Lucio Tan’s LT Group carries ‘cautious optimism’ for 2015

Lucio Tan’s LT Group Inc. on Tuesday said it is looking at 2015 with more optimism than last year amid stiff competition in its businesses.

LT Group said its property unit, Eton Properties, will remain “cautious and selective” as it continues to develop existing projects and expand into other areas.

“Eton is aware of the possibility of overheating in some segments of the residential sector, and is mitigating the risk by increasing its recurring income base, although at a gradual pace,” the firm said in a statement.

In the first quarter of the year, Eton posted a net income of P50.92 million, up 77 percent from the P28.80 million registered in the same period last year on the back of strong rental income from its commercial centers and offices.

LT Group said the problems of its tobacco business, meanwhile, have not been resolved, but it expressed optimism that developments will allow Philip Morris International Fortune Tobacco Corp. (PMFTC) to improve earnings this year.

The firm also cited “intense” and tough competition in the distilled spirits business and beverage segment.

Asia Brewery Inc. will continue to capitalize on the growing young adult population and the higher purchasing power in specific segments to meet the changes in consumer preferences through product innovation, while continuing its program toward cost improvement,” the firm said.

For its banking unit, LT Group said prudent risk management remains a focus as it broadens its reach and offers its customers more innovative products and services.

In the first quarter of the year, LT Group’s profit was flat at P1.59 billion, amid lower earnings from its banking and tobacco businesses.