By Arra B. Francia, Reporter
AYALA CORP. (AC) is keeping its capital spending steady this year, while keeping a “fairly positive” outlook about the group’s businesses moving forward.
“As a group I think it’s about the same (capex) as last year,” AC Chief Finance Officer Jose Teodoro K. Limcaoco told reporters on the sidelines of the company’s media event in Makati City on Wednesday night.
The listed conglomerate committed to spend P249 billion in capital expenditures in 2018, 44% higher than its spending the year before to finance its investments as well as the expansion of its subsidiaries, Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI), Globe Telecom, Inc., and Manila Water Co., Inc.
Mr. Limcaoco noted they will be spending less at the parent level due to the absence of large investments.
“Last year, we had a big capex spend for the BPI (Bank of the Philippine Islands) rights offer, IMI (Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc.) rights offer. I don’t see any big investments this year,” Mr. Limcaoco said.
BPI raised P50 billion through a stock rights offering last year to fund its business operations and expansion, while IMI also secured P5 billion in fresh funds through a rights offer. ALI has allotted P130 billion to support its plan to launch P130 billion worth of residential and office projects, depending on market demand. Globe also hiked its spending by 45% to P63 billion this year to address the rising demand for data services.
Mr. Limcaoco said they are closely watching how the third telco player will perform, calling the Mislatel consortium, led by Davao-based businessman Dennis A. Uy, a credible player.
“We keep on watching how the third player pans out. We get to be realistic that that is a concern, even though I think their business probably doesn’t pick up speed until towards the end of the year or next year…And the question is how fast can they get the business going,” he explained.
With the entry of a new player, Mr. Limcaoco said the higher spending will help them build out Globe’s network and further improve it, while also expanding their business on the home broadband segment.
Sought for his outlook, the top executive said 2019 looks “fairly positive.”
“I think we’re still fairly confident about the real estate market, it remains very strong. Banking looks very solid, loan growth looks steady, credit quality remains good,” Mr. Limcaoco said.
AC’s net income attributable to the parent rose three percent to P23.86 billion in the first nine months of 2018, following a 18% uptick in gross revenues to P201.68 billion. The company is set to release its full-year 2018 earnings results on March 13.
Shares in AC climbed 0.48% or P4.50 to close at P948 each at the stock exchange on Thursday.