World Economy

World’s Best-Performing Property Stock Surges Over 1,400%

World’s Best-Performing Property Stock Surges Over 1,400%World’s Best-Performing Property Stock Surges Over 1,400%

The performance of the world’s best property stock this year may have nothing to do with real estate. Philippines-based Golden Haven Inc. has surged more than 1,400% this year, outpacing more than 2,700 other real estate stocks globally.

While the cemetery builder’s recent push into the affordable housing market is seen as part of the reason, an even bigger factor appears to be speculation that billionaire founder Manuel Villar may use it as a vehicle to become the country’s newest telecommunications carrier, Bloomberg reported.

“Until the nation’s third major telecom player is named, the market will continue to speculate on the stock’s potential involvement with Villar’s push into telecoms,” said Rens Cruz, an analyst at Regina Capital Development Corp. “The stock has moved far ahead of fundamentals.”

The shares rose as much as 20% Friday to a record, adding to a rally that has driven the company’s market valuation to more 200 billion pesos ($3.8 billion), overtaking all of the Philippines’ property stocks except SM Prime Holdings Inc. and Ayala Land Inc. The ascent has caused some market jitters, with volatility spiking over 300% in late January.

The Philippine government has invited bids for frequencies as part of its effort to open the telecommunications sector to new players beyond PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom Inc. Analysts estimate combined revenue for the duopoly of over 300 billion pesos this year. President Rodrigo Duterte plans to choose a third major carrier in May.

Villar, known as “Manny”, is a former senator, with deep family ties in politics as well as holdings in various property-related companies. His wife Cynthia is a current senator and their son Mark is the Philippines’ public works secretary. Another son, Manuel Paolo, is CEO of Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc., a home and mall builder operating in more than 133 towns and cities throughout the country.

The family’s Streamtech Systems Technologies Inc. is seeking a franchise from Congress to initially provide fixed-line broadband services to residential communities developed by Villar group companies. The Villars haven’t ruled out the possibility of entering the mobile business eventually, Manuel Paolo said in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer last year.

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