Starmalls sets multibillion-peso expansion

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To be funded by follow-on offering next year
STARMALLS Inc., the shopping center development arm of the Villar group of companies, is planning an aggressive mall expansion over the next three years which will be funded by a possible follow-on offering next year.

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Former Sen. Manuel Villar Jr., chairman of Starmalls Inc., told reporters in an interview that they are targeting to open three more branches by year-end and five more outlets next year.

“We will be opening this year in Taguig, Bataan and Sta. Rosa,” said Villar.

“Next year we will be putting up another five malls,” he said.

To fund the aggressive mall expansion, Villar said that the company is preparing for a follow-on offering.

“We haven’t discussed the details yet but we’re really preparing for an offering for Starmalls next year to fund the expansion. So magre-raise tayo nang konti [So we will be raising some funds],” said Villar.

He added that a mall would typically require an investment of around P1.5 billion to P2 billion and a floor area of 50,000-60,000 square meters of leasable area.

Branches outside of Luzon will also be put up next year, specifically in the cities of Cebu and Iloilo in the Visayas, he said.

Starmalls’ extensive expansion program is in line with the company’s long-term vision to venture in community malls and create regional super centers across the country.

By the end of 2015, it aims to have a total of 18 malls. It plans to have 23 malls by 2016 and 31 malls by end-2017.

Retail expansion also planned
Besides the mall expansion plans, Villar said they are also working on the expansion of their retail group at the same time.

This includes AllHome store, a one-stop shop that caters to architects, interior designers and homeowners who are building their own homes or fixing their current ones.

The brand was initially aimed at serving all housing communities of Vista Land Inc, the largest home-builder in the country.

It opened its first store in Pampanga in 2013 and currently has nine stores in areas such as Metro Manila, Cebu, Bulacan, Sta. Rosa Laguna and its latest branch in Las Piñas City.

Twelve more AllHome stores are slated to open by year-end.

Villar added that they will open twelve more branches next year, but all will be in large format. A store is classified as large-format if its floor space ranges from 8,000 to 20,000 square meters.

Villar also said they aim to open branches in the Visayas and Mindanao next year. “We are looking at two [branches]in Visayas and three in Mindanao.”

He noted that each branch usually requires an investment P300 million to put up.

When asked if AllHome is ready to launch an initial public offering by next year, Villar said that an IPO may be possible after two years since it does not have enough critical mass yet.

Starmalls said it aims to raise the level of the Filipino “mall experience” by building bigger quality malls with a more dynamic tenant mix, beautiful themed interiors with wider retail and service offerings, and exteriors inspired by international commercial shopping centers.

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