Golden Haven listing lifts stock market

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Villar-owned Golden Haven Memorial Park Inc. brought trading back to life yesterday as it made its debut at the local bourse.

The company’s share price opened at P11 each, higher than the initial public offering (IPO) price of P10.50 and sizzled to P15.74 at the close of yesterday’s session.

The memorial park developer offered 74 million shares representing 15 percent of its total issued and outstanding common shares and successfully raised about P778.2 million which will be used to fund land acquisition, land development, construction and completion of Las Piñas chapel and crematorium, and for general corporate purposes.

Former senator Manuel Villar, chairman of Golden Haven’s majority shareholder Fine Properties,  said their goal is to expand nationwide.

“We saw this opportunity 30 years ago when we built Camella Homes. We built so many homes. But these last few years, many were asking, can you also put up memorial parks everywhere in the Philippines? This is a request mostly from OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) so we decided to go big on this. Now, we hope to build memorial parks all over the country. Camella Homes is in 97 cities and municipalities. We hope to duplicate that for Golden Haven Memorial Park and this is the first step, the listing,” Villar said.

In a briefing after yesterday’s listing ceremony, company officials said the fresh capital raised would help the company in its strategy of having a “park in every hometown.”

Golden Haven chief operating officer Maribeth Tolentino said this year alone, the company seeks to expand in Nueva Vizcaya, Pampanga, Cebu and Batangas.

“The company will continue its strategic expansion throughout the country by acquiring land that will focus on key locations where Vista Land has projects to capitalize on the marketing synergies between the two companies. With this strategy, it would be inevitable for Golden Haven to expand its death care services to an array of memorial services offered in the market. The company is also looking to expand into pre-need planning services, allowing it to play in all five segments of the death care industry,” Tolentino said.

Golden Haven is an affiliate of Vista Land, one of the country’s leading integrated property developers with presence in 95 cities and municipalities across the country,” she added.

Golden Haven chief financial officer Roy Joseph Fernandez, for his part, said, the listing allows the company to enjoy an increased credit profile which affords the company better flexibility in its funding strategy.

The company, which started operations in 1984, has developed 55.2 hectares of land and has set its footprint in eight locations nationwide, building six memorial parks and four columbaries located in the cities of Las Piñas and Cagayan de Oro, and in the provinces of Bulacan, Cebu, Zamboanga and Iloilo. Golden Haven is already in various stages of developments in its newly acquired properties in Nueva Vizcaya and Pampanga with a total estimated units of about 19,000.

Golden Haven is the first firm to go public this year and the first company of its kind in the Philippine Stock Exchange.

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