Posted on April 07, 2013 10:27:28 PM

THE JOINT VENTURE of Ayala Land, Inc. and the Rustan Group yesterday opened its first FamilyMart convenience store in Makati City and plans to open three more branches within the month, Ayala Land officials said over the weekend.

Pamela Ann T. Perez, Ayala Land investor communications and compliance head, in a text message confirmed the opening of the first store in Glorietta mall in Ayala Center, while Jaime E. Ysmael, Ayala Land chief finance officer, said via separate text that three more branches will open within the month.

Noting the first store’s location in Glorietta 3, Mr. Ysmael cited “three more to open this April: Glorietta 5, Ayala (Avenue) MRT (Metro Rail Transit Line 3) station, and (The) Exchange Regency (Residence Hotel) in Ortigas (Center).”

In November last year, SIAL CVS Retailers, Inc. — a partnership between Varejo Corp. and Specialty Investments, Inc., wholly owned units of Ayala Land and Rustan-led Store Specialists, Inc., respectively — signed a shareholders agreement with Japanese firms FamilyMart Co. Ltd. and Itochu Corp. for the development and operation of FamilyMart stores in the Philippines.

This marked Ayala Land’s first venture into convenience store operations.

Mr. Ysmael said in November last year that SIAL CVS Retailers has allotted roughly P80 million for an initial 30 FamilyMart stores this year, and less than P300 million for “a couple of hundred stores” in the next few years.

According to an e-mail from Ayala Land last Saturday, FamilyMart stores in the Philippines will feature ready-to-eat and fastfood products, unique food items from Japan and Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) Internet access, among others.

FamilyMart, established in 1981, is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and operates the FamilyMart chain of convenience stores in Japan as well as a franchise system, according to its Web site.

As of end-February 2012, FamilyMart had 3,356 employees and 20,079 stores, including area franchises.

Ayala Land was organized in 1988 when its parent, conglomerate Ayala Corp., decided to spin off its real estate division into an independent subsidiary to enhance management focus on real estate.

Ayala Land grew its net income by 27.69% to a record P10.33 billion in 2012 from P8.09 billion in 2011, driven by strong sales of its residential business.

In the same comparative periods, revenues — consisting of real estate sales, interest and investment income, equity in net earnings of associates, and other income — rose by 23.32% to P54.52 billion from P44.21 billion, while costs and expenses rose by 23.28% to P41.30 billion from P33.50 billion.

Ayala Land has earmarked P65.5 billion for capital expenditures (capex) this year, partly to bankroll the construction of about 69 property projects collectively worth P129 billion. About P20 billion of the capex will be for landbanking.

Shares of Ayala Land declined by 25 centavos or 0.80% to P31.10 apiece on Friday last week from P31.35 each last Thursday. — F. J. G. de la Fuente

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