MANILA, Philippines - Profits of Vista Land and Lifescapes, Inc., the listed property holding firm led by presidential candidate Senator Manuel B. Villar, Jr., dropped by more than a tenth to P2.6 billion last year amid an economic slowdown.
An executive said on Friday there should be a recovery in the industry this year. "2009, as expected, was a tough year, but in spite of a very challenging market environment, we were able to achieve our financial targets," Ricardo B. Tan, Jr., senior vice-president for Finance of Vista Land, said in a statement.
Mr. Tan said the latest profit figure was above the target of P2.1 billion to P2.5 billion. "We saw a pick up in the fourth quarter. We managed to keep our expenses under control," Mr. Tan said in a briefing on Friday.
Revenues fell by 8% to P9.6 billion from P10.436 billion year-on-year, Vista Land told the local bourse.
Vista Land operates under five brands -- Brittany that sells house-and-lot units for as much as P9 million, Crown Asia for homes worth P3.5 million to P9 million, Camella Homes for P3.5 million and below, Communities Philippines that sells Camella Homes in the provinces, and condominium arm Vista Residences.
Mr. Tan said Vista Land ended 2009 with a P3.146 billion in cash, lower than the P5.045 billion at the end of 2008.
For this year, Mr. Tan said revenues should rise to "P10.8 billion to maybe P11 billion."
"Bottom line will still be under P3 billion," he added.
Vista Land will launch 30 projects this year, of which 22 will be under the low-end Camella brand. The projects are valued at P30.2 billion. The P10-billion capital expenditure budgeted this year will generally be funded internally, with P1 billion to be obtained from local banks, Mr. Tan said.
Last year, the property developer allotted P8 billion in capital for 23 projects launched.
Sales were brisk in the first quarter compared with the same period last year, he said, without citing figures. "The property sector is on an upswing. Confidence is growing and we see what the competition is doing," Mr. Tan said.
Last month, property giant Ayala Land, Inc. launched its economic housing arm Amaia Land, which will put up 1,300 units in Laguna this year.
Despite increased competition in the low-end property market, Mr. Tan said the firm would continue its expansion. Vista Land is present in 44 cities and municipalities covering 19 provinces nationwide. The 33-year-old Camella brand specializes in affordable housing and accounts for bulk of the firm’s sales.
To date, the Vista Land group has built the largest number of homes among all local developers, with a total of more than 200,000 units.
The real estate firm still has 1,408 hectares in its "land bank," 78% of which are located in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces, data from the company showed.