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SEC approves Pro-Friends's P7.44-billion initial public offering

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the initial public offering (IPO) of developer Property of Friends Group Inc. (Pro-Friends), which will be held by the middle of the month.

According to the registration statement of Pro-Friends, formerly known as Amicus Holdings Inc., it plans to raise some P7.44 billion from the offering of up to 385.75 million unissued common shares at P20 apiece.

BDO Capital and Investment Corp. and First Metro Investment Corp. were picked as joint issue managers and bookrunners.

Pro-Friends's offer will commence on December 17 and will end on January 9.

The company said that about P2.48 billion will be infused to its financing unit Williamton Holdings Inc. for the expansion of its receivables. Williamton will be later on be renamed as Pro-Friends Financing Corp.

About P1.24 billion will be used to purchase more land in already identified areas. As of June, the company is set to purchase some 104.48 hectares of property in Cavite province, 101.22 hectares of land in Cagayan de Oro and 26.97 hectares in Iloilo.

These properties will yield the company some 13,045 units of various types, but mainly for the low-income buyers.

The rest of the proceeds of about P600 million will go to general corporate purposes.

"Pro-Friends shall further undertake the development of a private road network link to Daang Hari in Bacoor, Cavite, making Lancaster New City easily accessible as well to and from other parts of Metro Manila and Laguna," it said.

The company said that it will strengthen and expand its regional presence in the Visayas and Mindanao, while going further into budget houses that cost as low as P300,000 per unit.

Pro-Friends in 2012 acquired Firm Builders Realty Development Corp., a socialized housing developer that completed a total of 26 projects in key cities outside of Metro Manila, some of the units of which only had floor areas of 24 to 42 square meters.

Earlier this year, it incorporated Micara Land Inc. as it forays deeper into the low-cost housing segment that costs between P650,000 to P1.2 million. Micara is set to launch its first project by the end of the year.

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