markets

Singapore Property Rebound Has Frasers' CEO Chasing More Land

  • Developer last year paid record price for residential site
  • Home prices have risen past two quarters, ending 4-year slide
Panote Sirivadhanabhakdi Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Singapore’s property rebound has the son of Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi chasing more land in the city-state, adding to signs the market is emerging from a four-year slump.

Frasers Property Ltd. in December paid S$955.4 million ($727 million) for a residential site near the Singapore River, a record on a per-square foot basis at a government sale. Chief Executive Officer Panote Sirivadhanabhakdi said his firm is still on the lookout for more land in the city.

“It’s a big appetite that we have taken on,” Sirivadhanabhakdi said last week at a press conference marking the company’s name-change from Frasers Centrepoint Ltd. The developer will “continue to see what we can participate in the bidding,” he said.

Singapore developers have been aggressively bidding for land as rising apartment sales and prices signal an end to a four-year downturn. Private residential prices rose for a second straight quarter in the three months ended Dec. 31. Still, the country’s central bank has warned that rising vacancies and slowing population growth may undermine a residential property recovery.

Hot Land Deals

Singapore residential and commercial land has fetched record prices

Source: Bloomberg, brokers

“Singapore is still our home ground, Australia is a natural second base for us, Europe and Thailand continue to be strong,” Sirivadhanabhakdi said.

Sirivadhanabhakdi said the Singapore-listed company’s “biggest task” for 2018 is to digest its recent growth. The firm’s assets have more than doubled in the past four years, driven by acquisitions from Australia to the U.K. and Germany.

“I can’t say that we can continue to sustain it, but at least I know that we can be a stronger group when we come together” under the Frasers Property banner.

Frasers’ shares have risen 2.9 percent this year, after surging 32 percent last year.

On his company’s strategy, Sirivadhanabhakdi said:

  • REITs have become a strategic vehicle with potential to expand
  • China previously accounted for as much as 30 percent of sales but this is unsustainable amid slowing economic growth
  • Groundbreaking on One Bangkok will take place this year. The development is in the final stages of an approval process for environmental standards; first phase to open late 2021 or early 2022.
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