DAVAO CITY: A leading conglomerate in the country has earmarked about Php80 billion for an aggressive expansion in the Philippines yearly.
This was revealed by senior vice president for investor relations of SM Investments Corporation (SMIC), Connie Guidote, during a round-table discussion with the media at Radisson Hotel here Thursday.
This year, Guidote said SMIC is training its eyes on Mindanao, being the next growth corridor area in the country.
“Mindanao is the area where we want to grow faster,” she said, adding that the opportunity is in the island.
“Mindanao is accelerating as it has become the priority of the President (Rodrigo Duterte),” she said.
She said Mindanao and Visayas are the new growth region for SM where significant opportunities await investors.
“Its underserved markets are hungry for the kind of aspirational products and services that SM tends to bring into its development,” Guidote said.
Based from statistics, she explained that Visayas and Mindanao contributed 26.9 percent to the Gross
Domestic Product (GDP) in 2014 with growth rate of 5.6 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively. This compares well with Metro Manila’s growth of 5.9 percent, she said.
Population grew at an average rate of 1.9 percent in Mindanao, 1.4 percent in Visayas per capita increased by 2.4 percent in Visayas and 5.0 percent in Mindanao, she added.
Guidote said they are happy with President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic agenda that is why they are aggressive on bringing down to the regions their businesses.
The SM Group is composed of 40 percent business on property, 40 percent banking, and 20 percent on retail. Andall three is doing well, she said.
However, she said they need to see on the ground the infrastructures and power, otherwise the absence of any of the two would hamper their expansion plans in areas from the urban center to villages.
“But we are hopeful with the way the government is tackling its economic direction,” she said.
Meanwhile, SMIC consultant for investor relations, Tim Daniels, said they are swarmed with queries from foreign investors showing interests in partnering with the corporation.
He said they had been getting queries of at least three to four calls a day from international investors.