She MEANs business: Ayala Land CEO unveils ambitious plans to develop 4,000 hectares in five years

She MEANs business: Ayala Land CEO unveils ambitious plans to develop 4,000 hectares in five years


By Ian C. Sayson

Ana Margarita Dy, the first woman to lead Ayala Land Inc., is drawing on the company’s rich heritage in constructing luxury projects and catering to affluent customers to expand the Zobel family’s property portfolio.



In her first meeting with shareholders, Dy expressed her vision for Ayala Land, emphasizing bold dreams and ambitions rooted in the solid footing of the property giant’s businesses.

“We didn’t need to look far to discern what these bold dreams could be,” said Dy, who assumed the role of CEO in October. “We simply needed to examine Ayala Land at its core: the gold standard in property development in the Philippines.”


Dy, 54, has taken over Ayala Land’s stewardship from Bobby Dy, who served for 26 years and left a track record that is tough to follow. During the nine years that Bobby Dy was president and CEO, Ayala Land crafted and initiated a 20-year development plan through 2040, which doubled the asset base to P800 billion and almost tripled profit to P33.2 billion in 2019. Under his leadership, the stock price climbed 84 percent, outperforming the benchmark index’s gain of 33 percent.

She addressed every aspect of Ayala Land’s operations: elevating standards in luxury residential living, preparing to introduce middle-income housing once interest rates ease, constructing offices in prime locations tailored to promote collaboration with BPO tenants, implementing a P13 billion upgrade for its flagship shopping malls, and undertaking a comprehensive overhaul of its resorts and hotels with a budget of P5.5 billion.

A core component of Dy’s strategy, which she describes as transformative and set to redefine industry norms, is an ambitious target to develop 4,000 hectares of Ayala Land’s landbank within five years. This development will provide a sustainable and long-term growth trajectory for Ayala Land, which serves as the foundation of the Zobel family’s wealth. However, it faces stiff competition from rivals such as SM Prime Holdings Inc. and Megaworld Corp.

“This is a sound strategy, considering that interest rates will eventually go down, ” said Noel Reyes, chief investment officer at Security Bank. “Ayala Land is leveraging its expertise in the luxury and affluent market while positioning itself to capture the middle-income demand once the market adjusts following the unwinding of the higher-for-longer rate environment.”

Dy has committed to developing 800 hectares per year, which is more than twice the 360 hectares that its bigger rival, SM Prime (the property arm of the Sy family), is reclaiming along Manila Bay.


By the time SM Prime completes its $3 billion reclamation project in 2028, Dy will have 4,000 hectares of newly developed land inventory. While these developments span across the country, they provide Ayala Land with properties to position against the Manila project.

Ian Garcia, research head at AP Securities Inc., said “Dy is building on Ayala Land’s strength in the luxury market and affluent sectors, which sets it apart from its rivals.”

Ayala Land will develop estates within these 4,000 hectares, providing the company with a stream of projects for its product lines, which include residential properties, shopping malls, offices, hotels, and industrial parks.

‘Her move to expand Ayala Land’s presence in the provinces through estate development signals where growth will come from, even as Manila remains a key property market,” Garcia added.

Out of the P91 billion worth of projects Ayala Land has launched for the year, Dy said that 73 percent of them are in the builder’s estates. She said the company has, so far, introduced P38.4 billion worth of residential, commercial, and industrial horizontal products, which accounts for 42% of the total product launches.

“Our land bank is a strategic asset supporting our growth aspirations. It comprises carefully selected parcels based on their accessible locations to anticipated transportation and infrastructure projects, most of which are now coming to fruition,” the 35-year-old builder said.

Last year, Ayala Land introduced four new estates to the market: the 55-hectare Batangas Technopark in Padre Garcia; the 32-hectare Centrala in Angeles City, Pampanga; the 789-hectare Southmont in Silang, Cavite; and the 62-hectare Arillo in Nasugbu, Batangas.

Dy was promoted executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2023 and has been a member of the management committee since 2008, preparing her for the stewardship of Ayala Land, the foundation of the Zobel family’s wealth.

She also has impressive academic credentials, further preparing her for the task ahead. She graduated magna cum laude from Ateneo De Manila University with a degree in Economics, holds a master’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and completed an MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.

“Meean has been a vital pillar in Ayala Land for many years,’ according to Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, the clan’s leader, who refers to the newly minted CEO by her nickname.

” Her success with our estates group and, more recently, with the residential and malls groups has been crucial in maintaining Ayala Land’s strong brand,’ Zobel told shareholders. “We look forward to working with her on this next chapter for Ayala Land.”






Tags: AyalaLand Real Estate