MANILA, Philippines, April 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, after the company’s Annual Stockholders Meeting and as announced last December 2020, Ayala Corporation (AC) transitioned the position of Chief Executive Officer from Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala to Fernando Zobel de Ayala, who has been designated President and CEO. Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala will focus on his role as Chairman of the Ayala Board. Jaime and Fernando will continue to represent Ayala, retaining their current roles, as Chairman or Vice-Chairman, in the subsidiary boards of various Ayala group companies.
In his remarks, Fernando lauded Jaime for the latter’s outstanding leadership and track record of creating shareholder value in his 26 years of tenure as CEO. "Since 1995, our market capitalization expanded more than sixfold; our net income similarly grew more than six times. Since 1995, we rewarded our shareholders with dependable returns that averaged at 15 percent per annum. Over that period, we cumulatively paid P118 billion in dividends to our common shareholders."
Beyond the stellar financial returns, Fernando also cited and thanked Jaime for his strategic five-point legacy which Fernando said will serve as a firm foundation for Ayala Corporation’s future sustainable growth:
- Stronger, expanded and balanced portfolio mix. In the last 26 years, Ayala made massive and transformative investments in real estate, banking, telecommunications, energy, water, health, education, and logistics where large societal gaps exposed opportunities to serve a broader, more inclusive set of customers, generate meaningful returns and improve our risk-resilience;
- A culture of relevant and relentless innovation where Ayala’s inspired teams sparked new or enhanced solutions to remain relevant to the dynamically changing needs of customers;
- Rigorous financial management discipline, thus enabling decisive investments to capitalize on opportunities and generate attractive returns, while strengthening risk-resilience especially in times of crises, including the current COVID-19 pandemic;
- Championing the alignment of Ayala’s corporate ambition and goals with world-class standards for sustainability; and environmental, social, and corporate governance; and
- Placing Ayala at the forefront of the evolving role of corporations to address society’s pain points — to create inclusive and sustainable prosperity for all stakeholders and to aid in nation-building.
"As incoming President and CEO, I aim to build on the firm foundation that Jaime established, guided by our core strategy of maintaining leadership and relevance in the markets we serve," Fernando said. "To support this, we will place greater emphasis on our portfolio strategy with a sharper focus on optimizing returns from existing businesses, a highly disciplined approach on capital deployment; and explore opportunities for value realization initiatives to fund future investments."
Fernando said that Ayala will continue to support the expansion of its core value drivers — Ayala Land, BPI, Globe, and AC Energy, while scaling up its healthcare and logistics businesses through AC Health and Entrego. In total, Ayala Group is allocating a combined capex of P196 billion in 2021.
During the meeting, Fernando also congratulated three senior executives who have been given new roles in the Ayala Group. Ayala Corporation’s CFO, TG Limcaoco, takes the helm at BPI as President and CEO; upon the retirement of his predecessor, Bong Consing. Bong will continue to be engaged with the Ayala Group as a member of the Board of Directors of BPI, Ayala Corporation, Globe Telecom and AC Energy Corporation. Albert De Larrazabal, most recently Globe’s Chief Commercial Officer, succeeds Limcaoco as AC’s CFO. Eric Francia, current President and CEO of AC Energy, was appointed to concurrently chair AC’s Investment Committee.
"We are cautiously optimistic about the business environment and will continue to prepare for a post-pandemic economic recovery. We are hoping for a successful implementation of the country’s vaccination program that would pave the way for a revival of the economy," Fernando said. "With a healthy balance sheet and a set of diversified and strong franchises in our portfolio, we are confident that we will come out of this difficult period stronger."
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FACTS AND FIGURES:
AYALA’S PERFORMANCE IN 2020 & 2021 PRIORITIES
For the full-year 2020, Ayala Corporation reported a net income of P17 billion, 51 percent lower than the previous year. Much of this decline is attributed to non-recurring items, such as provisions booked by various businesses, an accounting reclassification, and the non-recurrence of divestment gains from its power and education units. Excluding such, the year-on-year contraction in Ayala’s net profits was at 16 percent. For 2021, the Ayala Group has allocated a combined capex of P196 billion to support the continued expansion of its core businesses and fund emerging opportunities in the healthcare and logistics sector.
- In 2020, Ayala Land pioneered the country’s first real estate investment trust called AREIT, which raised P12.3 billion in proceeds and encouraged other property developers to launch their own REIT vehicles. For 2021, ALI has programmed P88 billion in capital expenditures. It is prepared to launch P100 billion-worth of residential projects as it gears for recovery in the next two to three years.
- BPI‘s substantial investments in digital transformation, over the last 3 years, enabled the bank to meet the changing, alternative banking needs of its customers; and become a leading digital bank. BPI’s mobile app was the most downloaded banking app during the pandemic. Fifty-two percent of the bank’s customers are now digitally enabled; more than half of them are active users; and an average of 70 percent of total transactions are now done online.
- In 2020, Globe Telecom invested P60 billion in capital expenditure, 18 percent higher than in 2019. Globe built nearly 1,300 new cell sites, upgraded more than 11,500 sites to 4G/LTE technology, and deployed 5G sites in various cities and provinces. For 2021, Globe earmarked a record P70 billion in capital spending to support the shift in demand from mobile to home broadband.
