Malaysian firm swoops on Willmott Dixon resi division

Grant Prior 2 weeks ago
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Willmott Dixon has agreed to sell a 70% stake in its London-based residential development business Be Living to Malaysian property developer EcoWorld International.

The acquisition is expected to complete next month.

The deal will increase EcoWorld International’s presence in the UK fourfold by giving it access to a sizeable land bank of 6,700 mainstream residential units with a project Gross Development Value of at least £2.5bn.

The new partnership will enable EcoWorld International to have a presence in areas including Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Brent, Bromley, Ealing, Hounslow, Lambeth, Tower Hamlets and Westminster together with one major project outside London, in Woking, Surrey.

Be Living and EcoWorld International now hope to play a key role in building more affordable housing and Build to Rent schemes.

Rick Willmott, Chief Executive of Willmott Dixon, said: “The proposed investment, by EcoWorld International, is the culmination of our long-term strategy to inject additional capital to support Be Living’s growth plans as a stand-alone business following its demerger from Willmott Dixon last year.

“EcoWorld International is a great fit for Be, both culturally and in its ambition.

“The company shares our focus on high-quality residential developments that create a sense of place and legacy, and our ability to accelerate the delivery of housing on regeneration sites by combining homes for rent with private sale was also a key attraction for EcoWorld International.

“This investment will take Be Living forward to its next stage of growth and we look forward to developing a successful long term partnership with EcoWorld once this transaction is concluded.”

Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Liew Kee Sin, Executive Vice Chairman of EcoWorld International, said: “EcoWorld International sees great potential in the UK market and this deal shows our ambition to further grow our business here.

“Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to supporting the UK’s efforts to address the housing shortage across London and the South East of England and underlines our ambition to play a positive and sustainable role in the UK market.

“We are responding to the government’s call to provide more quality homes that an average income earner is able to afford. We are also delighted to be partnering in this venture with a company of the experience and stature of Willmott Dixon.

“We strongly believe that our shared values and complementary strengths will enable us to build a highly successful development business together that is able to serve the needs of both the local market and the broader international audience that calls London home.”

 

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