Seizing Opportunities

Mr Loh Chin Hua, CEO of Keppel Corporation and Chairman of Keppel Land, presented the Keppel Group’s strategic developments and performance at Keppel Corporation’s 3Q and 9M 2017 results webcast on 19 October 2017. Across Borders reproduces highlights of his speech on the property business as well as the collaboration between Keppel Land and Keppel Urban Solutions, a new business unit, for Saigon Sports City in Vietnam.

“It has been an active quarter for the Keppel Group as we worked hard to both deliver our projects, and hunt as a pack for growth opportunities, leveraging our competencies and track record as a solutions provider for sustainable urbanisation.

For the first nine months of 2017, our Property Division turned in a net profit of S$398 million, higher than the S$355 million achieved over the same period last year.

Keppel Land has been actively recycling assets to seek higher returns, and rebalancing its portfolio by scaling up in selected high-growth cities where it has an established track record and strong teams.

Keppel Land has made divestments totalling S$400 million this year. Last month, Keppel Land China completed the divestment of its stake in the development company for the Waterfront Residences in Nantong, yielding a net divestment gain of about RMB 369 million (approximately S$79 million). As land prices have risen rapidly in China, Keppel Land is prepared to divest land or development companies, if this can give us the best risk-adjusted returns. Earlier in the year, Keppel Land also divested its stake in the joint venture company developing a prime site in Surabaya’s CBD.

Seizing opportunities in the region, Keppel Land has made acquisitions totalling about S$850 million year to date. In this quarter, we secured well-located residential sites in Singapore and Jakarta, where we will leverage our experience and reputation to meet the demand for quality homes. These were in addition to the joint acquisition of a mixed-use development, SOHO Hongkou, in Shanghai by Keppel Land and Alpha Investment Partners, as well as Keppel Land’s increased stake in Saigon Centre in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) earlier this year.

On home sales, Keppel Land sold about 3,790 homes in the first nine months of 2017, about 8% higher than the 3,510 homes we sold in the same period last year. We achieved a total sales value of about S$2 billion, compared to S$1.6 billion over the same period last year.

On the whole, home sales have improved in Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia, but were lower in China due to the Chinese government’s tightening measures. We sold about 2,380 homes in China, lower than the 2,940 units over the same period last year. In Vietnam, we sold 1,010 homes, four times the units sold year-on-year. Over in Indonesia, on the back of more positive sentiments, we sold 95 units at West Vista in Jakarta.

Meanwhile, in Singapore, our home sales held steady with 300 units sold, comparable to the number of homes we sold over the same period last year. The Glades has been fully sold out, ahead of the ABSD deadline, and we have also seen strong demand for our other projects in Singapore.

We expect profit from some 6,330 units of overseas homes sold to be recognised upon completion from 4Q 2017 through to 2019. The total sales value of these homes is about S$2 billion.

In our residential portfolio, we have a pipeline of about 62,000 homes, of which about 16,700 units are ready for launch from now till end-2019.

On our commercial portfolio, we have a combined office and retail GFA of about 1.5 million sm. This comprises about 500,000 sm in completed projects and about 970,000 sm under development. The completed commercial assets currently generate recurring income of about S$20 million per annum. We expect income for the completed commercial portfolio to rise to about S$75 illion per annum when the lease-up for the assets has stabilised.

Saigon Sports City is envisaged to be a bustling hub, combining modern and sustainable urban living with vibrant and healthy lifestyles, which can be a model for other urban developments in Asia

Saigon Sports City is envisaged to be a bustling hub, combining modern and sustainable urban living with vibrant and healthy lifestyles, which can be a model for other urban developments in Asia

KEPPEL URBAN SOLUTIONS

The mega trend of rapid urbanisation is a key area where Keppel is carving a niche with our distinct suite of solutions. We have just announced that we will step up efforts to seize opportunities in this space through the establishment of a new business unit, Keppel Urban Solutions (KUS).

KUS aims to be an integrated master developer of large-scale mixed-use developments in the Asia-Pacific region. Its creation is a strategic move to harness the Keppel Group’s strengths and diverse solutions in energy, property, infrastructure and connectivity to focus on creating more efficient and vibrant smart precincts and cities of the future.

It will leverage our Group’s strong track record and experience as the master developer of several integrated urban developments, including the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park, Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City, Sino-Singapore Jinan Smart City, Jakarta Garden City, Palm City in Vietnam as well as Keppel Bay in Singapore.

KUS will be an integrator of the latest urban solutions, bringing together the Group’s capabilities to create sustainable, highly liveable and digitally-connected communities.

KUS will operate an open platform, allowing us to partner the best-in-class technology providers, such as Microsoft, to offer modern smart living applications for residents using sensing technology and the Internet of Things (IoT), and also to effectively manage infrastructure and community services.

SAIGON SPORTS CITY

For a start, KUS will collaborate with Keppel Land to apply our capabilities in the Saigon Sports City (SSC), a 64-hectare township that Keppel Land is developing in the prime District 2 in HCMC.

SSC will include iconic features such as Vietnam’s first one-stop hub for sports, entertainment and lifestyle activities, a waterfront boulevard, and an open public plaza. KUS will also incorporate the latest biophilic design principles in the development, including natural lighting and ventilation, vertical greenery and water features with natural filtration, to create a green and beautiful environment.

In addition, KUS will enter into a strategic collaboration with Microsoft to develop and provide smart urban applications for residents and businesses in SSC, using sensing technology and the IoT, as well as to effectively manage infrastructure and community services.

Our vision is for SSC to become a bustling hub, combining modern and sustainable urban living with vibrant and healthy lifestyles, which can be a model for other urban developments in Asia.”

IN CONVERSATION

Across Borders shares highlights of the Question & Answer session, where senior management addressed issues and concerns of the financial community.

Q: When do you expect to launch the upcoming project at Serangoon North Avenue 1 and when will the project be completed?

AWG: We are planning to launch the project in Serangoon North in the middle of 2018. We should be able to complete the project by 2021.

Q: Is Keppel Land intending to launch more units at Keppel Bay given the improvement in Singapore’s property sentiment? Also, are there plans to revive the redevelopment plan for Keppel Towers?

AWG: We currently have two projects in Keppel Bay where we are selling units. At Reflections, we have about 130 units left, and at Corals, we have about 110 units left.

We are still selling those units and we are also reviewing our plans to develop Plots 4 and 6.

We are also reviewing plans to redevelop Keppel Towers and will make an announcement when we decide to proceed.

Q: What are your views on the property market in China? Will the government’s tightening measures continue to put pressure on sales?

AWG: We are optimistic about the property market in China.

We believe that the uptrend will continue in the long term with continued urbanisation, increasing affluence and a growing middle class. We will continue to invest in the China market.

AWG – Mr Ang Wee Gee, CEO of Keppel Land