EWI eyeing potential in build-to-rent market

  • Property
  • Thursday, 28 Mar 2019

Confidence in BtR: Chang (left) and Teow posing after the AGM. Teow says there is a shortage of housing in Greater London.

IJOK: Despite the current chaotic political scenario in Britain, Eco World International Bhd (EWI) continues to engage with potential partners in connection with the build-to-rent (BtR) market.

President and CEO Datuk Teow Leong Seng said the company has been talking with funds from the United States, Britain and Malaysia who see potential in the BtR market due to the shortage of housing in Greater London.

“When we acquired 70% of Willmott Dixon Holdings Ltd in December 2017, later rebranded EcoWorld London, 40% of its business was already in the BtR segment.

“When institutional investor Invesco formalised the agreement in December 2018 to buy 1,084 units, it was testament of its confidence in the London as a global destination,” Teow said after the company’s AGM here yesterday.

Despite talking to other funds, Teow said its partner Invesco has first right of refusal for some of these sites. The funds are looking at some of the sites now, he said.

That first deal with Invesco took place in 2018 and was worth £389mil.

Teow said due diligence is on going.

“We are pushing hard to get some deals done this year and the next.” Teow said.

All in, EWI has a deal for 12 sites from Willmott Dixon, but has acquired eight of them.

Teow said other than the sites, EWI is also talking to other land owners on BtR sites.

“The sites are not in Central London, but in Greater London,” he said.

On the overall weak sentiment, Teow said: “If you look at the history of our acquisition, some of the sites we bought were done during a weak cycle. These are the times to get good value. “

Teow added that EWI looked forward to having a dividend policy by towards the later part of this calendar year. It’s financial year ends Oct 31 and it will be announcing it’s first quarter results tomorrow.

EWI announced a maiden profit of RM35.2mil in FY2018, versus a loss of RM87.6mil in FY2017.

It also has projects in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.

Meanwhile, Eco World Development Group Bhd expected a few good months ahead in view of the current on-going home ownership campaign.

President and CEO Datuk Chang Khim Wah said sales would pick up in view of the various perks and stamp duty waivers given during the period till June 30.

“We are concentrating on projects we have on hand instead of launching new ones,” Chang said, when asked if the company would have any launches.

The company had its AGM yesterday. He said the company has unbilled sales of RM6.4bil which would keep the company busy for the next two years.

“We are focusing on improving amenities, physical and digital connectivity and more integration at our sites,” he said.

The company has 18 ongoing projects.

On the interchange to Latar expressway, the company is still finalising that infrastructure investment.

“We have most of our approvals already,” he said.

Eco World Malaysia had RM3.1bil sales for FY2018. It targeted RM6bil sales over a two- financial year period of FY 2019 and FY 2020 for the sake of expediency in view of the 2018 change to the Pakatan Harapan government.

It will be reporting its Q1 results today.

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EWI , Eco World , Milmont Dixon , London , build to rent , property ,


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