Filinvest REIT Corp. (FILRT) is expecting strong growth this year as building occupancy is starting to improve, the company’s top official said on Wednesday.

“We are happy to note that tenants are starting to come back and pushing forward with our expansion plans. We are hopeful that this is a sign of reversal from the challenge we faced last year,” Maricel Brion-Lirio, president and chief executive officer of FILRT, said during the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting.

Ms. Brion-Lirio was referring to the implementation of hybrid work setups in special economic zones.

In a statement, FILRT said the office leasing segment has experienced drastic changes due to the evolving global workplace environment where hybrid and remote work arrangements are becoming the trend.

“As of the first quarter this year, we have finalized leases and signed letters of intent totaling almost 10,300 square meters (sq.m.). This is more than double the leases that we signed for the entire year of 2022. The tenants that signed are a mix of multinational BPO (business process outsourcing) and traditional companies,” she added.

FILRT said that about 56% of the 10,300-sq.m. new leases are existing BPO clients that needed additional space for expansion, while 24% are existing traditional tenants that also added space to expand. About 20% are new traditional tenants.

FILRT, backed by Filinvest Land, Inc. (FLI), expects its portfolio to benefit from “intrinsic and organic growth” as building occupancy is improving.

“Our sponsor FLI is fully committed to grow FILRT’s portfolio with regular asset infusions. We are guided by a clear investment strategy in order to sustain the portfolio expansion and provide a stable and competitive return to investors,” Ms. Brion-Lirio said.

At the local bourse on Wednesday, shares in the company declined by four centavos or 0.75% to end at P5.26 apiece. — Ashley Erika O. Jose