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Billionaire Sy Faces Counterbid for Manila Bay Prime Real Estate

Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Ayala Land Inc., the largest Philippine builder by market value, plans to counter billionaire Henry Sy’s offer to reclaim prime land along Manila Bay for development.

Ayala Land has asked the local government for an extension of the Nov. 4 deadline to submit competing bids, the Manila-based builder said in an e-mailed statement today. “This will confirm our interest to submit a counter proposal,” Ayala Land said.

Sy’s SM Land Inc., rivaling Ayala Land as the nation’s biggest developer, made an unsolicited offer of 54.5 billion pesos ($1.3 billion) to the Pasay City government this month for the 300-hectare (3 square kilometers) reclamation project. The offer comes amid scarcity of large plots for development in the area comprising the capital and its neighboring cities, known as Metropolitan Manila, which accounts for 36 percent of the $250 billion Philippine economy.

“It is a strategic move on the part of Ayala Land to counter the developments of SM,” Jomar Lacson, an analyst at Manila-based Campos Lanuza & Co., said by phone. “This project can further diversify Ayala Land’s products and market.”

The current deadline is “too short to develop a master plan, study its financial and environmental impact, and how to maximize the benefits to Pasay, the national government, and the public at large,” Ayala Land said.

Ayala Land was unchanged at 30.60 pesos as of 1:35 p.m. in Manila trading, taking its gain this year to 16 percent. SM Investments Corp., the parent of SM Land, climbed 1.4 percent to 857 pesos. SM Prime Holdings Inc., which will hold SM Investments’ property assets, rose 3.2 percent, headed for the biggest gain since Sept. 19.

Sy is the Philippines’ richest man, with a net worth of $14.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Patterson at mpatterson10@bloomberg.net

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