FDC allots P45B in capex this year, mostly for property development

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GOTIANUN-LED Filinvest Development Corp. (FDC) said it is allocating P45 billion in capital expenditures (capex) this year, mostly to its property-development activities after bagging a casino project in Clarkfield in Pampanga.

The capex is 12 percent higher than last year’s budget of P40 billion. The company said P35 billion will be allocated for the property group, P5 billion of which will be for the hotel group. The remaining P10 billion will be allocated to other “potential investments.”

“After reaching a record net income of P10.3 billion in 2017, we plan to build on our strengths by investing in new projects and expanding current projects within the group,” company chairman Jonathan T. Gotianun said.  The hotel investment, it said, will allow the group to further expand its hospitality portfolio currently composed of 1,591 rooms run by FDC subsidiary Filinvest Hospitality Corp. (FHC) and managed by Chroma Hospitality Inc., a joint venture with Archipelago International.

The company said it will open the 192-room Crimson Resort and Spa Boracay, in time for the reopening of the island sometime in October.

Including two additional properties in Tagaytay and San Mateo, Rizal, opening in 2018, the company now has eight new hotels in the planning and construction stages for a total of 1,700 additional rooms.

On top of the expansion of its hotel investments, the company is also busy investing in the 201-hectare Filinvest Mimosa+ Leisure City, the former Clark Mimosa Estate.

Last month Mimosa Cityscapes Inc. (MCI), a subsidiary of FHC, was awarded a provisional license by the Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corp. for a casino integrated resort in Filinvest Mimosa.

MCI earmarked a total minimum investment of $200 million for the project comprised of a casino, a lifestyle mall, a five-star hotel and events venue that will rise within its property.

The project also includes the renovation of the existing Quest Hotel and Conference Center-Clark, two golf courses and villas.

“We’ll work out the size of the casino with the operator,” said Lourdes Josephine Gotianun-Yap, the company’s president and CEO.

“Investment in infrastructure is aligned with our investment in the power industry. We seek to balance our more cyclical property and banking portfolio with steady and stable revenues from the power and infrastructure sectors. There are also clear synergies between airport infrastructure and our hospitality projects in the country,” she said.

FDC’s banking subsidiary EastWest Bank recently increased its authorized capital stock to P50 billion in preparation for its planned stock rights offering (SRO).

Gotianun said the company will have its stock rights offer of about P10 billion by the end of the third quarter or fourth quarter.

FDC will participate in the bank’s SRO, but the bank is talking to a strategic foreign partner to come into the mid-sized lender.

“We want to grow the bank. We look for an equity partner; we are looking at this as an option,” Gotianun said, adding they may give a maximum of 20-percent equity to its foreign partner.

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