Property giant Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) has embarked on the cold storage business with the acquisition of an existing operator in Laguna Technopark, thereby embracing a sector that has emerged to be highly in demand especially given the sensitive logistical requirements of coronavirus vaccines.

ALI-led AyalaLand Logistics Holdings Corp. (ALLHC) acquired Technofreeze, a cold storage facility, along with the 11,800-square meter parcel of land on which the facility stood. In total, the acquisition will amount to P408.8 million, ALLHC disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

ALLHC described Technofreeze as an “established cold storage facility in Laguna with proven track record of serving companies with diverse products such as processed meat products, dairy and ice cream, and adhesives.”

The group will assume ownership of the existing operating facility, which will be folded under ALLHC’s cold storage brand, “ALogis Artico.”

The facility includes 17 cold storage rooms with up to -25 degrees Celsius with 4,000 pallet positions, three processing rooms with an adjustable temperature of 0 to 25 degrees Celsius, four dry storage rooms with 1,600 pallet positions, two blast freezers with a combined capacity of 25 tons, and several office spaces. This has been accredited by the Department of Agriculture to cater to products like fruits and vegetables and likewise, meat, fisheries and aquatic products.

ALogis Artico Biñan is located in the 471-hectare Laguna Technopark, one of ALLHC’s premier industrial estates spanning the cities of Sta. Rosa and Biñan. It is accessible via the South Luzon Expressway, about six kilometers away from the facility.

“This cold storage facility will complement the warehouse leasing business of the group,” ALLHC said.

“The transaction supports ALLHC’s vision to be the leading real estate logistics and industrial parks developer and operator in the Philippines,” it added.

On top of food storage requirements, local cold storage systems are highly in demand at this time, especially with the forthcoming rollout of temperature-sensitive COVID-19 vaccines developed in the United States.

The Pfizer vaccine, for instance, must be refrigerated at vials in 2-8 degrees Celsius conditions and cannot be refrozen. The Moderna vaccine, on the other hand, require storage temperature of between -25 and -15 degrees Celsius.

Shares of ALLHC went up by 8.22 percent to close at P3.29 per share at the local stock market on Wednesday, giving it a market capitalization of about P19.2 billion. — Doris Dumlao-Abadilla