Work-from-home arrangements spur residential demand

By Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte

STA. LUCIA Land, Inc. (SLI) plans to expand in what the company calls its “growth areas,” after seeing demand when people started working from home.

“It’s really more for expansion because if you notice those areas, we already have a presence there for the past years and decades, so we’re just expanding where we currently are,” SLI Vice-President for Corporate Planning and Investor Relations Mr. Jeremiah T. Pampolina told BusinessWorld in a phone call on Monday.

According to a disclosure last Friday, the property developer’s board of directors authorized the acquisition of several properties and has also approved plans of entering joint ventures for several projects.

“We’re being conservative. We are not in Metro Manila,” Mr. Pampolina said. “[We’re investing in] growth areas, as we call them. The emerging growth cities, that’s what we’re optimistic about.”

SLI will be acquiring a parcel of land in Davao del Sur with an area of 8,227 square meters (sq.m.) and a 25,000-sq.m. property in Iloilo. The company will also acquire land, which spans nearly 5,000 sq.m. in Batangas.

The company will be entering joint ventures for several of its project developments, including a Rizal property with an area of 5,866 sq.m., a 10,000-sq.m. project in Davao del Sur, a development in Lapu-Lapu City with an area of over 71,000 sq.m., and another property development in Batangas spanning 216,787 sq.m..

Meanwhile, its planned joint ventures with Sta. Lucia Realty & Development, Inc. were already approved by the company’s related party transactions committee. The projects included for the collaboration are a 39,076-sq.m. development in Cavite, another project in Rizal with an area of 526,270 sq.m., and some projects in Batangas with a total of 427,952 sq.m. of land area.

The company said these expansions are due to the demand posted when people moved back home because of the pandemic.

“It’s calculated because of what’s happening. It’s not as aggressive as what we did before, but we noticed that people are now [investing] in space, lots, and that’s our core competence,” Mr. Pampolina explained.

SLI also noted the shift to moving in areas like Cavite and Batangas, which are “not so far anymore.”

“That’s what our strategy would be. A bit conservative, but there’s still an opportunity in those areas,” Mr. Pampolina said.

The company has developments in Rizal, Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Baguio, Palawan, Bacolod, Iloilo, Cebu, and Davao. SLI previously said it had about 99 ongoing projects with a total of 1,617 hectares of land as of December 2020.

SLI also disclosed that its board of directors authorized the issuance of up to P7-billion corporate notes, which will be used for debt financing.

“[For] the corporate notes, P2 billion of that would be [for] our upcoming series B bond which is due this March. The rest of the P5 billion is for the payment of existing long-term debts,” Mr. Pampolina explained.

In 2015, SLI listed P4-billion fixed-rate bonds series A due 2018 and series B due 2021 at the Philippine Dealing & Exchange Corp., which had a 6.7284% and 6.7150% rate per annum, respectively.

The property developer clarified that it would use “internally generated funds” to finance the expansions.

SLI shares at the stock exchange rose by 0.93% or P0.02 on Monday to close at P2.17.