Tycoon Andrew Tan-led Megaworld Corp. posted a 9 percent year-on-year decline in attributable net profit to P3.5 billion in the first quarter amid challenges arising from the eruption of Taal volcano and the lockdown measures spurred by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

To conserve cash during this challenging period, Megaworld will slash capital spending this year to P36 billion from P60 billion, Megaworld disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday.

“Our real estate sales still helped mitigate the impact of the challenges we faced during the quarter. Our office portfolio, which remains very attractive to locators because they are mostly PEZA (Philippine Economic Zone Authority)-accredited, provided a buffer against the expected weakness of our mall and hotel operations. We keep an eye on effective strategies that will cushion the impact of these challenges for the rest of the year,” said Kevin Tan, chief strategy officer at Megaworld.

In the coming weeks, Megaworld aims to roll out digital platforms aimed at “enhancing customer experience” under the so-called “new reality.”

Megaworld Hotels, for example, is launching its e-Concierge, a mobile application that allows guests to have contactless interaction with hotel staff from check-in to check-out, including virtual ordering of food from various food and beverage outlets inside the hotels.

“Our e-commerce platforms will give our customers the convenience and comfort that they need as we take their safety and well-being to a whole new level. We will also do the same for our mall customers, which will also greatly help our retail tenants,” Tan said.

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