GT Capital Holdings Inc., the listed conglomerate of tycoon George Ty, is certain it will increase its stake in Property Company of Friends Inc. (Pro-Friends) to 50 percent from its current 22.68 percent holding due to opportunities in the low and affordable housing segment, the company’s president said on Friday.
Carmelo Maria Luza Bautista, GT Capital president, told reporters the company will surely exercise the option to increase its stake in Pro-Friends to 50 percent, considering the growth potential in the low cost housing sector.
Last August 7, GT Capital acquired 22.68 percent of ProFriends for P7.24 billion, with an option to increase shareholding up to 51 percent within the next three years.
“Of course [we will exercise]. [As to when, it] depends on how it rolls up,” Bautista said, noting that “it makes sense” to take advantage of the “overall performance of the market.”
“For me, this was a game changer. Think about the [housing]backlog,” he added.
Current estimates from the government put the unmet demand for affordable housing at between 3.6 million and 3.9 million units.
The GT Capital president was enthusiastic in talking about Pro-Friends, pointing out that the mass housing developer has 1,200 hectares of land bank in Cavite alone and 400 hectares more scattered in Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro and Daang Hari area.
Asked if Pro-Friends’ plan to list at the Philippine Stock Exchange will still push through, Bautista said, “Not in the immediate future. I guess, we will time it…but not now, not in the near future. We’ll expand it first. Taking it now to the public might be a bit too premature… We’d like to work at it first.”
This is the GT Capital’s second venture in real estate following its joint venture with Ayala-led Alveo Land Corp. via its property unit Federal Land Inc. In the latter part of April, Federal Land signed a 50-50 joint venture agreement with Alveo to develop a “master-planned residential community” on a 45-hectare block in Biñan, Laguna.
In the first six months of the year, GT Capital recorded a 42-percent surge in its consolidated net income to P5.6 billion from P4 billion in the same time in 2014 on the back of strong growth in its automotive business and steady performance of its other business segments.
For 2015, GT Capital is allotting about P50 billion for its capital expenditures (capex), which is approximately the same as the company’s actual capital spending last year. The 2015 capex is expected to be primarily direct towards the firm’s automotive business.
Incorporated in 2007, GT Capital is involved in banking (Metrobank), real estate (Federal Land Inc.), power (Global Business Power Corp.), automotive (Toyota Motors Philippines, Toyota Manila Bay Corp., and Toyota Cubao Inc.), automotive leasing and financing (Toyota Financial Services Philippines Corp.), insurance (AXA Life Insurance), and non-life insurance businesses (Charter Ping An).