GEORGE TOWN: Eco World Development Group Bhd (EcoWorld) is undertaking the development of residential properties in Batu Kawan with an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM1.1bil.

“The properties comprise semi-detached houses, bungalows and uniquely designed houses with innovative concepts that we brand as co-homes and garden homes, respectively.

“We are building some 1,100 units of such properties for upgrades and new house purchasers. The semi-detached units with built-up areas of more than 2,600 sq ft are priced from RM1.4mil onwards.

“The co-homes and garden homes are priced between RM500,000 and RM800,000.

“They’ll be launched gradually in 2022 and 2023 according to the pace of demand,” said the group’s northern region division general manager Datuk Chan Soo How.

The homes formed the third and fourth phases of the 300-acre Eco Horizon project.

“We expect Penang to generate between 10% and 15% of the group’s revenue for the 2022 financial year ending on Oct 30,” he said.

The group is targeting to achieve RM3.5bil sales for the 2022 financial year, Chan said.

He added the response to the project from buyers holding jobs in Batu Kawan has been encouraging.

“We have sold more than 90% of our launched parcels. The buyers are largely those seeking to upgrade their homes, first-time homeowners and those working in Batu Kawan,” he added.

Despite the steep hike in building material prices, the group will continue launching residential, commercial, and industrial projects.

“In the north, our focus will be on quality residential houses,” he said.

According to Chan, EcoWorld is not spared from rising construction costs as highlighted by the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association.

“However, as a group, we are relatively well positioned given the maturity of our land bank today, with the bulk of our primary infrastructure already completed.

“Our efforts over the last two years to reinvent our entire business model to be more nimble, agile and efficient has also helped us to contain the construction costs,” he said.

According to Chan, the EcoWorld’s land bank is equipped with completed primary infrastructure and comprehensive lifestyle amenities.

“Apart from protecting the group against rising construction costs, these factors also enhance the attractiveness and fundamental appeal of the projects,” he said.

Chan said over the past three years, the group expanded its product range to include business parks, enabling it to launch competitively priced projects to suit market demand and sustain profitability.

“The high sales levels achieved, continued financial discipline and investments in efficiency to reduce operational and overhead costs have substantially increased the group’s cash flows generated from operations and lowered its borrowings, giving EcoWorld better protection against future interest rate hikes,” he said.

Chan said the group was now actively looking for additional land bank to take advantage of its low net gearing of 0.36 times as of April 30.

In June, the group reported that it achieved RM2.17bil in sales over the seven months of the 2022 financial year, placing the group well on track to earn RM3.5bil in revenue in 2023.

Eco World has 450 acres of land bank in Penang, of which 200 acres have been either developed or under construction phases.

Source: The Star, 1 August 2022

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