Ayala open to 'transparent review' of UP Technohub deal amid probe threat

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 20 2020 10:52 PM

MANILA - Ayala Land Inc (ALI) on Monday said it welcomes a "transparent review" of its lease contract with the University of the Philippines (UP) for the Technohub complex in Diliman after Malacañang said it would probe the deal. 

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a radio interview on Sunday that he was looking to review the property firm's lease with the state university after "reading on the internet" that the lease was disadvantageous to UP. 

"Parang lumalabas na 'yung buong lugar na 'yun is being rented by the Ayalas at less than P20 per square meter for 25 years. Eh kung totoo 'yun eh 'di malaki na naman ang problema," Panelo was quoted as saying.

(It appears that the whole area is being rented by the Ayalas at less than P20 per square meter for 25 years. If that is true, that's another big problem.)

ALI, meanwhile, belied the claim and said that UP will receive a total value of P171 per square meter per month during the duration of the contract.

"This was derived from P4.23 billion in lease payments and P6 billion investment in 16 commercial buildings for a total amount of P10.23 billion over the life of the 25-year contract," ALI said in a statement. 

Only 20 of the 37-hectare property is "developable" given that 4 hectares remain with UP and 13 hectares are allocated for open space, the firm said. 

ALI added that when its lease expires in 2033, UP as owner will receive 100 percent of the buildings’ rent. 

"We believe this development has been fruitful and beneficial for UP, ALI and the community," ALI said. 

ALI's stock was down 7 percent at the end of Monday trading following Panelo's statement.

Manila Water, another Ayala-owned firm, has been on the crosshairs of President Rodrigo Duterte who has called its water concession contract "onerous."