BIZ BUZZ: UP in Villar City
Brown taipan” Manny Villar Jr. is in talks with the University of the Philippines (UP) to set up a satellite campus in his 3,500-hectare Villar City, the biggest mixed-use estate in the country.
Indeed, how can he move the “center of gravity” of the metropolis to the south? One step would be to bring the best schools closer to the community.
Villar is, of course, an alumnus of the premier state university (he majored in business administration and accountancy) and that is also where he met his wife, Sen. Cynthia Villar. Their eldest son, Paolo, was accepted into the BAA program (five-year business administration and accountancy) but chose to go to Wharton instead.
Villar said in a media chat that he would like to donate land to UP and help put up some of the campus buildings. So if UP BGC has a Henry Sy Sr. Hall, don’t be surprised to see a Manny Villar Jr. Hall in the south.
In the last 25 to 30 years, Villar accumulated parcels of land along the Muntinlupa-Las Piñas-Cavite-Daang Hari corridor and consolidated them into a sizable landbank suitable for a new central business district that’s bigger than Makati and BGC combined.
Villar knows that to build a critical mass of residents, reputable educational institutions must be part of the equation. Just outside Villar City, there’s De La Salle University-Dasmariñas, he noted.
In Southern Luzon, there’s of course UP Los Baños, which is known for its agriculture, forestry and environmental management course offerings.
Villar would like the prospective UP campus in Villar City to focus on technology-related courses. Apart from tertiary education, Villar is also open to setting up a science high school.
Retailing rebound seen
Shares of two of Villar’s retailing arms, supermarket operator AllDay Marts Inc. and AllHome Corp., have languished at the stock market in recent years. It’s all because of the pandemic, Villar said, but he assured that “we will come back strongly next year.”
In the case of AllDay, Villar said he was overhauling management and has recruited a foreigner, whose name and credentials will be disclosed soon, to run the business.
“He’s good,” he said. “We will start expanding next year.”
The business has been affected by the long lockdowns because most of AllDay’s supermarket’s are mall-based. But based on how business has picked up pace this year, Villar said he’s optimistic about the trajectory for next year.
Both AllDay and AllHome will restart expansion. And in the case of AllHome, instead of building large home improvement shops that are mostly inside the malls, Villar said upcoming stores may be smaller (about 6,000 to 7,000 square meters) and free-standing.
Improving Carmen’s Best
Carmen’s Best ice cream is getting ready for a major relaunch in 2024 to become even bigger and, ahhh, bester?
So far, the most recognizable agribusiness investment of Manuel Pangilinan-led conglomerate Metro Pacific Investment Corp., Carmen’s Best is actually a full-range dairy company with much more to offer.
Juan Victor Hernandez, CEO of Metro Pacific Agro Ventures Inc., said they were looking at several avenues to expand the business, which was started by the Magsaysay family and who remain minority stockholders.
One possible avenue is building up its retail outlet network given the postpandemic boom in the quick service restaurant sector. Carmen’s Best has a few such stores but these are usually small ice cream shops with very limited seating capacity.
Hernandez is proposing they scoop up a larger market share in this space and this could be one of the plans they will unveil next year.
The business is already profitable, he says, so the next step is achieving even larger scale.
—Miguel R. Camus INQ
Email us at BizBuzz@inquirer.com.ph
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