By Arra B. Francia, Senior Reporter

MEGAWORLD Corp. is set to launch six more townships covering about 2,000 hectares of land by next year, as it expands its footprint to areas outside Metro Manila.

The listed property developer said it will unveil two to three more townships this year, after the introduction of its 24th estate called Highland City in Cainta, Rizal last March. The rest will be launched in 2020, for a total of 30 townships.

“We look to expand further, originally we went into townships in areas we considered second and third tier, but now we’re looking at areas that have a longer-term perspective,” Megaworld Chief Strategy Officer Kevin Andrew L. Tan told reporters after the company’s 25th listing anniversary listing in Taguig Monday.

Megaworld said five of the new townships will be located in Luzon, while one will be in Mindanao. Specific details on the locations were not disclosed.

“We’re seeing a lot of demand outside Metro Manila. That’s something we’re quite optimistic and encouraged about,” Mr. Tan said.

The land areas will come from the property firm’s new acquisitions over the last five years. The upcoming townships will bring its total land ownership and land holdings to more than 6,000 hectares.

The company is also incorporating smart technology into their townships, as Mr. Tan cited the importance of their developments’ digital transformation.

“We have now started to build what we call iTownships or smart townships starting with homes since last year, we put in a lot of smart technology in the homes that we are building and all of the common facilities as well,” Mr. Tan said.

Megaworld currently has 24 townships across the country, nine of which are in Metro Manila. Eight of these developments are in Luzon, six are in Visayas, while only one is in Mindanao.

Meanwhile, Mr. Tan said they are also waiting for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to come out with the final guidelines for the offering of real estate investment trusts (REITs) so they can participate in such products.

“We are carefully watching what the final IRR (implementing rules and regulations) will be,” Mr. Tan said, adding that they have the option to do a REIT on their offices, townships, or hotel developments.

Megaworld’s net income attributable to the parent grew by 16% to P3.8 billion in the first quarter of 2019, following a 15% increase in consolidated revenues to P14.9 billion.

The company earlier said that it will spend P65 billion in capital expenditures this year to support the property development in its townships.

Megaworld is part of tycoon Andrew L. Tan’s holding firm Alliance Global Group, Inc., which also has core interests in liquor, gaming, quick-service restaurants, and infrastructure development.

Shares in Megaworld slipped by a centavo or 0.17% to close at P5.97 each at the stock exchange on Monday.