SM finds malls more lucrative than banking

SM Investments is relying on real estate earnings to offset the slump in its banking unit. SM’s half-yearly net income increased by 9% to P16.6 billion thanks to real estate’s sustained growth, the company said in a press release. SM’s real estate unit, SM Prime Holdings, reported a net income of P14.4 billion, up by 14%. Income from mall operations increased by 10% after three more malls were added before the end of H1, making a total of 63 malls. SM plans to have 74 malls in the country by the end of 2018. SM’s residential business revenues grew 5%, while its commercial properties group also grew by 14%, due largely to the business process outsourcing industry. These offset the lacklustre performance of SM’s main banking unit, BDO Unibank, whose net income of P13.3 billion barely grew from high expenses after the integration of its rural banking and insurance units.