Ayala sees call center rentals falling by 10%

Published by rudy Date posted on April 2, 2009

THE rental rates for outsourcing offices may fall by 10 to 15 percent this year because of the higher supply of office space coming into the market and the global recession, Ayala Land said in a briefing yesterday.

Another proof that the economic slowdown has washed up on the Philippine shore is that installment sales of Ayala Land’s residential properties have increased to about 5 percent last year from about 3.5 percent in 2007.

Twenty-two percent of the company’s total residential sales came from overseas Filipinos.

Still, the late payment figure is “manageable,” according to Ayala Land chief finance officer Jaime Ysmael, because the title to the properties has not been transferred to the buyers and the sales contracts are easy to cancel.

Ysmael admitted that it would be “difficult to match” last year’s first-quarter profit, which was boosted by the P762-million sale of a Salcedo Village parking property.

But the country’s biggest developer was still “well-positioned” to take advantage of the economic slowdown and may make “big bets,” Ayala Land chairman Fernando Zobel de Ayala said at the company’s annual meeting.

Ayala Land is looking at government properties that are being sold to boost state finances bled by a widening budget deficit. The government also wants to boost spending to fight the effects of the global recession, which has hurt residential sales to overseas Filipinos and demand for outsourcing office space.

“We see a number of opportunities of government land being put up for sale,” Jaime Ayala, who stepped down as president yesterday, said at a briefing after the meeting. “We are active in looking at those opportunities.”

The executive, who isn’t related to the chairman, was answering a question on whether Ayala Land would bid for the 120-hectare state-owned Food Terminal Inc. property. The government plans to sell the property this quarter for about P10 billion.

Antonino Aquino, formerly president of affiliate Manila Water Co., replaced Ayala as Ayala Land president, as announced last month. Ayala will become a senior managing director at Ayala Corp. Bloomberg, with Jenniffer B. Austria

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