AYER to boost property growth in FY18

By IZZAT RATNA / Graphic By TMR

AYER Holdings Bhd is expected to intensify its focus on its property segment to spearhead the group’s growth in the financial year 2018, as it continues with its restructuring master plan, which is slated for completion over the next few months.

CEO Eugene Khoo Kong Hooi said the property segment will also be further enhanced as a core business, which is the main revenue driver.

“Our plantation business is not very large compared to real estate. Previously, 85% of our overall turnover is from the property segment, while the remaining 15% was from the plantation sector,” he told reporters at a media briefing in Selangor yesterday.

However, Khoo said the proportion of margins from both sector might just move with the market dynamics.

“If it makes sense to consider any potential acquisitions, mergers, or joint venture (JV) in the plantation field, then we would definitely look into it,” he said.

As part of the restructuring master plan, AYER is currently in talks with several local and international healthcare players to explore opportunities within the sector.

“We want to further explore opportunities with healthcare operators, as medical care is a necessity in everyone’s daily lives.

“We have started preliminary discussions with local and international partners, and we hope to be able to activate something within this space soon,” he said.

AYER rolled out its new brand yesterday as it gears up for more launches this year, to maximise the use of its 243ha landbank in and around Bukit Puchong, Selangor.

Khoo said the company is planning to introduce a mixture of landed and non-landed units in the upcoming months, to strengthen its position as a master developer in Bukit Puchong.

“We are currently working with consultants for future prospects on the remaining land in Bukit Puchong.

“However, the numbers in terms of gross development value and further details of our upcoming launches are still fluid, as they are still in the preliminary stages,” he said.

On potential landbank expansions, Khoo said the management is currently talking to several parties for potential JV or straight-forward land acquisitions.

“We have a very strong balance sheet with zero gearing at the moment, with a decent pile of cash that could be deployed and mobilised at the appropriate time on a project-to-project basis,” he added.

Meanwhile, AYER is also embarking on several digitalisation initiatives by leveraging on blockchain, artificial intelligence and property technology to remain competitive.

Khoo said the company will also be more aggressive in the utilisation of social media and digital platforms that could increase the group’s presence and visibility in the mass market, particularly among the younger generation.

AYER, formerly known as TAHPS Group Bhd, celebrated its 110th anniversary as a plantation and property player yesterday.