Property developer Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI) returned to a positive earnings growth path in the first quarter, outperforming the year-ago level even as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic had yet to be fully felt in the comparative period.
CLI, a leading developer in Visayas and Mindanao (Vis-Min) area, grew its attributable first quarter net profit by 25 percent year-on-year to P714 million. This was seen in line with CLI’s guidance to revert to its 15- to 20-percent historical earnings growth track this year after the pandemic resulted in an 8-percent contraction in net profit last year to P1.85 billion.
The first quarter performance was driven by sustained construction activities and the strong sales take-up of its residential projects in its Vis-Min bailiwick. The growth momentum may speed up in the second half of the year as CLI’s joint ventures mature for revenue recognition, CLI chief operating officer Franco Soberano said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday.
In addition, CLI is set to produce fresh inventory in the next three quarters from its 2021 projects in the pipeline. The listed company is set to roll out P14 billion worth of projects this year.
CLI chief financial officer Grant Cheng said in an investors briefing that the first quarter performance marked “beginning of the rebound.” Amid a prolonged pandemic, Cheng said CLI was “cautiously optimistic” for the remainder of the year.
Three-month revenues expanded by 11 percent year-on-year to P2.35 billion, while reservation sales yet to be recognized as revenues stood at P21 billion. In the first quarter alone, sales take-up rose by 17 percent year-on-year to P3.3 billion, backed by what company officials described as a “solid” demand for housing in Vis-Min.
CLI launched three projects from January to March worth P4.9 billion, boosting reservation sales. Sales from the mid-market Garden Series accounted for 66 percent of the total while the balance of 33 percent was attributable to economic housing brand Casa Mira.
Soberano reported that once lockdown measures were eased toward the end of 2020, CLI quickly responded by ramping up activity to 95 percent in most of its construction sites. Unlike in Greater Metro Manila where CLI has no business exposure, Soberano noted that mobility issues were no longer pronounced in Vis-Min, where COVID-19 infections have remained relatively manageable. Cebu City, the largest metropolis in the South, for instance, was experiencing low infection rates in the past weeks, which its medical facilities could easily address.