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Ayala-backed dorm builder preps up for P750-M IPO

MANILA, Philippines – The company behind the MyTown dormitory brand is looking to raise as much as P750 million from an initial public offering in 2017 or 2018.

In an interview, Philippines Urban Living Solutions  Inc. CEO Mark Koojiman said the company, backed by Mark Mobius’ Templeton Emerging Markets Group and the Ayala-led BPI Capital Corp., is eyeing to list on the small and medium enterprise board.

Koojiman led the launch of the firm’s latest project, My Town New York, which offers 700 beds ready for occupancy by June this year.  This puts the company on track to hitting its target of 6,000 beds from the current 1,000 beds.

Formally established in 2012, PULS specializes in building 10- to 20-square meter affordable units near Metro Manila central business districts, targeting the underserved young professional demographic. 

At present, PULS operates five projects with over 1,000 beds.  It is constructing an additional five projects that can house an additional 1,400 beds. The target is to utilize and expand its land bank to reach 6,000 beds by 2018. 

Funds raised from the IPO would be used to set up residential projects for corporate clients such as business process outsourcing companies in major BPO hubs around the country such as Metro Manila and Cebu. 

The dormitory units come in four configurations, with each fully furnished with toilet and bath, kitchenette, a desk and smart bunk beds with ergonomic provisions. Other amenities in MyTown buildings include a movie theatre, game rooms, KTV rooms and a roof deck. Monthly rental starts at P4,800. 

In December 2015, Franklin Templeton, through the Templeton Emerging Markets Group along with BPI Capital invested in PULS using convertible notes. 

The investment was used to fund additional land purchases and the development of the company’s existing land bank.

In a separate interview, Mobius said he invested $12.5 million in the project, marking his first private equity investment in the Philippines. 

The Templeton Emerging Markets Group has invested in companies in China, India, Brazil, Russia, Vietnam among others.

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