SM shopping malls seen moving closer to prepandemic vibrancy | Inquirer Business

SM shopping malls seen moving closer to prepandemic vibrancy

/ 04:10 AM April 26, 2022

Sy-led property giant SM Prime Holdings Inc. aims to close the gap with its prepandemic shopping mall foot traffic as economic activity gradually recovers from the global health crisis.

“We believe that even if we are not able to reach prepandemic levels before the end of the year, at least we should target between 80 to 90 percent,” SM Prime president Jeffrey Lim told stockholders during the company’s annual meeting on Monday.

“We are optimistic about the prospects for 2022,” he added.


SM Prime’s revenues and profit in 2021 were higher than the previous year. However, these were still down by 30.4 percent and 42.8 percent, respectively, from levels in 2019—the year before the COVID-19 pandemic.


“We continue to actually find ways and look for opportunities given what is on the ground now. And what we are seeing, since we have started the reopening and the alert level 1 since March, things are positive,” Lim said.

Capital expenditure boost

SM Prime—a property conglomerate that owns malls, residential towers, offices and hotels—is boosting capital spending to P80 billion this year, Lim said.

This was higher than the nearly P65 billion deployed in 2021 and even the P68.7 billion it spent in 2019, its annual report showed.

Lim said SM Prime was allocating at least 20 percent of the 2022 budget to acquire land for future developments.

The rest would go toward its mall, residential and office segments, he added.

SM Prime, which also operates seven shopping centers in China, opened its 79th domestic mall, SM City Roxas, in Capiz last April 8.


Lim said on Monday three more malls would open this 2022: SM City Tuguegarao, SM City Sorsogon and SM City Tanza in Cavite.

For residential arm SM Development Corp., the company aims to launch 12,000 to 20,000 units this year compared with 12,000 units last year.

Cautious optimism

Despite the positive outlook, Lim said SM Prime remained wary of near-term risks, such as the ongoing pandemic, the present infection surge in China and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

SM Prime recently raised P30 billion from the sale of five, seven and 10-year retail bonds to support its expansion.

“The overwhelming success of this latest fixed rate bonds has shown the strong interests of fixed income investors,” said John Nai Peng Ong, SM Prime chief finance officer.

SM Prime’s 2021 revenues were flat at P82.3 percent while net income jumped 21 percent to P21.8 billion from the past year.

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Apart from malls, SM Prime ended 2021 with 61 residential projects, leisure and resort developments, 12 office buildings with a combined gross floor area of 700,000 square meters and nine hotels with over 2,200 rooms, convention centers and trade halls. INQ

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