By Denise A. Valdez, Senior Reporter

MEGAWORLD CORP. is targeting to launch 110,000 square meters (sq.m.) of leasable office space this year to strengthen its revenue streams while the coronavirus pandemic is ongoing.

In a virtual meeting with stockholders on Monday, Megaworld Chairman, President and CEO Andrew L. Tan said the company currently has 1.3 million sq.m. of leasable space in its inventory, occupied by more than 130 companies.

“By the end of 2020, we aim to have at least 1.4 million sq.m. of gross leasable space through the addition of another 110,000 sq.m. of fresh leasable office space,” he said.

“I believe that the value we continuously bring to our office space offerings will allow us to achieve this objective,” he added.

Megaworld completed around 192,300 sq.m. of leasable office space in 2019. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has cut its capital expenditures this year by 40% to P36 billion, and decided to stick with projects that have already been committed for completion.

“Our strategy of reinforcing office rentals even before the pandemic paved the way for our stable recurring income today, offsetting the slowdown in our mall business which was greatly affected by this health crisis,” Megaworld Chief Strategy Officer Kevin Andrew L. Tan said.

In the first half of the year, Megaworld’s profits dropped 34% to P5.9 billion, as revenues fell 25% to P23.8 billion. While its consolidated top line declined, revenues from its office leasing segment grew 10% to P5.6 billion.

Part of the company’s strategy in weathering the pandemic is continuing the development of its master-planned townships.

“As we mastered the art and science of building townships…we will now focus on expanding this concept by adding features that will further ensure that our communities will stand the test of time in any crisis,” Mr. Tan said.

While its spending plan has been reduced, Megaworld still intends to pursue expansion plans, land banking opportunities and digitalization investments.

“Megaworld is still firm in its belief that the tourism sector will remain as one of the key long-term drivers of the Philippine economy. As such, we are still keen on expanding our projects in townships such as Westside City, Boracay Newcoast, Twin Lakes and the Mactan Newtown,” Mr. Tan said.

“In the meantime, we will be monitoring the pace of recovery in the economy and consumer confidence levels. These are key factors to consider with regards to our investment plans moving forward,” he added.

Shares in Megaworld at the stock exchange shed seven centavos or 2.28% to close at P3 each on Monday.