By Krista A. M. Montealegre,
PROPERTY GIANT Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) tightened its grip on the owner and developer of Tutuban Center in Divisoria after acquiring a block of shares at a discount to the prevailing market price.
In a disclosure on Monday, Prime Orion Philippines, Inc. said its key shareholder Ayala Land purchased 202.77 million shares of the company worth P496.80 million from Genez Investments Corp. through a block sale at the Philippine Stock Exchange.
The shares, which represent 4.14% of Prime Orion’s outstanding capital, were priced at P2.45 apiece, a discount to the stock’s previous close of P2.68 each.
Shares in Prime Orion shed 24 centavos or 8.96% to settle at P2.44 apiece on Monday.
Ayala Land took over Prime Orion in 2016 when the former subscribed to 2.5 billion common shares of the latter at P2.25 each for a total of P5.63 billion.
Prior to the acquisition of shares held by Genez Investments, Ayala Land owned 51.06% of the total outstanding shares of Prime Orion.
Prime Orion owns Tutuban Center in the Divisoria Tutuban Complex, which sits on a 20-hectare property that has 60,000 square meters in gross leasable area. The planned transfer station for the P287-billion North South Railway Project will connect to the Light Rail Transit Line 2 West Station.
The North South Railway Project will have a 56-kilometer commuter rail from Tutuban to Calamba, Laguna, and a 478-km long-haul rail from Tutuban to Legazpi, Albay. It is expected to boost the area’s daily foot traffic of 100,000 by 400,000.
Prime Orion had announced plans to double its leasable area and convert the property into a mixed-use development, using ALI’s investment.
At the start of the month, Ayala Land also raised its interest in Malaysian developer MCT Bhd. to 50.19%, cementing the Philippine firm’s control over the latter.
Under its 2020 Vision, Ayala Land is targeting a 20% annual growth rate to hit a net income of P40 billion.
For the first nine months of 2017, ALI saw an 18% increase in earnings to P17.8 billion, on the back of a 16% growth in revenues to P98.9 billion.
Shares in ALI slipped by P1 or 2.11% to close at P46.50 each on Monday.