Ayala Land ties up with El Nido owner for new Palawan resort

AYALA LAND, Inc. has forged a joint venture with the owner of Palawan’s El Nido Resorts for a P2-billion investment into a tourism project, marking the Zobel-led property firm’s third foray into resort and leisure developments.

“The Executive Committee of Ayala Land approved [on Friday] the entry by Ayala Land in the development of responsible tourism destinations in Northern Palawan,” the property developer told the local bourse yesterday.

“[Ayala Land] will jointly undertake [the development] with Asian Conservation Co., with Ayala Land taking a 60% interest in the partnership,” it added.

Asian Conservation, through subsidiaries under the Ten Knots Group, owns and operates the El Nido Resorts in Lagen and Miniloc Islands in Northern Palawan.

“The partnership will start this year,” Antonino T. Aquino, president and chief executive of Ayala Land, said in a mobile phone “text” message.

He added that “Ayala Land will take a 60% interest and invest P2 billion in high-end tourism facilities in Palawan.”

In the statement, Ayala Land said the partnership would take advantage of Asian Conservation’s experience in managing island resort properties.

“We are pleased to have Ayala Land as our strategic partner, given [its] strong corporate philosophy on sustainability and [its] proven track record of building world-class real estate projects,” Asian Conservation Chairman Vicente S. Perez, a former Energy secretary, said in the statement.

In 2007, Ayala Land first ventured into the resort and leisure segment by starting the P4-billion development of the 320-hectare Anvaya Cove in Bataan. It was followed by the Amara development in Cebu.

Shares in Ayala Land, whose net income fell by 16% to P4 billion last year given the economic downturn, closed lower at P14.25 apiece yesterday from P13.75 on Friday.

The El Nido Resort won the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Award in 2009 and was one of 15 Favorite Green Hotels recognized by Travel+Leisure magazine in 2007. — Neil Jerome C. Morales