By Victor V. Saulon, Sub-Editor
LOPEZ-LED First Philippine Holdings Corp. (FPH) is setting aside a budget of P22 billion for 2018, with its property development segment cornering the bulk of the capital expenditures, the company treasurer said on Monday.
“The total consolidated [capex] is about P22 billion. About more than half of that — P12 billion — is in Rockwell [Land Corp.], P8 billion in First Gen [Corp.], the rest will be in the Benpres redevelopment, the eye care and health care (businesses),” Emmanuel P. Singson, FPH senior vice-president, treasurer and chief financial officer, told reporters after the holding firm’s annual stockholders meeting.
Specifically, the eye care business, under Asian Eye Institute, would corner P100 million, while another P100 million to P200 million will be allocated for education, Mr. Singson said.
This year’s capex is lower than the P25 billion allocated last year.
“That’s because we had big investments, like San Gabriel,” Mr. Singson said, referring to the subsidiary’s 414-megawatt (MW) combined-cycle natural gas-fired power plant.
This year’s capex will be sourced from internally generated funds, Mr. Singson said, adding that each subsidiary would be sourcing its separate capex needs.
For FPH, the financial requirement will be small, unless the holding firm goes for the full redevelopment of its Benpres property in Pasig City.
“When we start constructing, that’s [when] the real bigger capex comes in. Hopefully, next year,” Mr. Singson said.
He said the total capex for the building alone is about P8 billion. FPH has yet to demolish the Benpres building, which used to house the offices of some of the firm’s subsidiaries. The redevelopment project is expected to require P2 billion annually for about three to four years.
This year, among the new ventures that the firm is planning to expand into are health care and education.
Francis Giles B. Puno, FPH president and chief operating officer, told stockholders that the firm is “developing new strategies to reimagine health care and wellness beyond our current investments.”
“As a company anchored on wellness in all its forms, we are excited about developing a health care platform and creating impact in that space,” he said.
Mr. Puno also said FPH recently launched First School, a senior high school program that offers vocational training for workers at the First Philippine Industrial Park in Batangas.
Joaquin E. Quintos IV, FPH senior vice-president, said the firm’s foray into education is focused on supplying the requirements of the industrial park’s locators.
“The intent as a technical vocational school is right after they graduate Grade 12, they are ready to be employed by the locators,” he said.
Asked about details on the eye care venture, Mr. Quintos said the firm would use Asian Eye Institute “as platform in the health care space.” FPH took control of Asian Eye Institute in 2017.
“Eye care is largely unserved, we’re going to have our hands full. But there will be other opportunities,” he said. “The old model of health care is hospital. We don’t believe in that. We believe the trend is to bring care to the patients.”
On Monday, shares in FPH slipped 0.39% or 25 centavos to close at P63.60 each.
By Victor V. Saulon, Sub-Editor