FPH to spend P8 billion for new headquarters

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An artist’s perspective of the Chronicle Building. -- COMPANY HANDOUT

By Arra B. Francia
Senior Reporter

FIRST Philippine Holdings Corp. (FPH) will be spending P8 billion over the next five years to develop its new headquarters in Ortigas Center.

“The cost of redevelopment is about P8 billion, but that will be over a span of five years…It’s designed to be very energy efficient and water efficient so that it’s consistent with our values,” FPH President and Chief Operating Officer Francis Giles B. Puno told reporters after the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Makati last Friday.

The company will start demolishing the six-storey Benpres building — which was the Lopez group’s headquarters since 1971 — by the middle of the year. It will make way for a 40-storey Grade A building to be called the Chronicle Building, named after the group’s now-defunct newspaper, The Manila Chronicle.

The Chronicle Building will house the Lopez group companies, but Mr. Puno said they also plan to lease out about half of the building’s floor space.

“It’s for the group, pretty much. But we will also be able to lease out office space to outside tenants, at least 50-50,” Mr. Puno said.

FPH’s business units include energy firm First Gen Corp., Energy Development Corp., First Philippine Industrial Corp., First Philippine Properties Corp., and Rockwell Land Corp., among others.

The Lopez group earlier said it targets to secure the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for the building.

Several firms have been redeveloping their offices recently, opting to incorporate environmentally friendly features in their new headquarters.

Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands last year announced that it will tear down its 40-year-old main office at the corner of Ayala and Paseo de Roxas avenues in Makati. The listed lender expects to complete the tower in about four years. It also plans to lease out a portion of the new building to other tenants.

PLDT, Inc. Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan also said last week that they are looking to redevelop their Makati headquarters into a vertical office tower with green features and “plenty of open spaces.”

“At the end you have to make a choice as to what work environment you want to bring for your people,” Mr. Pangilinan said.

FPH booked a net income attributable to the parent of P10.28 billion in 2018, 76% higher than the P5.86 billion it posted the year before. Gross revenues also went up 21% to P131.31 billion for the year.

Shares in FPH went up 0.52% or 40 centavos to close at P77 each at the stock exchange on Friday.