Ayala unveils P25-B Cebu expansion plan

Connie E. Fernandez

CEBU CITY—An Ayala-owned company intends to continue influencing Cebu’s business landscape amid plans to pour in P25 billion worth of investments in the next five years.

“We are the top investor in Cebu and top taxpayer,” Aniceto Bisnar Jr., Cebu Holding Inc. president, told reporters after the company’s recent annual stockholders’ meeting.

The planned investment of P25 billion was more than half the amount the group had already put in Cebu since it started operating 27 years ago.

CHI owns Cebu Business Park, a 50-hectare commercial and financial hub, which used to be a golf course before the Ayala company developed it starting 1988.

Its subsidiary, Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corp., developed the Cebu IT Park, a 27-hectare former airport that is now Cebu’s biggest IT-based business district.

Cebu IT Park is now home to more than 70 percent of the city’s business process outsourcing companies.

Both business parks have a total of 68,997 workers.

CHI expects the population of both business parks to grow by 20 percent in 2015, providing more opportunities for support services and livelihood in surrounding areas.

“Our business parks offer various opportunities to small entrepreneurs and businessmen and also improve the quality of life of Cebuanos,” he added.

Part of the P25 billion will be spent on the two developments on Mactan Island and Mandaue City.

The 13-hectare proposed development in Mactan is a joint venture with Gaisano-owned Taft Property Venture Development Corp.

“It is set to become the mixed-use leisure and resort community of choice,” he told the stockholders.

The 15-hectare city center in Mandaue will feature residential developments and commercial spaces with retail and office spaces.

CHI will have a 10-percent stake in this partnership with Ayala Land Inc. and AboitizLand Inc.

Set to be finished this year, are eBloc Tower 4 and the ACC Corporate Center at the Cebu IT Park, which will have over 107,000 square meters of combined office leasable space.

A two-hectare superblock, which will bring in over 172,000 square meters of gross floor area in the next years, is set to rise inside the Cebu IT Park.

The superblock will house a mall, office buildings and a Seda hotel.

“We play a vital role in the economy of Cebu city and province,” said Bisnar.

Enrique Manuel Jr., CHI chief finance officer, said the company was still looking to acquire more pieces of property in Cebu and developing these into mixed-use townships.

He admitted that there were ongoing negotiations but declined to identify the specific sites in Cebu.

“We usually receive five to six offers within a week. There is always an offer and we always talk to them,” he said.

Bisnar said CHI was open to partnerships, noting that Ayala was a preferred partner by many landowners because it was a “trusted name.”

In his report to the stockholders, Bisnar said CHI again posted a record high net income, which last year reached P530.9 million.

Consolidated revenues went up by P2.3 billion compared to 2013’s P2.2 billion.

Its leasing portfolio, which was brought up to over 187,000 square meters, accounts for 61 percent of revenues.

“With parent company Ayala Land, we launched 1,559 residential units last year. We sold 924 units which brought in P237.3 million, contributing 10 percent to the company’s revenue,” he said.

At least 23 percent of total revenue, or P539.1 million, came from other sources included equity in net earnings of its associates’ interests.

Bisnar said CHI’s consolidated assets grew by 27 percent in 2014, reaching P16.4 billion.

Ayala Center Cebu inside Cebu Business Park opened a new wing where premium brands and first-in-Cebu concepts are found.

At the end of 2014, 95 percent of the 127,000 square meters leasable area was occupied with over 500 merchants, said Bisnar.

At the Cebu IT Park, eBloc Tower 3 was completed last year.

Twelve buildings at the Cebu Business Park and five buildings at Cebu IT Park are under construction. These new structures will add almost 381,000 square meters of gross floor area.

Developments in both parks will bring in at least 1.4 million square meters of space, almost doubling its gross floor area within the next five years.