Even as the group continues to grow its global real estate portfolio, group CEO Panote Sirivadhanabhakdi reaffirms that Singapore remains a core market.

Since taking the helm as group CEO of Singapore-listed property group Frasers Centrepoint in October 2016, Panote Sirivadhanabhakdi has moved his family to the city state. “I spend 40% to 50% of my time in Singapore,” says Panote, 39, at a press conference a fortnight ago. The rest of his time is spent shuttling across Australia, Europe and Thailand, the group’s three other markets.

Panote is the youngest son of Thai magnate Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, who is ranked by Forbes as the second-richest in the country, with a net worth of US$19.9 billion ($26 billion). Charoen controls Thai Beverage, Thailand’s largest brewer, famous for its Chang beer and Sang Som rum, as well as his privately held property firm TCC Land.

 

Panote: Real estate is about creating spaces where people can thrive, building communities and shaping lives

 

In 2013, Charoen’s TCC Assets took over Singapore’s Fraser and Neave, which valued the conglomerate with beverage, property and publishing businesses at $13.7 billion. It was considered the biggest takeover in Singapore’s corporate history. A year later, the property arm was relisted on the Singapore Exchange as Frasers Centrepoint, after being delisted in 2002.

Portfolio rebalancing

Frasers Centrepoint, which had a market capitalisation of $6.26 billion at market close on Jan 31, will be renamed Frasers Property on Feb 1. Together with its subsidiaries, Frasers Property had total assets under management worth $27 billion as at end-September 2017, which is more than double the $10.7 billion in 2012. This includes its three listed real estate investment trusts on the Singapore Exchange and a stapled trust. Frasers Property also acquired Australian property group Australand in 2014, and renamed it Frasers Property the following year. The acquisition helped establish Australia as a second core market for the group.

According to Panote, the rebranding of Frasers Centrepoint to Frasers Property is part of an “ongoing initiative” to transform the group. “All our development businesses, retail, commercial and business parks as well as logistics and industrial properties around the world will operate under one brand — Frasers Property,” he adds.

Frasers Property’s real estate portfolio has been reshaped over the past five years, with more than half of it located outside Singapore today. With greater geographical diversification, the group will be able to strengthen its income base and improve capital productivity, says Panote. It will also help the group weather the different property market cycles and achieve a more balanced income stream, he adds. Frasers Property has a global headcount of 5,500 people across the world today.

Growing global footprint

Last year, Frasers Property acquired a 99.45% stake in Netherlands-headquartered Geneba Properties and a 40.95% stake in Thailand-headquartered TICON Industrial Connection Public Co. In September, the group purchased four business parks in the UK. It also recently announced the proposed acquisitions of a fifth business park in the UK through a 50:50 joint venture with Frasers Commercial Trust, and six cross-dock facilities in Germany.

 

Frasers Property and Charoen’s TCC Group are jointly developing the US$3.5 billion One Bangkok

 

In Bangkok, Frasers Property and Charoen’s TCC Group are jointly developing the US$3.5 billion One Bangkok, a giant mixed-use scheme with office towers, condominium towers and shopping malls on a 16.7ha site. It is considered the largest mixed-use development in Thailand, says Panote, and this is in line with Frasers Property’s mixed-use schemes in other major cities, such as Central Park in Sydney and Northpoint City in Singapore.

 

Frasers Property’s mixed-use schemes include Central Park in Sydney and Northpoint City in Singapore

 

Singapore continues to be a core market for Frasers Property, though. In December, the group paid $955.4 million ($1,733 psf ppr) for the former Zouk site on Jiak Kim Street. The 99-year leasehold site of 145,117 sq ft can be developed into a new 36-storey, 525-unit residential development with commercial units on the first level. Located in the Robertson Quay area in prime District 9, the site has premium frontage on the Singapore River. According to Panote, the group will continue to bid selectively for sites.

The new development on Jiak Kim Street is expected to be launched later this year.

 

In December, Frasers Property paid $955.4 million ($1,733 psf ppr) for the former Zouk site on Jiak Kim Street

 

‘Transforming cityscape’

Existing residential developments by Frasers Property in Singapore include the 628-unit Parc Life executive condo in Sembawang; the 920- unit North Park Residences, which sits on top of Northpoint City; and Seaside Residences.

Completed in 4Q2017, Northpoint City is considered Singapore’s largest mall in the north, with more than 400 retail and dining options. It is part of the 1.33 million sq ft Northpoint City integrated development, which includes North Park Residences, an air-conditioned bus interchange and an underground-link mall to Yishun MRT station. The development includes the Nee Soon Central Community Club and the Yishun Public Library.

 

The 920-unit North Park Residences is fully sold

 

Meanwhile, the 841-unit Seaside Residences was launched last April. It is a joint development between Frasers Property and construction company Keong Hong as well as Japanese developer Sekisui House. Seaside Residences is about 70% sold, with a median sale price of $1,747 psf in December 2017.

 

Seaside Residences is about 70% sold, less than a year after its launch

 

Panote sees Frasers Property making a difference in major cities and transforming the cityscape. “For us, real estate is more than bricks and mortar; it is about creating spaces where people can thrive,” he says. “It’s about building communities and shaping lives.”