Norkis Group venturing into BPO office dev’t

Neil Jerome C. Morales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Norkis Group of Companies, a Cebu-based motorcycle manufacturer and distributor, is venturing into business process outsourcing (BPO) office building development as it shifts its investment year toward more profitable projects.

The newcomer in Cebu’s BPO office sector is investing P6 billion for a five-tower development called the Norkis Cyberpark in Mandaue City that can become the Norkis Group’s flagship business, company executives said yesterday.

Construction of the six-story Norkis One, the first office tower, will be completed in September. The P325-million building will be complemented by The Arcade, a retail strip with food, service and entertainment shops.

“The Norkis Cyberpark project will help push development in the Mandaue City area as well as increase overall economic activity,” Norkis Group chairman Norberto B. Quisumbing Jr. said in a briefing.

“Together with Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) incentives for locators and a readily available workforce pool, we foresee a lot of locators, both international and local, making Norkis Cyberpark their new home in the region,” he said.

Upon completion, the 2.8-hectare business hub will offer more than 114,000 square meters of office and retail space and will generate about 38,000 jobs.

Located near the J Center Mall, Norkis Cyberpark is the newest call center hub in Cebu where the vacancy rate is just around two percent. It is PEZA approved, granting the developer and locators tax perks such as income tax holidays.

“This one will eventually be the flagship [business] because of its ability to employ a lot of Filipinos,” Quisumbing said.

The Norkis Group no longer expects strong growth from the motorcycle distribution business due to heightened competition from numerous players, he pointed out.

In 1962, the Norkis Group started its operations as a motorcycle manufacturer. It was the exclusive distributor of Yamaha in the past 40 years and is now the seller of Chinese motorcycle brands Haojue and Sunriser through its network of 300 Norkis branches nationwide.

Unlike in Metro Manila where major property firms lead the development of office space, new BPO projects in Cebu are initiated by local families, allowing the entry of new players, said Danilo E. Ignacio, chairman and CEO of development manager DEI Properties Inc.

The second tower will be composed of eight floors, followed by the third tower (10 floors), the fourth tower (12 floors) and the fifth tower (20 floors).

Norkis Cyberpark will also include a retail strop with convenience stores and restaurants catering to the needs of tenants and locators, as well as nearby communities.

Consultancy firm CBRE Philippines earlier said Metro Cebu has remained as a viable alternative office destination for BPO firms despite the recent natural calamities.

CBRE also said Metro Cebu enjoys “cost-effective operational factors” such as competitive rental rates and presence of untapped and high-quality workforce.

Metro Cebu is the eighth major destination of global outsourcing firms in the world, according to a survey by investment advisory firm Tholons.

Ignacio said all five towers in Norkis Cyberpark will be completed in the next three to five years.

Quisumbing said that if market reception is good, the Norkis Group can develop an adjacent three-hectare property to host nine additional office buildings.

The Norkis Group is composed of 29 companies including Norkis Trading Co. Inc., Norkis Cyberpark Inc., Porta Coeli Industrial Co. Inc. and Eagle Financial Services Group Inc.



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