confirmedthat its 138 billion Philippine peso joint venture project in Cebu, the Philippines,is facing delays.
The companyreferred to a report by Manila's BusinessWorld,which noted that the Philippine Reclamation Authority, or PRA, cited an incorrectprocess followed by the joint venture between SM Prime and the municipality of Cordovaas the reason for the 1,500-hectare reclamation project's delay.
The localgovernment code only allows the city and province of Cebu — and not its municipalities—to conduct land reclamation,the publication reported Joselito Gonzales, PRA assistant general manager for reclamationand regulation, as saying.
The jointventure partners were supposed to sign a memorandum of understanding with the PRAon April 24, but it did not proceed in light of the issue, according to Gonzales.
The Cordovamunicipality would need to form a partnership with Cebu province, which will thenseek the PRA's approval, for the project to move forward.
However,Gonzales added that the recentlyheld 2016 elections in the country would be a factor in possible further delaysin the project. The PRA will need to wait for guidance from the incoming nationalgovernment's administration, which is expected to take over June 30.
SM Prime,meanwhile, said in its filing that it is "not party to the negotiations"between the PRA and the Cordova municipality.
Asidefrom the Cordova project, SM Prime's other properties in Cebu include , , and .
As of May 10, US$1 was equivalentto 46.68 Philippine pesos.