Despite a tougher business environment, SM Prime Holdings Inc., the country's biggest mall developer, said its net income last year grew 7 percent with the entry of new malls and expansion of existing ones.
In a statement, SM Prime reported a net income of P6.4 billion for 2008 against P6 billion in 2007 on the back of a 12-percent rise in revenues to P17.8 billion.
The company said the results included the operations of the three SM malls in Xiamen and Jinjiang in southern China and Chengdu in central China.
"Notwithstanding the global financial situation, SM Prime achieved its goals and sustained its expansion in 2008. The company performed fairly well and was able to deliver on its targets and objectives due mainly to the unwavering support of its loyal customers, tenants, suppliers, shareholders, and employees," said SM Prime president Hans Sy.
In 2008, rental fees continued to account for the largest share of SM Prime’s consolidated revenues at P15.4 billion, up 15 percent year-on-year. Bulk of the increase came from additional space in new malls and mall expansions during the year.
SM Prime opened SM City Marikina, SM City Rosales and SM City Baliwag and expanded SM City North Edsa and SM Megamall.
Put together, the new malls and expansions in 2008 added 353,000 square meters to SM Prime's gross floor area. The average occupancy rate of the new malls now stands at 93 percent.
Meanwhile, cinema ticket sales during the year was flat due to the dearth of movie blockbusters.
SM Prime spent P8.2 billion in operating expenses for full year 2008, an increase of 15 percent from P7.1 billion in 2007. Income from operations posted a 9 percent growth from P8.8 billion in 2007 to P9.6 billion last year.
For 2009, SM Prime plans to open SM City Naga in Camarines Sur, SM City Rosario in Cavite, SM City Pamplona in Las Piñas, and the Sky Garden at SM City North Edsa. The company is also set to expand SM City Rosales in Pangasinan.
By the end of the year, SM Prime will have 36 malls nationwide and three malls in China, with an estimated gross floor area of 4.9 million square meters.
SM Prime is a unit of conglomerate SM Investments Corp., owned by one of the country's richest men, Henry Sy.