The Milestones That Made Ayala Corporation One of the Largest Conglomerates in the Country
Ayala Corporation is one of the oldest and largest conglomerates in the Philippines. It marks its 185th anniversary this year.
What was initially a distillery business has grown into a mammoth corporation with a diverse portfolio that covers interests such as real estate, retail, technology, fin-tech, banking, social infrastructure, non-profit organizations, power & transport, among others.
Throughout the years, the family-run corporation, now helmed by brothers Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and Fernando Zobel de Ayala, has been guided by its cornerstone values of nation-building, economic progress, and community development. Here are some of the corporation’s definitive moments:
It was founded during the Spanish colonial rule.
In 1834, partners Domingo Roxas and Antonio de Ayala established Casa Roxas, an agribusiness that invested most of its assets in a distillery—the same one that produced Ginebra San Miguel.
El Banco Español-Filipino, 10-peso bank note
It pioneered a few things of its time.
More than a decade later, the firm established what was to be the precursor of the Bank of the Philippine Islands, the first bank in the Philippines. Fast-forward to 1881, Jacobo Zobel y Zangroniz introduced Tramcars to the metro, the country’s first public mass transportation system.
It envisioned a robust metropolis.
In 1948, the Makati City Business District was drafted by Joseph McMicking who created the Ayala Master Plan. Now, the commercial and residential hub continues to be home to 30% of the country’s top 1,000 corporations, while bringing together various residential areas, cultural centers, and places of leisure.
Ayala Avenue south of Makati Avenue, 1982
The busy Makati Central Business District today
The 20th century ushered in much expansion.
The firm finally took root in 1968, the year it was officially incorporated. Eight years later, in 1976, Ayala Corp. became a publicly listed company. 1988 saw the birth of Ayala Land, which now holds a variety of developments from residences, malls, hotels & resorts, to name a few. What we now know as Bonifacio Global Center (BGC) came to life in 2003, with plans of Nuvali bubbling up.
Even before the Ayala Foundation was given its name, it put social value above all.
The corporation’s foundation has been in the service of others since 1961 (when it was still named Filipinas Foundation), and has always been committed to corporate social responsibility. Just last month, Ayala Foundation was awarded the Social Value Certificate given by global network Social Value International—the first organization in Asia to receive this recognition.
It invested in renewable energy.
In 2011, the corporation’s energy arm, AC Energy, beefed up its renewable energy initiatives; it was also during this year that the firm partnered with NorthWind Power Corp. Recently, in a report by Inquirer, the firm announced it plans to invest P100 billion in domestic renewable energy projects.
It has stakes in the health sector.
Ayala Corporation's health arm, AC Health, acquired a 50 percent stake in drugstore company Generika; later on, it went on to establish its own chain of community clinics called FamilyDOC. In 2017, it invested in MedGrocer, an online pharmacy.
It has also ventured into education.
Unknown to many is Ayala Corporation’s 2014 tie-up with U.K.-based education and publishing company Pearson PLC. This gave birth to the firm’s Affordable Private Education Center Schools or APEC Schools which offer top-notch education at an affordable price.
It invested in a digital future at the right time.
Aside from its investment in MedGrocer, perhaps what excited many consumers in the country was Ayala Corporation’s investment in online fashion retailer Zalora back in the year 2017—a 49 percent stake, to be precise. At present, a semi-automated sorting facility is in the works to strengthen Zalora’s logistics and will be up and running by next year, according to Business Mirror.
It continues to be at the forefront of sustainability.
Ayala Corporation has a laundry list of achievements that serve the people and the planet, but one recent development is the Ayala Sustainability Blueprint, which ultimately addresses the UN Sustainable Development Goals. CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala shared in the UN Global Compact Network Philippines and GRI Sustainability Summit, “It has become clear to us that businesses cannot operate in a vacuum, linked only to communities through the investments they make, and the products and services they generate.”
It has been recognized as one of the country’s best corporations in many aspects.
Year after year, the corporation bags various awards that highlight its strengths. It was named the best-managed company in the Philippines by FinanceAsia numerous times. Last year, eight Ayala companies were among the top-performing as ranked by the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD). Ayala Corporation continues to be one of the top 30 companies in the Philippines Stock Exchange Composite Index, which is no wonder it was included on Forbes’ list of the world’s largest companies.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountry.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.