PROPERTY DEVELOPER Sta. Lucia Land, Inc. (SLI) said it will proceed with its equity offering within the first quarter — after earlier setbacks — to raise fresh capital for its residential projects and to build its land bank.

In a phone interview last week, Sta. Lucia Chief Financial Officer David M. Dela Cruz said the real estate developer tapped Maybank ATR Kim Eng Capital Partners, Inc. as the issue manager for the sale of roughly 2.2 billion common shares.

The shares will be sold mainly to local investors, Mr. Dela Cruz said.

Sta. Lucia shares added four centavos or 4.65% on Friday to end the week at P0.90 each. While the company has yet to price the shares, it could raise P1.98 billion from the share sale based on Friday’s closing price.

“We really need to expand our asset base because of competition,” Mr. Dela Cruz said.

The property developer has been deferring the fund-raising exercise since 2011 amid volatility in the global financial markets.

The fund-raiser, targeted within the first quarter, will finance “selective land banking, acceleration of projects and working capital,” Mr. Dela Cruz said, adding that it may also fund the construction of the company’s own brand of community malls in Davao and Iloilo.

SLI is on the lookout for retail partners to lease out 28 hectares of commercial areas within its subdivision projects nationwide to serve the needs of their residents, Mr. Dela Cruz said.

It has 2,000 hectares of developed projects in 10 regions in the country.

In a bid to boost recurring revenues, SLI recently opened the upscale expansion of the Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall in Cainta, adding 50,000 square meters of gross floor area that will increase the total gross leasable area of the shopping center to over 124,000 square meters. — Krista Angela M. Montealegre

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