SMIC eyes bonds, loans to refinance debt by Q3

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SM Investments Corp. held its annual stockholders’ meeting on Wednesday, attended by (from left) Frederic C. DyBuncio, president and CEO; Elmer B. Serrano, corporate secretary; Jose T. Sio, chairman of the board; Teresita T. Sy, vice chairperson; and Henry T. Sy, Jr., vice chairman. — PHILSTAR/JOEY VIDUYA

By Arra B. Francia, Senior Reporter

SM Investments Corp. (SMIC) is looking at conducting a fundraising activity towards the third quarter of the year to refinance maturing loans.

The Sy-led conglomerate said it is mulling the issuance of bonds or securing loans, depending on how the company’s operations will fare in the coming months.

“We have a bond maturing in October, almost $500 million. (So we will raise) for refinancing,” SMIC Senior Vice-President Marcelo C. Fernando, Jr. told reporters after the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City Wednesday.

“A small portion of the maturity will be refinanced, maybe less than half.”

Mr. Fernando said SMIC still has P30 billion that can be issued out of its P50-billion debt securities program. However, the company may fail to exhaust this as the registration will mature in November.

SMIC has allocated P98 billion for its capital expenditures this year, bulk of which will go to its property unit, SM Prime Holdings, Inc., at P80 billion.

SM Prime will build four new malls in the country this year, namely SM Center Dagupan, SM City Olongapo Central, SM City Butuan, and SM Mindpro Citimall. It has also committed to build its eighth mall in China in Yangzhou, while expanding SM Xiamen.

Its residential group has plans to launch 19,000 to 25,000 units located both in Metro Manila and in the provinces this year.

Meanwhile, its banking business composed of BDO Unibank, Inc. and China Banking Corp., cornered P9-12 billion of this year’s capex. This will be used for branch expansions and IT enhancements.

For SM Retail, Inc., expansion for new stores and renovation of existing stores are seen to cost P5 billion in 2019.

“Our priorities in 2019 are no different from the past years and we will continue to challenge ourselves so we can be assured of continued success. Overall, we ended the year with a strong balance sheet and we are confident of our growth prospects for the business,” SMIC President and Chief Executive Officer Frederic C. DyBuncio said in a speech during the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting.

SMIC’s net income grew by 13% to P37.1 billion in 2018, following a 13% uptick in consolidated revenues to P449.8 billion.

Asked for an outlook on the company’s business this year, SMIC Senior Vice-President for Finance and Corporate Information Officer Franklin C. Gomez said he is cautiously optimistic for the year.

“Barring any significant calamities, we’re cautiously optimistic because the country is growing strong. Our business is very much linked to the country’s gross domestic product cause it covers consumer, property, banking,” Mr. Gomez told reporters.

Shares in SMIC soared 2.15% or P20 to close at P950 each at the stock exchange on Wednesday.