Villar family sets aggressive expansion plan
Neil Jerome C. Morales (The Philippine Star) - May 19, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -The family of former Senate president Manuel B. Villar Jr. is aggressively expanding its recurring income portfolio of listed firms Starmalls Inc. and Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc.

Mall and office leasing unit Starmalls will have 22 shopping malls in the next three years while property arm Vista Land will put up 18 hotels in the next few years, its top official said.

“We are very aggressive in malls and business process outsourcing (BPO) offices. In many cases, we will put BPO in malls,” said Starmalls chairman Villar.

“We should be hitting one million square meters of gross floor area (GFA) in three year’s time,” he said, adding that the bulk of the GFA will be allotted for commercial leasing.

Under the expansion program, Starmalls targets to open 22 shopping centers by 2017. The listed firm is opening Starmall Daang Hari, Taguig and Sta. Rosa this year while 12 to 15 more shopping malls will be opened next year.

To date, the company operates Starmall Alabang, Starmall EDSA-Shaw, Starmall Las Piñas and Starmall Annex. Starmalls offers a one-stop family shop that caters to shopping, dining and recreation needs.

For the office segment, Starmalls is putting up BPO office space in Starmall Las Piñas, Starmall Alabang, and Daang Hari. “There’s a BPO boom so you want to ride on it. And it is logical to have malls beside BPO,” Villar said.

Villar said prominent Thai mall developer Land & House, which owns an 11-percent stake in Starmalls, regularly sends officers to the Philippines to help in operations. Land & House owns the biggest home depot in Thailand.

Revenues of the country’s information technology and BPO sector grew 17 percent to $15.5 billion last year, up from $13.2 billion in 2012 as more companies chose the country to locate and expand their operations, data from the Information Technology Business Process Association of the Philippines showed.

In the first quarter, earnings of Starmalls rose 5.16 percent to P128.94 million from P122.61 million. In 2008, the Villar family took over the management of Manuela, which exited corporate rehabilitation last year.

For its part, property unit Vista Land will complete its portfolio by launching its own hotel brand.

“The group is going into hotels also. We are looking at 18 hotels in the next few years,” Villar said, adding that most of the potential hotel sites are already owned by Vista Land.

The businessman’s hotel will be launched this year.

“When I returned to business, the group decided that we will no longer just be a housing company. We will now be a complete real estate company,” Villar said. Vista Land targets P1 billion in revenues from the leasing portfolio by 2017.

Vista Land, the country’s largest homebuilder, is into horizontal, condominium, office space, and retail space development. It also operates the Swiss-inspired Crosswinds hotel in Tagaytay.

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