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Thursday, 3 January 2013

CapitaLand to reassess investments in India, Mideast and London

CW8888: Change of CEO. Change of strategies.
SINGAPORE: Southeast Asia's largest property developer CapitaLand is reassessing its investments in India, Middle East and London.

The company may divest some of its investments in office, commercial and residential properties in these three locations.

CapitaLand says it now plans to focus on Singapore and China markets.

Making his first major move since taking over the helm at CapitaLand, new President and Group CEO Lim Ming Yan has realigned the corporate structure.

This, the company says, is to sharpen its focus on key markets.

The Group will be simplified into four main business units - CapitaLand Singapore, CapitaLand China, CapitaMalls Asia (CMA) and The Ascott.

The CapitaLand Singapore unit will be headed by Wen Khai Meng, currently chief executive of CapitaLand Financial, while CapitaLand China will continue to be helmed by Jason Leow, chief executive of CapitaLand China Holdings.

Lim Ming Yan, President and Group CEO of CapitaLand, said: "There will be some things we have to change as we move forward. I think this is more to position CapitaLand for the future, where China will play a very significant role in this part of the world and also Singapore increasingly becoming a hub for Asia."

Analysts say the move has made it easier for investors to understand the company better.
Eli Lee, Investment Analyst at OCBC Investment Research, said: "This is a great move they made. Over the years, CapitaLand has grown organically and one common feedback, while it has pursued many avenues of growth in different markets, it has became sort of unwieldy and difficult to understand."

As part of the move, non value-added investments will come under review.

This may include selling their properties in London, the Middle East and India.

The property company is also planning to conduct a strategic review of its 59 per cent stake in Australand.

But, projects in Malaysia will stay put and placed under the portfolio of CapitaLand Singapore.

Their serviced apartment operator Ascott and mall owner CapitaMalls Asia will also continue their presence in UK and India respectively.

Lim Ming Yan added: "Whatever we do in GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) is not going to add a lot of value to Singapore and China, and also similarly we can't add a lot of our presence in GCC. So, having one office building in London is not going to add a lot of value of whatever we are doing here.

He said what is most important is to realise that investments are "put into something, somewhere that it can help us grow our business".

CapitaLand has two properties in the Gulf states and an office building in London which are all owned through joint ventures.

But its property in India is wholly-owned by the company.

The company has also appointed current chief investment officer Olivier Lim as group deputy CEO.

- CNA/de

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