By Adam J. Ang

CEBU LANDMASTERS, INC. (CLI) said its net attributable profit in the first semester slid by 7% to P792 million despite posting record reservation sales.

The listed property developer on Thursday said its consolidated revenues at P3.5 billion were closely matching its 2019 first-half figure.

CLI saw “record” reservation sales of P4.61 billion in the second quarter, 65% of which came from its economic housing brand, despite some construction halts and generally low sales in the mid-income and economic housing sectors.

Its recurring business ballooned more than twice or 137% to P91.3 million.

Bookings by business process outsourcing (BPO) firms for their employees operating during the strict lockdown lifted CLI’s hotel business revenues of P38.2 million. Particularly, the 180-room Citadines Cebu City maintained an occupancy rate of 70% during the lockdown months.

Rental income also increased by 16% to P32.3 million.

“In the breakdown of our revenues, it’s still mostly driven by our projects in Cebu but [there are] very good, very healthy contributions as well from all other major markets, showing you the fruits and the wisdom of diversifying our presence in all these geographies,” CLI Chief Finance Officer Beauregard Grant L. Cheng said in a virtual briefing.

The property developer completed four out of 14 affordable housing projects in the Visayas and Mindanao in the first half. It is geared to launch more projects for the rest of the year “as our markets have remained committed to their purchases,” CLI Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jose R. Soberano III said in a separate statement.

“The pandemic has made many see that owning a home in a safe and secure community is a good way to secure their family’s future,” he added.

“We were bracing for the possibility that there [would be fewer] buyers this year for houses,” Mr. Cheng said.

According to Mr. Soberano, most of the buyers during the period were local residents that were enticed by “stretched” payment terms and grace periods to invest in a home. The company touted its second-quarter sales performance as its best to date.

“We ourselves were surprised by how local demand compensated for the decreased share from OFWs (overseas Filipino workers). Home ownership will provide the best security during these times,” he said.

Overseas workers usually make up four in 10 of house buyers, but their share went down to 20% in the quarter.

CLI is still pursuing planned and ongoing construction activities for mixed-use development and hotel projects with target completions in two to four years.

It is “on track” to meet its yearend revenue target, expecting project constructions to catch up in the next two quarters, according to Mr. Soberano. It is eyeing to match its 2019 financial record of P8.5 billion in revenues and P2.5 billion in net profit.

“Construction sites continue to progress despite the quarantine since Cebu Landmasters’ projects are mostly in cities with minimal quarantine restrictions…. We look forward to handing over units to many of our buyers in the next few months,” CLI’s chairman said.

CLI’s shares slightly increased by 1% to close at P5.05 each on Thursday.