- Mynt’s GCash is now the number one finance app in the country, serving over 33 million users or one in every three Filipinos. With the exponential growth of GCash in 2020, not only has it topped the Finance App Category when it comes to active users, but it has also gone ahead of global social media and entertainment apps like Tiktok, Twitter, Netflix, Grab, Spotify, and Viber, based on App Annie, a reputable global app ranking authority. Last year, the value of transactions that passed through GCash crossed P1 trillion, which was double that of the combined totals for the three-year period of 2017 to 2019. GCash recently attracted USD175 million in fresh capital, including an investment from Bow Wave, a New York-based private equity fund. With a post-money valuation of nearly USD1 billion, this investment validates GCash as a formidable player in contributing to and transforming financial services in the country.
- AC Energy has set a bold goal to build five gigawatts of renewable energy by 2025 and become one of the largest listed renewables platforms in Southeast Asia. In 2020, AC Energy continued its aggressive geographical expansion, and now currently operates in five markets—the Philippines, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, and Australia. It is transitioning to a low carbon portfolio and is committed to divest all its coal assets by 2030.
- In 2020, IMI’s subsidiary, VIA Optronics, a leading supplier of enhanced display solutions, was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. VIA’s IPO resulted in proceeds of USD94 million, and a valuation that implied a 34 percent gain from its acquisition price. Meanwhile, IMI’s parent AC Industrials narrowed its losses to P1.8 billion in 2020, despite manufacturing disruptions during the year. It also posted a net profit in the fourth quarter after restoring plant operations to full capacity, improving factory efficiency, and optimizing margins from contract negotiations. AC Industrials’ array of disruptive technology is poised to ride on emerging megatrends around autonomous vehicles, more electronic components in automobiles, and green energy.
- In 2020, Manila Water continued to deliver the necessary infrastructure towards the fulfillment of its service obligations, spending P12.1 billion in capital expenditures—81 percent was channeled to the East Zone Concession to carry out various projects on wastewater expansion, network reliability, and water supply. The entry of Trident Water of the Razon group to Manila Water will enable the regulated company to seek expansion opportunities locally and internationally.
- Leveraging its nationwide reach, AC Infrastructure’s Entrego has gained a foothold serving major e-commerce players in the country. Over the past year, its revenues grew 10 times since 2018 and volume of packages delivered doubling since the start of the pandemic. It aims to expand its presence across the broader logistics supply chain, including contract logistics and freight forwarding.
- AC Health is scaling up its portfolio to take advantage of the momentum in the healthcare ecosystem. It completed the acquisition of a majority stake in QualiMed Health Network last February, complementing AC Health’s 85 outpatient clinics and 80 corporate clinics under the Healthway brand, as well as the country’s first specialty cancer hospital, which is set to open in 2023. Its telemedicine brand, HealthNow, proves to be a great alternative medical consultation solution, alongside online purchasing of medicines and scheduling of onsite clinic appointments. Currently, HealthNow is the most downloaded medical app on App Store.
- In 2020, the Ayala Group spent a total of P13.2 billion in various initiatives to help employees, partners, customers, the broader community and the country cope with the impact of the COVID–19 pandemic.
- When the government implemented ECQ on March 2020, Ayala’s first response was to protect employees and help assure their peace of mind, financially and physically/medically. An emergency assistance package, which consisted of a mix of wages, leave conversions, loan deferments, and advance release of employee bonuses, was rolled out so employees feel financially secure. Contract workers who would have been on a "no-work, no-pay" dilemma (including personnel, maintenance staff, and construction workers) also received financial assistance from the Ayala group. Consistent with DOH mandate, strict health protocols were implemented to ensure the safety of essential workers who had to be physically present at work. Shuttle services, sleeping quarters, and regular testing were made available as well.
- In 2020, Ayala sought to also protect its extended business community. Aside from offering loan payment extensions, waivers of fees and interest charges and rent reprieves to our partners and mall tenants, the Ayala group also launched the Ayala Enterprise Circle as a platform to engage, upskill, connect and empower the over 250,000 SMEs who are either clients or partners of Ayala.
- For the broader Filipino community, Ayala worked with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation and Caritas Manila on Project Ugnayan, where over 270 private entities convened to raise P1.7 billion worth of food vouchers for over 14 million of the most economically vulnerable individuals in the Greater Manila Area. Ayala also actively contributed towards capacitating the national and local governments’ response to the pandemic. Through Task Force T3, Ayala converted the World Trade Center into a 502-bed isolation facility. It donated the swabbing booths for the national government’s four mega swabbing centers, and it also converted two QualiMed hospitals into COVID referral centers, complete with appropriate testing and critical care facilities, including ventilators. Together with the City of Manila, Ayala constructed a new molecular laboratory inside Sta. Ana Hospital. We also donated PCR machines and medical supplies to Quezon City and Davao City.
- Ayala’s participation in T3 now encompasses support for the national government’s vaccine implementation roadmap – including strategy, procurement, administration, and communications. With the IATF, DOH, and the ICTSI Group, Ayala helped consolidate and finalize the private sector component of the tripartite agreement for the purchase of Moderna vaccines. Together with the 450,000 vaccines ordered from AstraZeneca, Ayala has procured 1 million doses, inclusive of our donation to the government.
"We entered this pandemic with a strong balance sheet; and we navigated this unpredictably long, deep and complicated crisis with the strength of our balance sheet intact," Fernando Zobel de Ayala noted. "This strength has allowed Ayala to sustain operations and service debt; and to provide generous support to our varied stakeholders at a time of crisis. It also gives us the continued capacity and flexibility to pursue potential opportunities."