MANILA, Philippines - Amid speculation about why Hans Sy's SM Prime is taking over elder brother Henry Sy Jr.'s SM Development Corp. (SMDC), the younger brother said they both have their work cut out for them.
In the new, expanded SM Prime, Hans will stay as president, while Henry Sy Jr., known as Big Boy, will take over his father's role as non-executive chairman.
"He's the thinker, I'm the executioner," Hans said of Henry Jr.
"We will work very well together and I will rely on him to really think ahead and he will rely on me to execute everything properly. It's not who is calling the shots.
Maybe when it comes to planning, he will be the calling the shots. And when it comes to execution of the plans, I will call the shots," he added.
Hans, the younger Sy, said Henry Jr. will be important as the new SM Prime expands in China. SM Prime has five malls there but no condos.
Henry Jr., who has completed 16 condos since 2003 and is building 18 more, can now start building beside SM malls in China.
"His specialty is really residential and other commercial, while mine is malls only. This is where we'll try to integrate or synergize both the groups. We believe this synergy will be very strong and powerful for the company," Hans said.
The SM malls in China contribute about 10% to SM Prime's bottomline. That will fall when SM Prime takes on SMDC's condo business.
Hans Say said that means they'll just have to step up the China expansion.
"In the enlarged entity with SMDC and all the other real estate assets coming in, that contribution will even go down so we will continue to work on our program in China by expanding one mall a year over next two to three years," said Jeffrey Lim, chief finance officer of SM Prime.
Those new malls are coming. SM is now building two new malls in China, and it's negotiating to build four more.
Hans said he's laid the groundwork in China, helping his big brother expand the group's presence there faster, via condos.
"It will now be easier for SMDC to go to China because I'm already present there... I have the connection, I have met all the government officials, so it would be a lot easier for them now that we come in as one group," he said.