DoubleDragon bets big on countryside growth

Concept image of a CityMall project.

MANILA – DoubleDragon Properties Corp. is pushing through with its follow-on offering, as the property developer bets big on the growth in the countryside.

DoubleDragon is awaiting the go-signal of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to launch the P7.3-billion share sale originally slated late last year.

“We are looking at launching the deal first half of this year,” DoubleDragon Chief Investment Officer Hannah M. Yulo said in a mobile phone message.

A newcomer in the property sector, DoubleDragon is focusing its expansion on second- and third-tier cities, with plans to build a network of industrial leasing hubs in 40 provinces and community malls in 100 cities.

“Everybody has to go there in the next two to five years so we’re getting there ahead,” DoubleDragon Co-Chairman Edgar “Injap” Sia II said in an interview.

“For a new player, we have to position just in time before everybody else will. Kung mahuli ka lang nang konti, wala ka na rin because we have less resources, less everything,” he added.

DoubleDragon plans to capitalize on the synergies between Central Hub and CityMalls since most of the latter’s tenants will need a commissary, cold storage, warehouse, distribution center and manufacturing facility to support their operations.

The venture into industrial leasing and hotels prompted DoubleDragon to upgrade its 2020 target for its leasable portfolio to 1.2 million square meters (sq.m.) from 1 million sq.m. and revise its net income goal to P5.5 billion from P4.8 billion.

Unable to compete in shopping mall and township development, DoubleDragon has found gaps in the fragmented property sector which have been overlooked by the industry behemoths.

“If we focus on areas that are already dominated by big players, it is difficult. Even if they stop growing in five years and we don’t sleep in five years, they are too far,” Mr. Sia said.

DoubleDragon courted investors in 2014 when it embarked on a P1-billion initial public offering with nothing to show except for a piece of land and a vision to make the company one of the country’s biggest property developers.

Three years after its debut, DoubleDragon has made progress on that promise and is coming back to the equities market with a follow-on offering that will cement the foundation of the company and move it a step closer towards joining the big league — the Philippine Stock Exchange index.

“This is the best time to provide that window for investors to start taking a position in the company if they think we can deliver and make the company really grow beyond 2020,” Mr. Sia said.

“Confidence will be far higher because it looks so far impossible then three years later it happened. It will strengthen the company in all aspects especially in terms of its credibility and that will translate to opening up to extraordinary opportunities to further grow exponentially beyond 2020,” he added.