The Philippines’ largest mall operator said foreign investors should take a closer look at the country to see for themselves the opportunities thrown up by its fast-growing economy.
Teresita Sy-Coson, vice chairman of SM Investments Corp., a diversified group that operates the country’s largest retail chain, said the Philippines has been underrated as an investment destination.
“Yet, in the past five years, we have been growing at an average of 5 percent,” Sy-Coson told the Forbes Global CEO conference in Singapore.
“We have had an improvement in governance, we have a young population with growing spending power and we have a large number of workers overseas whose remittances help our economy,” she said.
Sy-Coson said investors should look at the Philippines with a long-term view, “longer than a two to three-year window”.
“Given that we are a strong service-oriented economy, the BPO [business process outsourcing] industry is a natural fit,” she said.
“As a domestic investor, I am very optimistic. There is a lot of liquidity for our size. If you look back at the country’s economic history, we have had steady growth.”
SM’s interests range from banking, property development and mall operations to retail and conventions.
Its flagship banking unit, BDO, is the country’s largest lender.
SM was founded by Henry Sy Sr., the Philippines’ richest man with a fortune estimated at US$11.8 billion, according to Bloomberg.
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