INC.
By Mark Louis F. Ferrolino Special Features Writer

HIGH-END developer Shang Properties, Inc. launched an exclusive resort-inspired condominium in Mandaluyong City — the Shang Residences at Wack Wack.

The towering 50-storey residential project is located on a 3,361-square-meter (sq.m) lot right across the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club.

Susan Lee Yu, sales director of Shang Residences at Wack Wack, told BusinessWorld in an interview that the focal feature of the condo is the lush green view of the iconic country club complex.

With its resort-style vibe, she said Shang Residences at Wack Wack is “a sanctuary in the city.”

The condominium offers a total of 460 units ranging from one bedroom, and two or three bedrooms, as well as a penthouse consisting of duplex units. Unit sizes start at 81.45 sq.m.
Amenities include steam and sauna rooms, a fully equipped gym, resort-style swimming pools, indoor and outdoor play zones, mini theater, pavilion, and spacious multi-function rooms.

The high-end condominium also features a grand lobby, an exclusive entrance and driveway, and five basement parking levels with about 460 slots.

In terms of security, units will have an intercom with direct link to the lobby receptionist, a CCTV monitoring system at the lobby elevators and amenities floor, magnetic lock access card for residential and carpark elevators, and a centralized fire detection and alarm system.
The project’s prime location allows for easy travel to and from key cities, including San Juan, Pasig City, and Makati City. Manila and Quezon City can also be accessed easily via the nearby major thoroughfares.

Unlike other condo projects, Shang Residences will not have any commercial spaces within its premises. There are nearby shopping and entertainment centers, as well as schools, universities, and medical centers.

The Shang Residences at Wack Wack broke ground last year. Turnover of units is expected by 2022 or 2023.

Ms. Yu said that Shang Properties is known for maintaining high quality standards in its projects.

“What differs us from others is the finishes and the quality that we deliver,” Ms. Yu said. “Our bosses are very particular with finishes and choices of materials.”

Meanwhile, Milen G. Treichler, marketing director of Shang Properties, told BusinessWorld in a separate interview the property firm is optimistic about the business prospects in the Philippines.

“Real estate is very exciting industry, and we’d like to be head and shoulders above the rest. If you notice the quality of our developments, we try to give very nice amenities, we try to give things that most people would want, such as very very nice views and well-designed luxury units,” Ms. Treichler said.

She said Shang Residences at Wack Wack is just one of the new projects they have. “Soon, we will be launching more projects,” she added.

When asked why Shang Properties is not as aggressive as other developers in growing its portfolio, Ms. Treichler said it is because they move slowly but surely.

“We spend a lot of time preparing and designing our projects,” she added.

Ayala Land accelerates development of Alviera

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Alviera Central Business District
Alviera, a partnership between Ayala Land, Inc. and Leonio Land Holdings, Inc., is a mixed-use estate in Porac, Pampanga. -- ALVIERA
PROPERTY giant Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) is ramping up the development of Alviera in Pampanga, as it plans to focus on the project’s residential and leisure components in the next five years.

John R. Estacio, general manager of Alviera, said 250 hectares of the 1,800-hectare master-planned estate will be “activated” by the end of the year.

“In the next five years, the focus would be on residential and then on leisure component. Because we have started already, we’re done so far with the industrial and then the commercial,” he said in a press briefing last week.

Mr. Estacio said this is in accordance with ALI’s plan to bring all incorporate residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and entertainment projects within Alviera.

ALI partnered with Leonio Land Holdings, Inc. for the Alviera project.

New residential offerings in the estate will be unveiled by the end of the year.

Ayala Land Premier, ALI’s luxury brand, will launch its first project, while Alveo Land will introduce its second residential development in Alviera.

“There’s now, certainly, breadth and depth within our product offerings, from the high-end to the upscale, to the affordable line,” Mr. Estacio said.

The two residential projects, Montala and Avida Settings, were launched in 2014 and 97% has already been sold out. Since then, the land value has appreciated by 25%.

“We started selling at about P11,000 per square meter (sq.m.). Now, we’re selling at about P14,000 to P15,000 per sq.m.,” Mr. Estacio said.

Meanwhile, Alviera will also be adding new attractions in its six-hectare adventure playground – Sandbox – to lure local and foreign tourists. Mr. Estacio said airsoft and paintball fields will open in the first quarter of 2019.

Alviera will also start operating a country club in early 2019. Its facilities will include swimming pools, sports facilities, specialty restaurants and spacious function rooms.

Mr. Estacio said that the country club is currently 80% completed, and will be fully operational by March.

A 50-room boutique hotel, offering suites and deluxe rooms, is also in the pipeline. The project is scheduled to break ground also in early 2019.

Mr. Estacio said the hotel is ALI’s response to the clamor of the tourists who are looking for a place to stay when they visit the region.

Two educational institutions, namely Miriam College and Holy Angel University, will also rise in the estate and are expected to be operational in 2021.

Both institutions will each have a 10-hectare campus. Miriam College will offer courses in the fields of arts, design, management and technology, while the Holy Angel University will offer courses in the fields of engineering, architecture, animation and hotel and restaurant management. — Mark Louis F. Ferrolino
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