(Source: BusinessWorld | 18 July 2016)
Billionaire Manuel B. Villar is looking to list more businesses on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) within the next five years, following the market’s warm reception of Golden Haven Memorial Park, Inc. that plans to open seven new memorial parks annually.
The controlling shareholder of listed property firms Vista land & Lifescapes, Inc., Starmalls, Inc. and Golden Haven expects his family’s retail businesses to go public next in three to five years.
“Certainly, in the next three to five years, they will list on the local bourse,” Mr. Villar told reporters in a mix of English and Filipino after opening the 13th store under the AllHome brand in Antipolo City on Friday.
Mr. Villar undertakes retail ventures through All Value Holdings Corp., which owns supermarkets and department stores under the All Day and All Shoppe brands, aside from AllHome, its one-stop shop for home building, furnishing and improvement needs.
The billionaire’s death-care business Golden Haven is the latest Villar-controlled company to debut on the local equities market. The stock was strongly received by investors, hitting the price ceiling when it first traded on June 29.
Golden Haven joined the PSE through an initial public offering of 74,17,647 shares or 15% of its issued and outstanding common shares for P778.2 million. Proceeds from the maiden share sale were earmarked for the expansion of the business.
“Before end of the year, we will have 14 parks. We will add another seven — I’m looking at seven every year,” Mr. Villar said, adding that Golden Haven also looks to open its second columbarium and first funeral chapel in Las Piñas.
Golden Haven can undertake a follow-on offering of its shares of stock in three to five years, when new business segments such as cremation services should have already gained ground, Mr. Villar noted.
Asked whether AllHome will be the next business to go public, Mr. Villar said: “I guess it’s something that will happen [but] it’s more of waiting for the right time. Before I consider listing this, it should already have anywhere between 25 and 50 branches.”
Mr. Villar, however, noted that another company owned by his family will indeed join the PSE next year. He did not give details.
With the home furnishing business expected to have completed only 20 stores by mid-2017, Mr. Villar said: “The next company we will list is not necessarily AllHome. We also have All Day and All Shoppe.”
Mr. Villar, who has held public office for more than 20 years, cited the expansion of his businesses a priority, saying: “I’m making up for lost time because I’ve been in politics for 21 years.”
When asked about plans to return to public service, Mr. Villar, who had occupied a Senate seat before a failed presidential bid in 2010, said: “I’m already happy here. Whenever there is an election, of course, you are tempted to run, but you will eventually get over it and say ‘No, I’m already happy here.’”
Aside from expanding the existing businesses, Mr. Villar is creating a memorial pre-need subsidiary that will complement services offered by Golden Haven.
“We are now putting up everything but we will launch it formally sometime this year,” he said.
On Friday, shares in Vista Land rose 1.39% to close at P5.83 each, while shares in Golden Haven fell 4.7% to P17.04 apiece.
— By Keith Richard D. Mariano