SMIC, SM Prime to create maiden $3-B notes program

SM Investments Corp. (SMIC) and its property unit SM Prime Holdings Inc. are tapping the overseas market through a maiden $3-billion euro medium-term note (EMTN) program, the largest issuance of its kind by a Philippine company, company officials said on Tuesday.

The funds will help the company’s future requirements, SMIC Vice-Chairperson Teresita Sy-Coson told Reuters.

“We do not need it now but for the future,” Ms. Coson added.

The companies, owned by the Philippines’ richest family, are looking at issuing the entire $3 billion in the next three to five years, Ms. Coson said.

The conglomerate has created an entity in Singapore to facilitate the issuance of the notes.

The EMTNs will fund financing needs including expansion and debt payments, SM Prime President Jeffrey Lim told Reuters.

EMTNs are a debt security that are issued and traded overseas.

SMIC, which has interests in the banking, retail, property, shipping, and leisure and gaming sectors, has allocated P100 billion ($1.74 billion) for capital expenditure in 2024.

It plans to open four new shopping malls and launch 8,000 to 10,000 residential units.

BDO Unibank, the Philippines’ largest lender in asset terms and a subsidiary of SMIC, has launched a $2-billion EMTN program.


Meanwhile, SM Prime said the public listing of its planned $1-billion real estate investment trust (REIT) is not possible this year due to interest rate risks.

“Given the interest rate environment and market volatility, I don’t think we can do it (REIT IPO) this year, but we will continue to assess as we move forward,” SM Prime President Jeffrey C. Lim said during a briefing on Tuesday.

“Next year, we’ll see because we don’t know what is going to happen in the next several months. I don’t think it’s the right time for us to do it,” he added.

In August last year, SM Prime’s parent firm SMIC said that the planned REIT IPO had been deferred due to market headwinds such as higher interest rates, inflation, and market sentiment.

The listing was initially targeted for the second half of last year.

The initial public offering’s (IPO) proceeds will be used for the company’s expansion plans as well as its reclamation project in Manila Bay.

The Philippine central bank opted to keep its target reverse repurchase rate at 6.5% for a fourth consecutive meeting earlier in the month. Interest rates on the overnight deposit and lending facilities were also maintained at 6% and 7%.

“It’s a matter of timing. We continue to look at retail REIT as an option, but it’s a timing matter considering the market conditions at this point in time,” SM Prime Chief Finance Officer John Nai Peng C. Ong said.

SM Smart City Infrastructure and Development Corp. President Glenn D. Ang said separately that the company’s reclamation project is on track and will be handed over in 2028 despite the REIT IPO’s delay.

“We are following our timeline. It has not moved yet. Insofar as the delay that was mentioned, we have worked out a concept program in order to speed up, catch up on our timeline. So far we’re on track. As we committed, this will be handed over in 2028,” he said. — Reuters and Revin Mikhael D. Ochave