Less than a fortnight after agreeing to sell its stake in Trafalgar House, Hongkong Land Holdings has announced a US$400 million expansion into the Philippines property market with the biggest Filipino developer. The Jardine Matheson Holdings property arm said yesterday it had signed a joint-venture deal with Ayala Land and the Bank of the Philippine Islands to develop a high-rise residential project in Manila. It is Hongkong Land's first project in the Philippines and reflects recent efforts by the group to expand into other parts of Asia. The group is the biggest commercial property landlord in Hong Kong's Central business district but has not expanded in any meaningful way outside the territory other than in Vietnam. Ayala is owned by Ayala Corp, the Philippines' oldest conglomerate, which owns 42 per cent of the Bank of the Philippine Islands, the country's fourth largest bank. Hongkong Land will hold a 40 per cent stake in the venture, Ayala 50 per cent and the Bank of the Philippine Islands 10 per cent. The plan is to build 372 luxury flats in two phases by early 2001.