An artist’s impression of the £566 million Wardian London. Photo by Wardianlondon.com
ECO World International Bhd’s (EWI) 75:25 joint venture with Irish property developer Ballymore Group is a step closer to completing its Wardian London project, which has a gross development value of £566 million. The project is adjacent to Canary Wharf.
EWI executive vice-chairman Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin says Eco World Ballymore Holding Co Ltd is on track to hand over the units early next year.
“The take-up rate for the project is 84% to date. Out of 764 units launched, 640 units worth a combined £441 million have been sold,” Liew told Malaysian journalists at the topping out ceremony in London last Thursday.
“The private balcony garden for every unit, within an urban financial centre, will provide a distinctive appeal. Wardian is less than 15 minutes to Central London on the Jubilee line,” he added.
According to Liew, there is a shortage of residential properties at Canary Wharf. “We were lucky to be able to sell Wardian together with some other projects way before Brexit hit. We have sold over 84% of the projects here … We are home free.”
He still sees potential in the London property market despite Brexit. “We see this year’s sales in the UK doubling for the segment below £800 psf. There is a shortage of homes in London. Brexit is scaring away the foreigners but the locals are still buying.”
Sean Mulryan, chairman and group CEO of Ballymore Group, said Ballymore has owned the site on which Wardian now stands for 25 years.
“So, it brings me great joy to see these two beautiful new towers standing on what has been such an underutilised space for so long. This is a huge milestone for the development and we cannot wait to see the first units completed and the first residents moving in early next year,” he said.
Wardian London comprises two residential towers of 55 and 50 storeys, offering 766 homes including suites, one and two-bedroom apartments (measuring 500 to 1,100 sq ft) and penthouses (1,600 to 1,800 sq ft). Overlooking the South Dock and adjacent to Canary Wharf, these units are priced at £1,200 psf on average.
The completion method of earnings recognition is used for open market sales in the UK, so, EWI will be able to recognise the earnings from Wardian once it is completed and handed over.
Liew said EWI is on track to record a higher profit in the second half of its financial year ending Oct 31 (2HFY2019), compared with 1HFY2019.
For 1HFY2019, EWI returned to the black, registering a net profit of RM10.77 million, compared with a net loss of RM36.6 million a year ago.
This is based on the targeted handovers of several additional residential blocks in the next few months, mainly its London City Island and Embassy Gardens projects in the UK, which will enable the profits from these sales to be recognised in the upcoming quarters of FY2019. For the first seven months of 2019, EWI recorded sales of RM586 million.
As at April 30, EWI had delivered 608 private units to the purchasers — the bulk of which took place in 4QFY2018 and 1QFY2019.
“On the financial front, we are also expecting much better results for 2HFY2019. With several large residential blocks due to be handed over within the next few months, we should be able to recognise the profits from these units sold in 2HFY2019,” EWI president and CEO Datuk Teow Leong Seng said.
EWI posted a net loss in 2QFY2019 due to the completion method of earnings recognition adopted in the UK. However, its net loss narrowed to RM12 million from RM26 million in 2QFY2018.
EWI has projects with GDV totalling RM25 billion. It has 11 ongoing projects, of which nine are in London and two in Australia, as well as three upcoming projects in both countries. It also has plans to acquire another two sites in London.
EWI also launched its [email protected] Bridge project in London last Thursday. The residential development — that came about from the redevelopment of Brentford FC stadium — has a GDV of £579 million.
The open market sale project comprises 96 units with built-ups of 550 to 1,000 sq ft. Priced at £750 psf on average, the units are scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of FY2022.
Verdo also has a built-to-rent (BtR) project with 487 apartments which have been sold to Invesco Real Estate last December. EWI is targeting to have 10,000 BtR units in five years.