By Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte

THE real estate investment trust (REIT) of DoubleDragon Properties Corp. has debuted at the stock exchange on Wednesday to hold the record number of small investors, which its top official described as mostly from the provinces.

Edgar “Injap” J. Sia II, chairman of DDMP REIT, Inc. (DDMPR), said the initial public offering (IPO) during the pandemic “is definitely not a walk in the park.”

“We believe this is our share of also promoting a more inclusive economy, and that what we can achieve together now during these challenging, never-been-chartered territories, brought about by this pandemic,” he said during the listing ceremony at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE).

In attendance for the listing ceremony were PSE officials, DDMPR directors, and officials from DoubleDragon Properties.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III commended DoubleDragon’s business resilience amid the pandemic, as it also launched the IPO of its grocery retailer MerryMart Consumer Corp. last year.

“As with the previous [IPOs] made during the pandemic, DoubleDragon’s REIT listing reflects the strong confidence of our investors in our economic recovery,” Mr. Dominguez said in his recorded message.

Some 17.83 billion shares of the company are now listed.

DDMPR is the second REIT to debut at the local bourse, after Ayala Land, Inc.’s REIT offering last year.

PSE President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Monzon said he hopes more real estate firms will consider offering REITs.

“With more REIT issuances, we are not only providing companies a platform to raise capital for their expansion, we are also giving investors more investment options and we are helping the country through the reinvestment policy required from REIT issuers,” Mr. Monzon said in a taped message.

Mr. Dominguez said “REITs are indispensable to rebuilding a strong and truly inclusive economy for our people.”

“These will make available huge volumes of capital to our financial system that will help fund our long term growth,” he added.

DDMPR told the exchange on Monday that it needed an additional day to complete the lodging of its shares, after over 50,000 investors subscribed to its IPO.

Shares of DDMPR were priced at P2.25 apiece with a projected yield of over five percent. The company said these were decided for “the fragmented small and medium investors from across the country.”

PSE’s Mr. Monzon noted that DDMPR now holds the record for the highest number of local small investors for an IPO, with some 12,073 seen to be invested in the REIT listing.

“I was merry to have observed that it looks like majority of the DDMPR IPO subscribers could be from thousands of provincial investors who normally just park their passive funds in bank time deposits,” Mr. Sia noted.

The DDMPR chairman said he hopes to see “the access to investing would become far wider and more inclusive than it is.” He called DDMPR shares a “pamana stock,” which features freehold titled land and developed buildings.

DDMPR’s portfolio includes the first six completed buildings in DD Meridian Park at the Bay Area, corner of Macapagal Avenue and EDSA Extension in Pasay City. It offers some 280,000 square meters of office space.

“DoubleDragon’s REIT offering is worth as much as P14.7 billion, [which is] the largest REIT issuance in the Philippines so far. The investment portfolio is very compelling,” Mr. Dominguez noted.

The company said in November that the majority of sale proceeds will be used as equity into Central Hub Industrial Centers, Inc.

In its first day of trading, DDMPR’s intraday high was at P2.40 and shares were traded for as low as P2.24.

“It has been volatile, particularly in the first 30 [minutes],” Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Claire T. Alviar said in a Viber message.

“We think that its performance was still good and allows long-term investors to have a slice of [a] REIT in their portfolio at its IPO price but with a few charges this time. REITs are good for dividend play with a long term holding period,” Ms. Alviar added.

DDMPR shares at the stock exchange closed at its listing price of P2.25 apiece on Wednesday.