Ian C. Sayson and Paul Gordon, Bloomberg
Manila: Ayala Corp., owner of the biggest Philippine developer, plans to spend $200 million (Rs826 crore) to expand its overseas property ventures in markets such as China and India, Chief Executive Officer Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala II said.
Zobel, 48, the Philippines’ second-richest man, may buy more properties, adding to Ayala’s $254 million of investments in China and India in the past two years, he said. The Manila- based company will build a shopping center and apartments in China. It has spent part of the funds on call centers in India and plans to buy more, he said.
“We have to keep our growth momentum going,” Zobel said in a phone interview from Manila today. “In the next 10 years, I have to test different growth models beyond our national shores to see if Ayala can pursue a model that’s not limited to the Philippine environment.”
Zobel and other Philippine developers are adding real estate and retail assets in China and India to take advantage of markets that have more than 10 times Philippines’ population. China’s economy expanded 10.7% in 2006, the fastest in 11 years, compared with the 5.4% growth in the Philippines.
“Ayala’s main businesses in the Philippines are already mature,” said Marvin Fausto, who helps manage $3.5 billion in assets at Equitable PCI Bank in Manila. “China and India could give him the next growth wave.”
Zobel has more than doubled Ayala’s market value to 207 billion pesos ($4.4 billion) since he became the 19th CEO in 1995, as he strengthened the family’s assets at home. Ayala began operations when the Philippines opened its market to foreign trade in 1834, with businesses ranging from agriculture, manufacturing to trading.
— With reporting by Liza Lin in Singapore