BIZ BUZZ: BGC-centric REIT | Inquirer Business

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) have really taken off as a formidable new asset class in the Philippines, with seven companies having recycled capital using this route: the Ayalas’ AREIT, DoubleDragon’s DDMP REIT, the Gotianuns’ FILREIT., the Gokongweis’ RCR, Megaworld’s MREIT, Citicore’s CREIT and most recently, the Villars’ VREIT.

As one may notice, all of the REITs that have come to market are affiliated with companies or groups that are already listed on the stock exchange.

But a new name plans to debut on the local bourse sometime in the third quarter, with an offering of about P20 to P25 billion.

This is the Wee Group, led by brothers Norman and Francis Wee, who will pitch a new flavor to the REIT market with a BGC-centric office property offering.

And what distinguishes W Group’s REIT from most previous REIT offerings is that the asset pool includes the land.

From what we hear, the asset pool will include 143,000 square meters (sq m) of office space initially in three buildings already leased out mostly to multinational companies: W Fifth Avenue, W City Center and Citi Plaza.

The group has other assets that could be folded into what will be known as “WREIT” in the future, with a vision to reach about 1 million sq m of gross leasable space in five years or so.

WREIT is also envisioned to be a consolidator of BGC properties.

Advising the W Group on this offering is Alphaprimus Advisors.

But why is W Group taking the REIT route instead of bringing to public hands the property development company itself? It’s to “provide investors predictable dividend yield,” a source privy to the offering told Biz Buzz.

Watch out for the IPO filing in the coming weeks.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Tower Club goodies for sale

Fancy a top-of-the line grand piano? Or perhaps a chandelier? Maybe some furniture and kitchenware up to the exacting standards of corporate chiefs?

If yes—and you’re willing to get them used—then consider heading over to The Tower Club in Makati and check out the assets of the once popular club for executives that are now up for auction through HMR Auctions.

The Tower Club used to be the place to be seen in with some of the country’s leading chief executives and business owners among the members. But the past few years saw the steady decline in patronage and difficulties collecting monthly dues.

The COVID-19 pandemic dealt it another severe blow, thus the shareholders voted to end its corporate life in January this year, due mainly to ballooning operating losses that The Tower Club believed it would not be able to overcome.

“It was foreseen that these losses will continue to rise and become more unsustainable because of the COVID pandemic’s devastating impact on the dining, entertainment and leisure sector,” the club said in its September 2020 statement.

The Tower Club may cease to exist but those interested can bring home part of the once ritzy club if they win the auction for the wide range of assets that are up for grabs.

Viewing days at the 33rd and 34th floors of Philam Life Tower at 8767 Paseo de Roxas are strictly by appointment, and set until June 25, which also marks the end of the auction for the items that include furniture, paintings, restaurant equipment and utensils, gym equipment and office equipment.

— Tina Arceo-Dumlao

Confirmed

The rumors were true after all: that the next Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA) would be a “he.”

On Monday, President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announced he would hold the DA portfolio “at least for now”, until such a time the DA is reorganized to “make it ready for the next years to come.”

Marcos Jr., who will assume office on June 30, said his administration would try to increase food production and counter skyrocketing prices of food items. He would also work on restructuring the agency as some of its offices are underutilized and need to be “retooled” postpandemic.

He will be replacing William Dar, who took the DA helm twice — first during the term of former President Estrada and then in the administration of President Duterte.

Dar welcomed the incoming president’s decision to temporarily lead the agriculture department, saying this is the brand of “political will” that he himself has been advocating since his appointment in 2019.

The DA chief, who earlier hinted his successor might be a “he” based on the rumors he gathered from the grapevine, said he would plant agricultural commodities once his term ends at the end of the month.

“I will plant kamote (sweet potato), eggplant, everything,” said Dar at a press briefing. “I came from also the private sector, so they’re ready to receive me back, or go and do farming and enjoy life.”

Dar, a staunch Marcos Jr. supporter, expressed his readiness to work for the government when asked if he was willing to serve as leader of the DA for the third time under the Marcos administration.

“Well, I am always at the service of this country and the leadership. That’s the response to the question. I’m ready. Whatever assignment they give me, I’m ready,” he said.

— Jordeene B. Lagare


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