By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

DOUBLEDRAGON Properties Corp. (DoubleDragon) is targeting to pursue its P11-billion real estate investment trust (REIT) offering in the fourth quarter, unfazed by the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Our plans have not changed except that instead now we plan to do the REIT offering by Q4 (fourth quarter) this year 2020,” DoubleDragon Chairman Edgar “Injap” J. Sia II told BusinessWorld via e-mail over the weekend.

“Although there is a global pandemic now going on, there are still investors looking to invest in specific companies that they think have a good, relevant and resilient portfolio. Right now what matters the most is the longterm relevance and resilience of the business model more than anything else,” he added.

For this year’s offering, DoubleDragon is looking to offer the first one-fourth or 200,000 square meters (sq. m.) from its portfolio of 803,000 sq. m. leasing assets. Mr. Sia said the exact composition will be announced next month.

In January, DoubleDragon said it wants to do a REIT listing of about 200,000 sq. m. leasing assets in the next six years until 2025 at an estimated cap rate of 6%.

“This COVID-19 crisis has allowed DoubleDragon to demonstrate that its four pillars of growth are resilient, relevant and well-positioned to capture the future,” Mr. Sia said. The four pillars are provincial retail leasing, office leasing, industrial leasing and hotels.

DoubleDragon owns properties such as CityMalls, DD Meridian Park, Jollibee Tower, Hotel 101, Jinjiang Inn Philippines and CentralHub. In the first three quarters of 2019, the company’s revenues jumped 47% to P6.93 billion, driven by a 41% rise in recurring revenues to P2.9 billion.

Mr. Sia is also the chairman of grocery operator MerryMart Consumer Corp., which is doing a public offer of shares from May 27 to June 5. Listing at the exchange is scheduled on June 15.

The company announced last week it will offer its shares at P1 each to raise a total of P1.6 billion from the offering. This would mark the country’s first initial public offering for 2020.

“We see this year 2020 as the new beginning of the next decade and both DoubleDragon and MerryMart will continue to pursue its goals to make it more and more entrenched in the Philippine market as years go by,” Mr. Sia said.

“In the Philippines, it’s not easy for a new starting entrepreneur to grow a business because (established players) are all over the place, but we will strive hard to still rapidly grow both DoubleDragon and MerryMart more importantly now that we just entered this new decade,” he added.

Shares in DoubleDragon at the stock exchange closed at P17.68 each on Friday, up 74 centavos or 4.37% from a day ago.

Aside from DoubleDragon, Ayala Land, Inc. also has an application with regulators to do a P15.1-billion REIT offer involving three commercial buildings in Makati City.

The increased interest in REITs came after the Securities and Exchange Commission released new REIT rules in January allowing a minimum public ownership of 33%, a minimum paid-up capital of P300 million and tax exemption for the transfer of property into a REIT vehicle.

The Philippines’ REIT law was legislated in 2009 but failed to attract property developers in the past decade because of stricter requirements then.