Philippines' Ayala to build new business district

The real estate arm of Philippine conglomerate Ayala Corp. said Tuesday it planned to create another major business district in Manila after casting the highest bid for a government property.

Ayala Land offered 24.33 billion pesos ($579 million), more than two other real estate firms, for the Food Terminal industrial estate, the company and government officials said.

The 74-hectare (183-acre) property is located near major government highways and will become "the southern gateway" to Manila, Ayala Land said.

The company will develop the area in a manner similar to the upscale housing, office, hotel and shopping mall projects it has set up in other parts of the capital and across the country, Ayala Land spokesman Jorge Marco said.

"It's going to be another business district and it will have all our product lines: residential, retail, office and hotels," he said.

Ayala Land's bid exceeded the floor price of 10.2 billion pesos for the property, said Melinda Cortez, marketing chief of the government's privatisation office.

She described it as the biggest government privatisation effort in years.

However the government's economic ministers must still study the bid for 60 days to see if it meets all financial and legal qualifications before declaring Ayala Land the winner, Cortez added.

The estate, formerly a major government food processing facility, is now an industrial estate where warehouses, offices and stores are already operating.

The Philippine government tried to sell off the facility in 2009 but failed to attract enough bidders.

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