The property arm of Fraser & Neave, the Singapore conglomerate, has outlined plans to expand in China, Thailand and Australia, in a push that analysts say could turn it into one of the largest listed property companies in southeast Asia.
The planned expansion comes ahead of Thursday’s scheduled listing of F&N’s property unit on the Singapore exchange. CIMB, the Malaysian bank, expects the unit’s market capitalisation to be S$5.3bn (US$4.2bn), making it the fourth-largest Singapore-listed developer after Capita-Land, City Developments and Keppel Land.
The overseas expansion is the first sign of what F&N’s new owner, Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, plans for the group. He won control of the group a year ago after one of Asia’s biggest bid battles, involving Dutch brewer Heineken and a member of Indonesia’s Riady family.
The deal illustrated how some of the most ambitious businessmen in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) are flexing their financial muscles beyond their home market.
The conglomerate’s interests include a soft drinks business in Singapore and Malaysia, as well as a controlling stake in the largest brewer in Myanmar.
Lim Ee Seng, chief executive of F&N’s property arm, Frasers Centrepoint (FCL), said the company would expand its overseas portfolio to account for half of its assets within five years, up from 36 per cent. He said: “We will focus mainly on our two core overseas markets, China and Australia, while seeking to increase our exposure to Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam.”
FCL accounts for 72 per cent of F&N group pre-tax profit, and 46 per cent of revenue. It operates upmarket serviced apartments in London’s South Kensington and shopping precincts in Singapore.
Mr Lim said FCL would “explore residential and mixed-use projects” in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, as well as in some “second-tier cities” such as Wuxi, Wuhan, and Chengdu to “tap the growth in domestic consumption”.
In Australia, FCL will develop residential projects and “mixed-use urban regeneration projects”. The outlook for the residential markets in Sydney and Perth was “particularly favourable”, with Sydney benefiting from supply shortages, low vacancy rates and sustained growth in rents, Mr Lim added.
FCL’s property portfolio was valued at S$10bn at the end of the company’s fiscal full year in September, with Australia and China accounting for 16.3 per cent and 9.4 per cent of that respectively. FCL was also in talks with TCC Group, Mr Charoen’s main holding company, about setting up a real estate investment trust that could be listed in Singapore, a popular location for Reits.
Donald Chua, a CIMB analyst, said the prospect of combining FCL’s portfolio of serviced apartments, some of TCC’s 40 hotels in Asia and TCC’s office, residential and hotel holdings “could make FCL one of the largest listed property companies in southeast Asia”.
FCL’s expansion outside Singapore also comes as the property market in the city-state has weakened since the government implemented a series of cooling measures to ward off a possible property bubble.
新加坡星狮集团(Fraser & Neave)旗下房地产子公司星狮地产(Frasers Centrepoint)已拟定计划，将在中国、泰国和澳大利亚扩张。分析师称，此举可能会令其成为东南亚最大上市地产公司之一。
扩张计划的宣布，正值星狮地产上市前夕。星狮地产定于周四在新加坡交易所上市。马来西亚的联昌国际银行(CIMB)预计，该公司的市值将达到53亿新加坡元（合42亿美元），这将令其成为新加坡上市的第四大房地产开发商，仅次于凯德(CapitaLand)、城市发展(City Developments)和吉宝置地(Keppel Land)。
星狮地产首席执行官林怡胜(Lim Ee Seng)表示，该公司将在5年内将其海外投资组合占公司资产的比例从36%提高至50%。他表示：“我们将主要关注两个核心海外市场：中国和澳大利亚，同时将寻求提高在泰国、马来西亚和越南的投资。”