Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc.
Vista Land targets to have 60 malls by 2020

VISTA LAND & Lifescapes, Inc. is pouring in P50 billion in capital expenditures in 2018, as the company embarks on a three-year program to nearly triple its mall developments by 2020.

In a statement issued Thursday, the Villar-led firm said bulk of the spending for 2018 will be for the development of malls, in line with its vision to reach 1.4 million square meters of gross floor area from leasing spaces by the end of the year. Malls will corner 85% of this target, while office projects will account for 15%.

Vista Land is ramping up its spending to reach its target of 60 malls by 2020, which are expected to generate a steady stream of leasing revenues. It currently has a total of 22 malls, including those operated by its subsidiaries.

This year’s P50-billion capex is 42% higher than the P35.3-billion it has committed to spend in 2017.

“Our company is poised to have another banner year for 2018 as our additional leasable spaces are now contributing significantly to our current financial results in addition to the sustained double digit growth in our residential business,” Vista Land President and Chief Executive Officer Manuel Paolo A. Villar said in a statement.

Vista Land’s net income grew by 12% in the nine months ending September to P7.1 billion, following a 12% year-on-year increase in revenues to P26.9 billion during the period.

Of this, leasing income accounted for P4.3 billion, 30% higher than its contribution to revenues a year prior. The residential segment was the company’s primary growth driver as sales reached P20.8 billion for the period.

The company has earlier announced its P10-billion net income target for this year, 11% higher than the projected P9 billion it expects to have made in 2017.

Vista Land continues its expansion program as it expects more demand for both residential and office spaces.

“We remain optimistic for the industry, given the strong demand for our commercial spaces and housing products, propelled by the stable growth in the disposable income, OF (overseas Filipino) remittances and sound Philippine macroeconomic fundamentals,” Vista Land Chairman Manuel B. Villar, Jr. said in a statement.

Vista Land is currently present in 133 cities and municipalities across 46 provinces. Considered the largest property developer for horizontal communities, the company’s long term goal is to establish its presence in around 200 cities.

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Villar group set for diversification

After building a fortune through real estate development, the family of “brown taipan” Manuel Villar intends to venture into other capital-intensive businesses like telecommunications, integrated gaming and infrastructure.

These new businesses will be pursued outside publicly listed Vista Land & Lifescapes (VLL), company president Manuel Paolo Villar said last week.

In telecommunications, the family is vying for the chance to be the country’s third telco player and is now looking for prospective partners, Villar said.

“The family is looking seriously at getting involved in the telecom side,” Villar said. “When I say seriously, it’s possibly a national involvement.”

The Villars’ Streamtech Systems Technologies Inc. is seeking congressional franchise to provide a nationwide telco service. The application has hurdled the House of Representatives late last year and is now awaiting Senate approval.

Asked about rumors that Golden Bria Holdings—formerly Golden Haven which was rebranded to reflect plans to do business not just for the dead but also for the living—would be the Villars’ vehicle for the telco foray, Villar refused to make a comment.

Shares of Golden Bria have been sizzling in the stock market since January, defying market correction. It is now valued by the stock market at close to P194 billion as share price surged by 13.9 times from the end-2017 level to P303 each.

Asked why the group was interested in going into the telco business when other third players like the Gokongwei and San Miguel groups had both sold out, Villar said the group would come up with a business plan with the benefit of hindsight.

Being a property-based group may prove to be an advantage for the company and its plan to go into telecom.

“We have a lot of areas in the Philippines that we’re developing and could be used for telecom infrastructure,” he said.

Gaming is another area that the Villar family is “seriously looking” at outside Vista Land, Villar said.

“I think the prospect for responsible gaming is good. There’s market demand for that and the family has real estate assets that will be useful. It’s a solid business to be (in),” he said.

The Villar group is among those that have submitted applicants for gaming license to state-run Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corp. before Malacanang ordered a moratorium on the processing of new applications.

The group is also keen on investing in the infrastructure space but not in toll roads, Villar said.

Villar’s brother, Mark, is current public works and highways secretary and it was thus implied that the group would stay away from public toll road projects to avoid conflict of interest.

The family is keen on projects that will contribute to national development, adding that airport development is one possibility.


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