• Wilcon Depot scouting for more retail opportunities

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    CONSTRUCTION materials retailer Wilcon Depot Inc. is on the lookout for more retail opportunities after it completes its planned initial public offering (IPO) next month.

    “Whichever arises. We don’t have anything yet, but if we will, we prefer [something]related. We are in the retail business and we require big areas, about 8,000 to 9,000 square meters [floor area per store]. We will see, as long as its retail,” Wilcon Chairman William T. Belo told reporters on Tuesday.

    The company plans to raise up to P7.9 billion from its IPO, which is targeted on March 31. Wilcon will sell 1.39 billion primary shares priced at up to P5.68 per share in its maiden offering.

    Proceeds will be used to fund its five-year plan to 2021, refinance existing loans, and for working capital requirements.

    Under the five-year plan, Wilcon seeks to increase the number of its outlets to 65 in five years from 37 as of end-2016. The company aims to grow its net profit and revenues by 13 percent to 15 percent on average yearly as its branch network expands.

    Wilcon reported net income of P900 million in 2016, up 67 percent from 2015, as revenues increased 7 percent to P15.5 billion.

    Wilcon operates its stores under the Wilcon Depot and Wilcon Home Essentials store formats, known for their one-stop shop concept for home improvement and construction needs.

    Meanwhile, the company will be participating in the five-day homebuilders conference and exhibition of the Philippine World Building and Construction Exposition (Worldbex) on March 15 to 19.

    The Worldbex conference and exhibition will be simultaneously held at the World Trade Center and SMX Convention Center, showcasing over 1,000 exhibitors in the homebuilders and design sector.

    Worldbex Managing Director Jill Ang said they expect to surpass last year’s attendance of 160,000 visitors for the 2017 conference.

    “We have over a thousand exhibitors, both foreign and local brands. Roughly one-third are foreign brands from Australia, the US, China, Malaysia, Thailand, and European companies,” Ang said on Tuesday.

    “The Philippines is gaining attention in terms of growth in the construction sector, that’s why foreign players decide to invest in the country,” she added.

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