ALI ramping up residential project launches

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PROPERTY giant Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) said it would ramp up the launch of residential projects for the remainder of the year to be able to hit its P90- to P100-billion target for 2017.

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“We’re trying to launch P90 billion [worth of residential projects]this year…I guess to a certain extent, the demand took us by surprise. In this first quarter [it]was only P10 billion, second quarter another P20 billion, so only about P30 billion [altogether],” ALI Chief Finance Officer Augusto Bengzon told reporters on the sidelines of COL Financial’s property market briefing held in Pasig City over the weekend.

“You’ll see quite a lot of acceleration in the last two quarters of this year. We’re trying to make sure we get to make it to the P90- to P100 billion [level],” he noted.

Bengzon said ALI remains optimistic about hitting its target as long as demand continues to be strong.

At the same event, Bengzon said ALI also remains bullish about its office projects despite reports that the local business process outsourcing (BPO) industry held off from expanding this year due to risk threats in the country.

“So far, if you look at our BPO portfolio, our offices, our occupancy rates are quite healthy. Occupancy for the stable BPO office is at 97 percent and overall it’s 91 percent, so it’s still quite good,” he said.

“But as far as our office rollout is concerned, we continue to execute on tripling of our office leasing portfolio—we’re on track—and based on our leasing and pre-leasing activities, it’s still quite healthy,” he added.

In an earlier briefing in Makati City, Leechiu Property Consultants President and Chief Executive Officer David Leechiu said BPO firms have delayed expansion plans due to risk threats such as the crisis in Marawi, the threat of an expanded martial law, recent earthquakes, and the likelihood of higher taxes.

“Many of our clients have decided not to grow in 2017. That’s primarily because many of their clients perceive that the country risk profile of the Philippines is climbing,” Leechiu said.

BPOs were said to have accounted for 41 percent of office take-up as of the third quarter of 2017, a 24-percentage point drop from the 65 percent recorded a year ago.

“[BPO clients are] trying to divert their presence to other countries so that they can rebalance their portfolio because they were too heavily invested in the Philippines,” Leechiu said.

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