SM Group eyes SEA expansion
MANILA, Philippines — The SM Group is looking to expand its mall and banking businesses in the Southeast Asian region on the back of the steady growth of the world’s third largest economic bloc.
SM Investments Corp. (SMIC) vice chairman Teresity Sy-Coson said the company has plans to expand in the region and is already looking for countries where it can build malls.
This would be the first time that SM would be expanding in the region.
“We’re still looking. For the bank, it will be Singapore. For SM, it would be other areas,” Sy-Coson said on the sidelines of the ASEAN Business & Investment Summit.
Countries that are ideal for expansion are those that are still developing, she said.
“In a developed country, I think things are already well developed. They don’t need SM. We go with the country that is developing. We’re still looking. It’s so early,” she said.
The SM Group is looking to do this within the next five years.
“Five years down the road, it can happen or it could not happen,” Sy-Coson said.
At present, the SM Group, through its property and mall arm, SM Prime Holdings has seven malls in China and continues to be on the lookout for cities and provinces for expansion.
“We’re still expanding (in China),” she said.
SM Prime currently has 63 malls in the Philippines with a gross floor area of almost 7.8 million square meters. Including the seven malls in China, SM Prime has a total GFA of 9.1 million sqm.
In the nine months to September, the Sy-owned property company posted a 15 percent growth in net income.
In the third quarter alone, SM Prime reported a 16 percent growth in net income to P5.66 billion.
During the nine-month period, SM Prime grew its consolidated revenues 12 percent to P64.69 billion ago on higher rental revenues from expansion of malls, improvement in same mall sales and higher contributions from residential sales.
Mall revenues rose 10 percent to P38.58 billion or about 60 percent of the total revenues.
SM Prime will open two additional malls before the end of the year – SM Center Lemery in Batangas and SM Center Pulilan in Bulacan –which will bring the number of its provincial malls to 44 from 38 last year.