SM Prime to 'conserve' resources while seeking growth during pandemic


Posted at Jun 16 2020 09:07 AM

SM Prime to 'conserve' resources while seeking growth during pandemic 1
A worker in full protective gear disinfects an ATM inside an SM shopping mall in Quezon City in this photo taken on May 27, 2020. Jonathan Cellona ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA -- The shopping mall and property holding arm of the SM Group told shareholders Tuesday it would "conserve resources" while pursuing growth during the coronavirus pandemic, as it declared P5.34 billion in dividends.

Despite the "overwhelming impact" of COVID-19, SM Prime holdings said it was "optimistic" that consumer spending would recover. It said it had enough resources to pursue expansion plans in the second half.

Shareholders on record as of June 30 will receive dividends of P0.185 per share, payable on or before July 14, SM Prime said in a disclosure.

"The company is taking all the necessary steps to ensure the well-being of our employees and society. While we maintain a strong balance sheet, the company has decided to prioritize financial flexibility to prepare for what has yet to come," SM Prime President Jeffrey Lim said.

"Management sees it best to conserve our resources as we strive to strike a balance between protecting the interest of our stakeholders and maintaining a sustainable growth trajectory for the company over the long-term," he said.

The firm's P80 billion capital expenditures for the year is "intact" and will focus on nearly completed projects that will bring sustainable returns, according to the disclosure.

Shopping malls reopened more shops last June 1, as Metro Manila and other urban areas were downgraded to a GCQ or general community quarantine from an ECQ or enhanced community quarantine that was in force for 11 weeks.

President Rodrigo Duterte extended the GCQ to June 30. The GCQ restarted up to 75 percent of the economy as it allowed limited work, business and public transportation.