KUALA LUMPUR: Eco World Development Group Bhd associate Eco World Sydney Development Pty Ltd will develop a 300-unit residential project in Paramatta, Sydney, in Australia.
Group president and chief executive officer Datuk Chang Khim Wah said the project, known as West Village, will sit on a one-acre (0.4ha) plot of land with a gross development value (GDV) of A$300 million (RM866.92 million).
“This development will feature mainly apartments and will be launched sometime in the middle of this year,” he told reporters after the opening of the Red Carpet Bridge within the group’s Eco Majestic township in Semenyih, Selangor, yesterday.
Eco World Sydney is intended to be part of Eco World International (EWI), the special purpose acquisition company (Spac) that will be headed by Eco World chairman Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin and senior management members Datuk Teow Leong Seng and Datuk Heah Kok Boon.
The Spac is seeking listing, and is currently awaiting the decision of the Securities Commission Malaysia on the matter.
This will be Eco World’s (fundamental: 0.5; valuation: 0.3) second foray into the international markets, following its joint venture with Ballymore Group to develop three large-scale residential projects in London with a combined GDV of £2.2 billion (RM12.03 billion). The development is being undertaken by another private vehicle, Eco World Investment Co Ltd, which is controlled by Liew and Eco World executive director Datuk Voon Tin Yow.
Meanwhile, Eco Majestic is expected to complete its first phase comprising 615 units by mid-2016. Chang said 4,000 affordable apartment units, starting from RM42,000 each, will be launched this year within the Eco Majestic development.
On the outlook for Eco World, Chang said he is still optimistic about the group’s prospects despite the more challenging environment.
“All our projects are very well located. We feel it will still do quite well, since we have the accessibility, the location and a surrounding population, so we work hard to come up with concepts to suit the lifestyle and provide commercial activity for the residents [within the townships],” he said.
Chang said the group’s sales target of RM7 billion for FY15 and FY16 still remains.
For its first quarter ended January of financial year 2015 (1QFY15), Eco World posted a net profit of RM3.06 million on revenue of RM158.03 million, primarily due to contributions from Eco Majestic and Eco Sky in the Klang Valley, and Eco Botanic and Eco Business Park 1 in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor.
The group intends to launch four new projects in the upcoming months of FY15 — Eco Sanctuary in Shah Alam, Selangor, Eco Terraces in Penang, and Eco Tropics and Eco Business Park III in Iskandar Malaysia.
At the close of trading yesterday, Eco World’s shares were three sen lower at RM1.94, with a market capitalisation of RM3.9 billion.
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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on March 26, 2015.