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SM Prime Leads Philippine Rally on Profit Outlook: Manila Mover

Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) -- SM Prime Holdings Inc., the largest Philippine shopping mall operator, climbed to a record in Manila stock trading after 2012 profit beat estimates.

SM Prime advanced 4.7 percent to 19.16 pesos as of 1:35 p.m. in Manila. The stock was the biggest contributor to the gain in the benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange Index, which rose 0.8 percent and was poised for a record close.

Manila-based SM Prime said today its 2012 profit rose 16 percent to 10.53 billion pesos ($259 million) as it opened new malls and same-store sales increased. The earnings exceeded the 10.43 billion peso average profit estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

“SM Prime beat most analysts’ forecasts so earnings estimates are likely to be upgraded,” said Alex Pomento, head of research at Macquarie Group Ltd.’s Manila unit. “SM Prime can easily beat its 2012 earnings this year because the elections will give consumer spending an added kick.”

The Philippines will hold congressional and local polls in May to elect half of the Senate, all members of the House of Representatives and officers of local government units. “Feverish” spending for election campaigns will help boost consumer spending, Secretary Butch Abad said Dec. 19. Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the $225 billion economy.

SM Prime said sales rose 14 percent to 30.73 billion pesos, while profit at its malls in China increased 24 percent to 1.1 billion pesos. The company said it will open two malls and upgrade an existing one, ending this year with 48 malls in the Philippines and five in China.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian Sayson in Manila at isayson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Darren Boey at dboey@bloomberg.net

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