At its annual stockholders’ meeting held on April 16, 2010, Ayala Corporation chairman and chief executive officer Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala announced its group companies is allotting P70 billion in capital expenditure in 2010, the highest on record for the conglomerate. The group’s capital expenditure plan spans investments across the real estate, telecommunications, and water utilities sectors. Mr. Zobel de Ayala said, “We see room for growth moving forward as our businesses expand into new markets and geographies.”
Ayala is increasingly combining its competencies across its core businesses as it seeks to address the needs of a much broader consumer base. The Ayala chief executive stressed, “It is part of our long-term growth strategy to find innovative and creative ways of serving the needs of a much larger segment of our population. We are increasingly aligning our business models across the group to be responsive and relevant to our commitment to provide sustainable growth and development to a broader and more diverse community.”
Ayala recently formed BPI Globe BanKO, a joint venture with its banking unit and telecom unit to develop microfinance services in which Ayala has a 20% stake. The group sees microfinance as a transformational force in society from both a social development perspective and as a profitable enterprise.
Its real estate unit, Ayala Land, Inc. expanded its foray in the economic housing segment to meet the growing demand for housing at much lower price points. The real estate unit also tapped a partnership with the group’s water utilities arm, Manila Water Co., Inc., for the development of water and wastewater facilities of its existing real estate developments.
Ayala is pursuing these new initiatives in tandem with its growth objectives in its traditional markets. Ayala seeks to expand in selective areas overseas and is carrying these out through Manila Water, Integrated Micro electronics, Inc. (IMI), and its business process outsourcing businesses. Manila Water is looking at water and wastewater projects in Vietnam and India, while IMI recently opened its sixth manufacturing facility in China. Its BPO unit continues to participate in acquisition opportunities as the industry continues to consolidate globally.
Ayala president and chief operating officer Fernando Zobel de Ayala, in his report to shareholders, pointed out that most of its business units performed well in 2009 despite a severe slowdown in the global economy, resulting in Ayala’s gains-adjusted earnings rising by 34% in 2009 compared to the prior year. The Ayala President said, “We are optimistic about this year as the economy continues to show positive signs of recovery. Ayala continues to explore new investment opportunities and platforms to enhance value creation for our shareholders.” Earlier this year, Ayala announced its intent to bid for the 246-MW Angat Hydropower plant through a consortium with Metro Pacific Investments and the Lopez group.
At the same meeting the shareholders approved an amendment to Ayala’s Articles of Incorporation creating voting preferred shares which would allow greater foreign ownership of Ayala’s common shares and further enhance liquidity. The amendment included a provision which gives Ayala flexibility to issue shares in exchange for property, such as shares of other companies, and enable the company to act quickly to value-accretive investment opportunities.
Ayala’s share price has risen 14% year-to-date to P342.50 per share, with market capitalization of P172 billion.