KUALA LUMPUR (May 30): S P Setia Bhd, which is targeting sales of RM4 billion for its financial year 2012 ending Oct 31, hopes to see at least 50% of its sales from abroad within five years.
"We want to be an international property player, not just a regional property player," said president and CEO Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin at a press conference at Invest Malaysia 2012 on Tuesday.
Given Malaysia's relatively small population base, Liew said S P Setia has no choice but to expand overseas via two strategies.
The first, he said, is by transplanting its core township development competencies to other countries in the region like Vietnam and China which have sizeable populations and expectation of rapid economic growth.
The second is by venturing into high yielding mature markets such as Singapore, Melbourne in Australia, and London in the UK.
"There is a huge pool of Malaysians that want to invest overseas," he said.
In 2011, S P Setia expanded its business to Australia with the launch of Fulton Lane in Melbourne. Recently it launched its maiden project in Singapore, known as 18 Woodsville.
Liew said S P Setia has two ongoing projects in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam called EcoLakes and EcoXuan.
Recently, S P Setia gained a foothold in China after sealing a deal with a Chinese party and Malaysia's Rimbunan Hijau group to jointly develop the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park. S P Setia has an effective stake of 22.05% in the joint venture.
"When we expand overseas, we not only expand our market share of the business, but we become a much better developer in Malaysia. We learn from seeing how things are done in Melbourne, Singapore, and London," he said.
S P Setia is currently looking to acquire land in London, said Liew, who added that the group is still awaiting the outcome of its bid to redevelop the Battersea Power Station site there.
S P Setia is one of the three shortlisted finalist for the redevelopment of the site. It is up against London Riverside Development Corp and Chelsea Football Club Ltd.
Liew said S P Setia has a landbank of about 4,319 acres (1,727.6ha) of which 88% are located in Malaysia. He said the landbank is sufficient to last the group for the next 10 to 15 years.
He remained confident of achieving RM4 billion sales for FY12.
Of the RM4 billion sales, Liew said S P Setia's Malaysian projects are expected to contribute about RM3.3 billion, with the remaining coming from the group's overseas projects in Vietnam, Singapore and Australia.
This story appeared in The Edge Financial Daily on May 30, 2012.