VisMin focused property developer Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI) is looking at resuming a bullish 15-20 percent growth trajectory this year following a slowdown during the pandemic year in 2020.

“We are winning,” declared CLI Chief Operating Officer Franco Soberano at the virtual CLI FY 2020 Investors and Analysts Briefing  Wednesday, ( April  7) citing sustained housing demand in the Visayas-Mindanao regions. 

According to Soberano, CLI, which was listed at the local bourse four years ago, will aggressively launch 15 residential projects this year with expected P19 billion sales for 7,507 housing units. 

This means, the Cebu-based company will spend P12 billion in capital expenditure mainly for project development.  

In 2020, CLI reported a slower growth with consolidated topline performance of P8.3 billion due to the lockdowns from P8.499 billion net income in 2019 and consolidated NIAT (net income after taxes) at P2.075 billion. 

The company also reported robust sales take-up during the pandemic at P14.2 billion or 12 percent growth year on year due to sustained housing demand in VisMin. 

In that pandemic year, CLI also launched 9 project with sales value of P11.4 billion. It continues to build-up its leasing portfolio with occupancy rate at 79 percent. The company’s hotel business is expected to create 1,433 rooms by 2025. To date, CLI’s total assets already breached the $1 billion level.

Notably, CLI expects a windfall of P176 million in tax discounts this year because of the lower corporate income tax rate under the newly passed CREATE Law.

CLI’s residential project portfolio is valued at P63.1 billion for total 23,370 units of which 90 percent are already sold, P53.4 billion in total sales and P20.3 billion in unrealized revenues. It has 140 hectares landbank for residential projects.

CLI Chief Finance Officer Grant Cheng noted that while there has been a housing boom construction, backlogs continue at 6.8 million units with the economic housing segment accounting for 44 percent. He said many people are looking for housing and suppliers with only 200,000 supplies coming on stream annually. By 2040, housing backlog in the country is estimated to reach 22 million if no steps are taken.

Cheng said this demand has given CLI more room to grow its portfolio of good quality but affordable projects. 

Although CLI’s revenues were slightly down in 2020 due to the difficulties rendered by the pandemic, it did not really dampened demand. He expects demand to propel CLI’s growth in the next two to three years.

In fact, cash buyers are account for 20 percent of total CLI sales. CLI also created a team that facilitates loans of buyers from partner banks and government institutions like Pag-Ibig. 

It has a 12 percent market share in the VisMin area, making it the leader in the residential market outside of Luzon.

“We were able to sell 70 percent of our projects in 2020. We believe CLI offers the best investment in VisMin. This is the year that we will rebound because the pandemic has not really stopped us but was just a pause,” said Cheng.

For its hotel business, CLI has partnered with reputable brands. It has already completed Citadines Cebu which had occupancy rate of 50 percent during the pandemic. It is looking forward to the completion of its most prestigious jewel Sofitel Cebu. By 2025, CLI will have a total of 1,433 hotel rooms.

Following the approval by the Philippine Reclamation Authority, CLI is also pushing strong for its 100-hectare Ming Mori reclamation project for a township development in Minglanilla Cebu in partnership with the local government unit. It has also a township development in Davao. The reclamation project will double CLI’s landbanking. 

Soberano added that the VisMin market has always been a strong market but supply is not meeting demand. In fact, 30 percent of their units have already been sold in the first quarter. 

VisMin is also considered less risky than Luzon given its huge tourism potential with Cebu as the gateway to the islands. 

While the pandemic was feared to cause firesell of real estate projects, CLI said prices in Cebu continued to hold up.  At present, 90 percent of their income comes from the residential portfolio. CLI has also received inquiries for potential equity investors. 

Source: Manila Bulletin (