Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) and the Campos group of United Laboratories, Inc. (Unilab) and Greenfield Development Corp. (GDC) today signed a US$90-million agreement with Metro Pacific Corp. (MPC), enabling the partners to gain control of Bonifacio Land Co. (BLC), thereby securing a firm hold on Bonifacio Global City – a most sought-after real estate property in the country.

Following the signing of the memorandum of agreement at the Tower Club in Makati City, ALI and Campos group officials hailed the agreement as highly beneficial to the country – underscoring the fact that a transaction of this magnitude between major Filipino firms should further boost confidence in prospects for the Philippine economy.

ALI chairman Fernando Zobel de Ayala expressed satisfaction that such a transaction will enhance Ayala Land’s dominant position in the real estate industry.

“Adding Fort Bonifacio to our portfolio will provide a great opportunity for Ayala Land to replicate its success in the development of the Makati central business district as the country’s commercial and financial center. We are also delighted at this opportunity to continue our close relationship with the Campos group,” he added.

Unilab chairman and CEO Joselito D. Campos Jr. referred to the transaction as a natural consequence of the excellent relationship of Unilab and Greenfield with Ayala Land and Metro Pacific, together with its parent company – First Pacific.

“We have been privileged to consummate the acquisition from First Pacific of Darya Varia, one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in Indonesia. And now, together with Ayala Land, we look forward to our joint development of Bonifacio Global City as a prime landmark project,” he said.

Carlos C. Ejercito, president and COO of both Unilab and GDC, underscored the Campos group’s partnership with Ayala Land on two major fronts.

“Bonifacio Global City in Makati and the 600-hectare Ayala Greenfield Estates in the foothills of Mt. Makiling in Calamba, Laguna are rekindling interest in real estate. Both projects, given their magnitude and long-term implications, manifest our strong confidence in the Philippine economy,” he said.

Emphasizing the significance of the agreement, ALI president Francisco Licuanan III pointed out that the Fort Bonifacio property is the single most attractive available parcel of land of that size in Metro Manila today and that the partnership is acquiring it at a fair price.

“We took an interest in this property as early as 1995; and we continue to see opportunities related to it. We envision Fort Bonifacio as a natural and complementary extension of the Makati central business district,” he said.

Licuanan also noted that Ayala Land and GDC have the financial capability to see the project through as well as the combined resources to bring the property to the market sooner.

“It’s a good time to be buying properties such as Fort Bonifacio, since such assets can be acquired at fairly good valuations. When the real estate market recovers, we’ll be in a solid position to capitalize on opportunities, having established our strategic position in two of the most sought-after business and residential areas in the country, namely Makati CBD and the Bonifacio Global City,” he added.

ALI has already committed to develop Market! Market! – a super-regional shopping center consisting of 180,000 square meters of gross leasable area in a 10-hectare property in Bonifacio. The center is now under construction and is expected to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2003.

ALI has also proposed to develop an 8.3-hectare lot adjacent to Market! Market! into a residential community consisting of medium to high density housing and catering to, among others, Makati professionals. Development is expected to commence within the next 18 months.

ALI’s partnership with GDC has had a recent successful run with Ayala Greenfield Estates, a high-end residential project featuring a world-class golf course now being completed in Calamba, Laguna

In the short term, the partnership sees some controlled sales of selective inventory and leasing of commercial areas to continue the build-up of critical mass at the Bonifacio Global City. Over the medium and long terms, its development will mirror the evolution of Makati’s highly successful central business district.