Keppel Land steady in a rocky market

Linson Lim, president of Keppel Land Vietnam Co. Ltd, (Keppel Land) has affirmed the company’s commitment to fulfill all of its licenced property projects in Vietnam despite the market’s current volatility.

Which achievements has Keppel Land achieved in Vietnam to date?

Building on a growing relationship that that spans more than two decades, Keppel Land is one of the largest foreign real estate investors in Vietnam. Named the Best Developer in Vietnam in 2010 by Euromoney, a leading global financial magazine, Keppel Land has a quality portfolio of properties in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai and Vung Tau including Grade A offices, award-winning serviced apartments, residential properties and integrated townships.

To-date, Keppel Land has 17 projects in Vietnam with a total investment capital of almost $2 billion and a pipeline of about 22,000 homes.

At this time, in Ho Chi Minh City, we have also launched the first phase of the 2,400 units at Riviera Point in District 7, the 1,393 unit high-end condominium development at The Estella in District 2 and 96 resort-style-villas at Riviera Cove fronting the Rach Chiec River.

Recently, we have partnered with SOWATCO and RESCO to commence on the second phase of the highly-anticipated Saigon Centre. We believe the development will be a showcase that will position Ho Chi Minh City as a coveted live-work-and-play city, as well as reflect the development expertise and brand name of Keppel Land.

What are the differences between the new one and the current Saigon Centre’s first phase?
Situated at 65 Le Loi Boulevard, Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1, Saigon Centre’s first phase is a 25-storey tower which has established itself as the preferred shopping destination and business address in the city.

Saigon Centre’s second phase, designed by the internationally renowned architect, NBBJ, will feature a 45-storey complex with seven levels of retail and dining spaces spreading across 50,000 square metres, 40,000sqm of premium Grade A office space and over 200 units of luxury serviced apartments.

Saigon Centre’s second phase would also be professionally managed by Keppel Land, having international standard quality with modern, sustainable and environmental-friendly features. Tenants can also look forward to larger office space in the new phase of development.

Why did Keppel Land start the Saigon Centre’s second phase when Ho Chi Minh City’s office and retail markets are in danger of oversupply pressures?

For Keppel Land and our joint venture partners, we believe in the long-term potential of Vietnam. This is an opportune time to construct the next phase of this development. Although there are some challenges at this moment, we believe the government is taking actions to address these challenges and over the next few years, the market will turn around.

By then, we will have buildings ready. Multinational companies who are here are also expanding and there is actually a lack of prime retail and office space in Ho Chi Minh City. We have a prime location and a good product so we think it is a timely decision to launch this phase.

In fact, while occupancy rates of many exiting office and retail complexes in the city are declining, Saigon Centre is still performing well with 100 per cent occupancy for its retail sector, and above 95 per cent occupancy rate for its offices. We are confident that Saigon Centre’s second phase will be warmly welcomed after its completion in 2015.

Does Keppel Land plan to reduce prices of its high-end apartment projects such as The Estella and Riviera Point?

We believe demand will return when the situation recovers. As a developer, we provide quality products that are of value for residents. For Estella, as a joint venture company, we have the financial strength to continue with the project and are committed to hand over the apartments to our buyers on time. We do not see the need to lower the prices of our products. We have also provided residents with a unique scheme whereby we offer optional fitting-out packages to customers.

How about Keppel Land’s business strategy for 2012 amid a difficult market?

We strongly believe in the long term potential of Vietnam’s property market and that the current difficulties faced are short-term. In 2012, we will commence construction of the first phase of the 6,400 units in South Rach Chiec, Ho Chi Minh City’s District 2 and launch a gated project in District 9.