By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

ROBUST SALES of residential properties alongside a growing rental business fuelled an 18% increase in Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI)’s earnings in the third quarter.

The property arm of the Ayala group disclosed on Tuesday a net income of P6.3 billion in the July to September period, up from the P5.3 billion it posted in the same period a year ago.

This brought ALI’s net income to P17.8 billion in the nine months ending September, 18% higher year on year. Revenues for the period likewise picked up 16% to P98.9 billion, as ALI surpassed its internal targets for property sales at P94.2 billion, 12% higher than the P84.32 billion reported in the same period a year ago.

“We have seen a marked increase in our residential property sales in the first three quarters of 2017. Together with the continued build-up of our leasing assets, this has led to a strong top and bottom line growth for the company. Moving forward, we remain committed to introducing market-responsive products that will better serve our customers and sustain the business results of the company,” ALI President and Chief Executive Officer Bernard Vincent O. Dy said in a statement.

ALI continues to grow its residential portfolio with the development of 23 estates in the country, 14 of which are outside Metro Manila. This includes Evo City in Cavite, Azuela Cove in Davao, and Seagrove in Lapu-Lapu City. The company noted its emerging estates now make up 42% of its overall income, complimenting the performance of more mature estates in the metro.

The listed firm said it has already launched P53.9 billion worth of projects in the first three quarters of 2017. Combined sales of property units, including residential lots and units, office spaces, commercial and industrial lots surged 30% to P68.4 billion

For its commercial business, combined revenues from shopping malls, offices, hotels, and resorts penciled in a 10% uptick to P21.1 billion in the first nine months of the year.

The shopping mall business alone contributed P11.8 billion to the company’s revenues, alongside its expansion program, which saw the Ayala Malls group with a gross leasable space of 1.7 million square meters as of September.

ALI, meanwhile, generated P4.47 billion in revenues from the leasing of 909,000 square meters of office space. The company has recently complete The Circuit BPO Tower 2 and The 30th Corporate Center, and remains on track to finish construction of Vertis North BPO Tower 2 and Circuit BPO 1 before 2017 ends.

The hospitality business contributed P4.83 billion in revenues during the nine-month period, as the company opened new rooms in Balai Adlao in Lio, Palawan, and Balay Kogon in Sicogon. This pushed the company’s hotel room count to 2,509 from 2,477 in the first half of 2017.

For the remainder of 2017, ALI is targeting to add 174 more hotel rooms under its portfolio, with 154 in Seda Capitol Central in Bacolod and 20 in Hotel Covo in Lio.

ALI noted it has already spent P63.2 billion in capital expenditures by the end of Sept. 30, bulk of which was for completion of residential projects at 49%, followed by commercial leasing projects at 28%, land acquisitions, new businesses and other investments accounting for 17%, and the remaining 6% for the development of ALI’s estates.

Shares in ALI added 60 centavos or 1.33% to P45.60 each at the stock exchange on Tuesday.