Eco World Investment Co Ltd, a private vehicle chaired by Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin has set an international milestone with its plans to launch London property projects within the next two years now that “the major approvals” are all set.
The three projects located at London City Island, Embassy Gardens and Wardian London, have a total gross development value (GDV) of £2.257bil (RM13.33bil).
Eco World International executive vice-chairman Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin said that they have secured a financing package of £1.1bil for the development of the three projects from CIMB Bank Bhd and Maybank Investment Bank Bhd.
Liew also added that they had been building up their customer base and momentum before launching their projects.
“Most of the units are expected to be sold prior to the launches,” Liew said.
Liew spoke to reporters after formalizing a partnership with English National Ballet, one of UK’s most treasured artistic institutions. It reflected a strong demand in London City Island Phase 2, which currently achieved 84% take-up rate with firm bookings of the 419 units within several weeks after its official May 30 launch.
Eco World Ballymore recorded to-date, a strong sales value for Phase 2 about £210mil.
Eco World Ballymore is a 75:25 joint-venture company between Eco World Investment and UK-based Ballymore group. Eco World Investment holds the majority stake. Liew is also Eco World Ballymore chairperson.
Meanwhile, the English National Ballet will be moving to London City Island.
The decision that English National Ballet and English National Ballet School made to move to London City Island from their current space in Kensington was a testimony to the cultural vibrancy and ever-expanding arts scene of East London, Liew said.
It adds up to the unique opportunity supported by Eco World Ballymore to work together in birthing a center that combines production space with state-of-the-art training facilities, teaching and rehearsal studios that is above par in the capital.
Sean Mulryan, chairman and group chief executive of Ballymore group said: “This partnership demonstrates our deep commitment to establishing City Island as one of the most exciting new destinations in London and we are honored that English National Ballet, a truly inspiring artistic institution, has decided to make its new permanent home there.”
The results of the harmonious partnership with English National Ballet, a new 80m bridge that links London City Island and Canning Town was unveiled.
On its other projects, Liew said the preview for the Embassy Garden project was set for next week while it scheduled its official launch at September.
Liew said the company had expected Malaysians to make up only about 10% of buyers for its three London projects while the rest to be international buyers.
He was surprised by the overwhelming response by Malaysians.
Eco World Development Bhd senior manager in international business Foo Yuk Meng said; “Phase 2 London City Island project sales comprised 25% Malaysians who made firm bookings, another 25% were by Singaporean buyers.”
Eco World International president and chief executive officer Datuk Teow Leong Seng also noted that the weakening of the ringgit would not affect Eco World International as its bank borrowings are in pound sterling.
In addition, Liew said he aimed to have Eco World International listed by the first quarter of next year. The company is seeking a direct IPO market capitalization listing on Bursa Malaysia after withdrawing its special-purpose acquisition company application.
Eco World International will then be able to share the Eco World brand with Eco World Development Group Bhd, which builds properties in Malaysia.
“We will then be able to give a familiar brand to our investors for Eco World International’s overseas project.