CLI reports faster sales take-up amid higher rates, volatility in markets

THE rising cost of borrowing coupled with high inflation has not dampened the sales volume of listed company Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI).

In fact, the Cebu-based company on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, said the past months saw them not just continued or maintained sales velocity but a strengthened sales performance.

During the first nine months of 2022, CLI launched 11 residential projects with a total project value of P19.5 billion, and are now 93 sold.

CLI chief finance officer Grant Cheng said this performance only showed that their projects have been “well received” by the consumers amid the market disruptions caused by the pandemic and other external pressures.

Currently, CLI has a total of 79 residential projects in different stages of development all over the Visayas and Mindanao (VisMin) accounting for a sales value of P107 billion and 92 percent sold.

“Are we seeing a slowdown in demand? Not yet. But as we continue to pass on some of these inflation and interest rate costs then we will see where the marginal demand is,” said Cheng, during the virtual third-quarter performance briefing of CLI.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) raised key interest rates last Sept. 22, for the fifth time this year to tame inflation amid a struggling peso. It increased its overnight borrowing rate by 50 bps to 4.25 percent. The BSP said another hike is scheduled after the rate-setting meeting scheduled on Nov. 17.

Inflation, on the other hand, went up to 7.7 percent in October from 6.9 percent in September.

Despite these headwinds, Cheng said CLI remains optimistic in the years ahead due to the country’s unmet housing demand. He stressed that housing remains a basic need for every Filipino.

“It will continue to be strong (housing demand) and we project that we should be there and continue building for this basic need,” he said.

Jose Franco Soberano, CLI’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said investing early on in housing will shield one from inflationary pressures moving forward.

“When they invest this year, they are investing to get the unit in three to four years so this is the smartest thing you can do because you are overcoming inflation. You are locking in your investment at zero interest down payment,” he said.

Soberano added that the company is riding a strong momentum now after closing a record-breaking P6 billion in reservation sales in the third quarter driven by the two-tower Calle 104, one of the latest projects in Cebu City, which sold out in only four days and other projects that were quickly sold in a matter of days like, the first residential development in Davao Global Township also sold out its first three towers in less than a week and the Phase 1 of Casa Mira Towers Palawan that is now 92 percent sold.

Earnings

CLI sustained its growth momentum for the first nine months of 2022 that resulted in a 43 percent year-on-year surge in revenues to P10.96 billion driven by fast economic recovery in the region.

Over the same period, normalized net income to parent increased to P2.2 billion or 34 percent more year-on-year from nine-month 2021’s P1.64 billion, the remainder after-tax adjustments for the year were factored out.

CLI said its growth in the next few years will be supported by its continuous expansion to other VisMin cities like Butuan where its most recent acquisition brought up its total landbank to 116 hectares.

In its recent briefing, CLI officials explained that “quality-built, cost-effective, value-for-money housing and well-planned communities” will continue to back CLI’s real estate sales, which accounts for the majority of CLI portfolio.

While the company hasn’t met yet to discuss its capex guidance for next year, Cheng said he is looking at a range of P12 billion to P14 billion to spend in 2023 that will be used to finance higher value projects such as townships and the development of the firm’s hospitality assets. (KOC)