MANILA – An executive of Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) on Wednesday underscored the company’s willingness to work with the government to further boost infrastructure development in the country.
During the company’s virtual annual stockholders meeting, ALI chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said “at the Ayala Group, we’ve always aligned our business aspirations with the needs of our country.”
Zobel also cited the establishment of the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC), which is tasked to study the situation and recommend projects that will bolster development of the country’s infrastructure, and disclosed that several officials of Ayala Group are part of.
“I think we’ve had a long history on that front. Our President has recognized the significance, I think, in this administration of the private sector‘s involvement in tackling persistent development challenges,” he said.
Zobel said ALI can participate in some of the infrastructure projects, tourism, and job creation opportunities that may arise from initiatives of the government.
“As part of the private sector, we’re eager to develop meaningful solutions in these areas. Ayala aims to continue its role as a positive partner of the government in these and many other areas,” he added.
The government intends to sustain the increase of its infrastructure investment to around 5 percent of domestic output to ensure a long-term gain for the domestic economy.
Among the projects that were recently approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board are the construction of the PHP6-billion University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) Cancer Center, the PHP17-billion new Dumaguete airport, and an increase in the budget for the rehabilitation of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3) rehabilitation project.
Meanwhile, ALI recorded a 19-percent increase in revenues in 2022 to PHP126.6 billion, and a 52-percent rise in net income to PHP18.6 billion.
During the same event, ALI president and chief executive officer (CEO) Bobby Dy said he remains optimistic about the sustained expansion of the business this year given the continued reopening of the economy despite the economic headwinds.
He said that while the elevated inflation and the rise in interest rates have negatively impacted demand for residential business, among others, “there are several factors, I think, that bodes well for the expansion for business lines this year.”
These factors include the expectations of a 5 to 6 percent growth of the domestic economy this year, the continued resiliency of remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), domestic consumption, and the improvement in the take-up for office spaces by the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector.
“Moreover, we believe that interest rates have peaked and inflation is starting to decline from the high levels that we saw last year. Given these favorable conditions, we anticipate renewed growth across all our business lines this year,” Dy said.
For one, the rate of price increases decelerated for the third consecutive month last March to 7.6 percent after hitting a 14-year high of 8.1 percent last December.
Although interest rates are seen to increase further, some economists expect the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to pause its rate hiking cycle by May, citing statements of BSP Governor Felipe Medalla who indicated this possibility if domestic inflation rate continues to decelerate.
Dy said the company plans to launch more projects this year, both for the residential and commercial segments, and targets to launch four new estates to bring the total to 54.
“Overall, we believe that the economy will support a growth of not only this year but also for the foreseeable future,” he added. (PNA)