MASS housing developer 8990 Holdings Inc. (HOUSE) is setting its sights on the overseas markets as the next chapter of its evolution, a top company official said.
“The story of HOUSE is still being written. So where is the next chapter going to be? As CEO, I am also concerned with the fact that we have to write the story actively. Therefore for HOUSE, the next chapter is going to other countries and doing business there,” 8990 chief executive officer Januario Jesus Atencio told reporters in a recent interview
It was earlier reported that the company was exploring business opportunities in countries such as Malaysia, Sri Lanka and even Tanzania.
Atencio noted that Filipino businessmen should explore business opportunities overseas especially with the Asean integration having commenced.
“I think that it is incumbent upon Philippine businessmen to explore the opportunities provided by Asean integration,” Atencio said. “So it would be a missed opportunity if we don’t at least make an effort to at least explore what our businesses can complement our counterparts in Asean and if so, establish these niche areas over there, as well as invite our counterparts to complement us here in the Philippines.”
Atencio said they are starting talks with Malaysian developers, including Felda Global Ventures, a publicly listed Malaysian oil palm estate operator which is the largest land owner in the country.
He said 8990 expressed interest in catering to the palm oil plantation worker market, as this could fuel demand for the development of at least one million homes.
“And so we’re trying to look at a way by which we can actually serve that kind of market– the palm oil plantation worker market,”Atencio said.
Atencio said he does not see 8990 working in the country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, as mass housing would still be the priority of the firm.
“I don’t think we’d like to do Kuala Lumpur. I think the strength of the company lies in its
ability to provide affordable housing in the countryside,” Atencio said.
The company would also prefer to partner with Malaysian developers to be able to complement each other’s businesses, he added.
“We don’t want to compete with Malaysian companies. We’d rather partner with Malaysian companies, so that together, we can fulfill their vision and at the same time for the Philippine company, take advantage of things like technology, transfer of technology,” Atencio said.
As for opportunities in other countries, Atencio noted that 8990 has been invited by companies in Sri Lanka.
“We’re actually being invited by some private sector companies in Sri Lanka to take a look,” Atencio said.
When asked if they are seeking opportunities outside of the Asean region, Atencio said they are open to the idea.
“We’re looking at it but nothing is firm yet,” the CEO said.
Atencio attributed their optimism in exploring opportunities abroad to the evolution of the company, recalling that 8990 Holdings started as a company based in Cebu that later evolved into a national company and further evolved into a publicly listed company.
“As of now, that seems like the next chapter we need to prepare for. It may not happen immediately, but at least if we start now, we can have a deeper understanding of the housing needs not just of the Philippines and Asia, but of the world. And maybe, just maybe, the story of HOUSE has to do with that, ultimately,” Atencio concluded.