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SM Prime investing P36b for expansion

SM Prime Holdings Inc., the holding company of the Sy family for real estate projects, allotted P36 billion for capital expenditures this year to expand its shopping malls and build new ones in the Philippines and China.

SM Prime chief finance officer Jeffrey Lim said about 80 percent to 85 percent of the amount would be spent in the Philippines for development of new malls and expansion of existing shopping centers. The rest will be spent in China, where it already operates five malls.

Lim said SM Prime allotted up to P10 billion for the expansion of five existing malls, including SM Bacolod, SM Iloilo, SM Taytay, SM North Edsa and SM Mall of Asia.

He said for the expansion of SM Mall of Asia alone, the company would spend P1.8 billion to add 200,000 square meters of leasing space by putting up a third level.

SM North Edsa, SM Bacolod and SM Taytay will be expanded to put up additional space for call centers and business process outsourcing companies, he added.

SM Prime president Hans Sy said the company planned to put up office space for call center companies within shopping malls because BPO firms found it easier to recruit employees if they were located near shopping malls.

Meanwhile, SM Prime said it was set to open another shopping mall in China before the end of the year.

Sy said the company planned to open SM Tianjin, a year ahead of schedule.  “We will try to open it before the end of the year. There is a big incentive for us if we open it this year,” Sy said, without elaborating on the incentives the company would receive.

SM Tiajin will have 540,000 square meters of leasable space, similar in size to SM Mall of Asia.  It will be the company’s sixth shopping mall in China.

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