In a statement, the property developer said it had entered into a heads of agreement (HoA) to partner with the UK company with over 160 years’ history.
“After considering numerous proposals offered to us we are delighted to be partnering with a company of the experience and stature of Willmott Dixon in a deal that potentially expands our presence in the UK to four times our current size,” said EWI executive vice chairman Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin.
Apart from growing its development pipeline substantially, the announcement will also enable EcoWorld International to gain substantial local market share due to the location of the projects and the nature and affordable price points of the developments proposed.
EWI president and chief executive officer Datuk Teow Leong Seng said the long-term goal was for EWI to be a truly international developer with a strong local presence and customer following in the UK similar to what the EcoWorld brand enjoyed in Malaysia today.
“Apart from the acquisition of a 70% interest in the project sites, we will also be acquiring a 70% interest in Wilmott Dixon’s development management arm with full multi-disciplinary team of highly experienced personnel. This will provide us with a strong pool of talent and manpower resources to bring our UK business to greater heights going forward,” he added.
The heads of agreement, which is still subject to EWI’s board approval, will potentially see the acquisition by EWI of 70% interest in Wilmott Dixon’s residential development business, held under Be Living.
EWI said subject to agreement on final terms, the proposed acquisition was expected to be formalised in December and had the potential to increase EWI’s total presence in the UK fourfold by giving it access to a sizeable land bank of about 6,700 residential units with a total gross development value (GDV) of at least £2.5bil (RM13.9bil).
According to the company, there is also a framework agreement in place for the development of a further 1,500 units of which the GDV is too early to determine.
“This will add circa 8,200 units in addition to the EWI group’s current Prime Central London land bank of circa 2,500 residential units which is being developed under its existing joint venture with Ballymore,” EWI said.
“More importantly, the proposed acquisition will enable EcoWorld International to enter an extensive part of the popular London property market, including projects in Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Brent, Bromley, Ealing, Hounslow, Lambeth, Tower Hamlets and Westminster, all of which are a short commute from Central London and international airports.
“It also includes one project outside of London in Woking, a busy commercial town, with a rapidly expanding artistic and cultural life within 25 minutes of Central London and close to London Heathrow.”
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