SMIC faces pandemic with ‘hybrid’ approach

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By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

SM Investments Corp。 (SMIC) is relying on a “hybrid way” of shaping its businesses to adjust to changing lifestyles as a response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic。

In the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting held virtually on Wednesday, SMIC Vice-Chairperson Teresita T. Sy-Coson said the group was working to transform its operations to cater to emerging needs.

“The pandemic has made us even more aware of two important things: for our customers, it’s convenience and safety, and for ourselves, it’s adaptability and transformation,” she said.

“We have been improving our online and physical experience and operations across the group。 From the banking to the retail to the mall to the property。 And coming from this lockdown, we were able to operate a hybrid way of reaching our customers,” she added。

“We are excited to strengthen this new offering, and going forward, we will transform into a stronger and more adapted SM after this crisis。”

The 60-year-old company derives its income from its primary units of banking, property and retail。 During the first quarter, SMIC’s earnings dropped 16% to P9 billion because of profit declines across these business segments。

Earnings from BDO Unibank, Inc. fell to P8.8 billion from P9.8 billion last year, which offset the 19% increase in earnings of China Banking Corp. to P2.2 billion. Property arm SM Prime Holdings, Inc. recorded a 5% income decline to P8.3 billion, while SM Retail, Inc. saw a 56% earnings drop to P1.2 billion.

To recover, SMIC President and CEO Frederic C. DyBuncio said the group was bolstering its e-commerce presence both as a direct participant and as a service provider.

SM Prime previously said it was allocating P100 million to improve its e-commerce platforms by bridging mall tenants to at-home shoppers.

Part of the company’s plans is improving its own online shopping sites and working with partners to develop its grocery delivery service, Mr. DyBuncio said.

As a service provider, SMIC aims to use its malls and stores as pick-up locations and to provide logistics support such as warehousing and last-mile delivery through logistics companies under the group.

“This pandemic has revealed that digital technology offers fundamental opportunities to connect and serve communities. We will continue to combine our online and offline capabilities to meet our customers’ evolving needs,” Mr. DyBuncio said.

SMIC shares at the stock exchange picked up P2 or 0。21% to close at P937 each on Wednesday。