City Developments Ltd. (CDL) – controlled by billionaire Kwek Leng Beng – reported its highest net profit in 2022 as its hotel benefited from a post-pandemic downturn in travel demand and the developer booked strong sales for its housing projects in Singapore , which defied a global property slump.
The company said net profit rose to S$1.3 billion ($971 million) in 2022, compared with S$84.7 million the previous year, bolstered by gains from the Millennium Hilton Seoul divestment as well as the sale of stakes in two commercial properties in Singapore.
“The group is pleased to deliver a set of excellent results for 2022, driven by prudent divestment and strong operating performance from our core business segments,” Kwek, chairman of CDL, said in a statement. “Our hotel operations have made an excellent recovery, having recovered in most markets to pre-pandemic levels.”
CDL said group revenue rose 25% to S$3.3 billion, with residential sales accounting for 42% of the total. Among its best sellers is Copen Grand, a joint venture with HongKong Land unit MCL Land in Singapore’s western suburb of Tengah Town. The project’s 639 apartment units were completely sold within a month of its launch in October.
Strong sales at CDL projects add to signs of resilient demand for private housing in Singapore, with buyers beset by rising interest rates and rising inflationary pressures that could tip the global economy into another recession. Singapore house prices climbed 8.6% in 2022 after rising 10.6% the previous year, government data showed.
To tap into the resilient demand for housing in Singapore, City Developments is planning to launch three projects this year, including the Newport Residences, a 45-story commercial and residential development in Tanjong Pagar on the edge of the Raffles Place central business district. . . The company will begin marketing the 246 freehold residences, including a superpenthouse, on the former Fuji Xerox Towers site on Anson Road, in the first half of this year.
Apart from expanding its Singapore portfolio, City Developments is also looking for overseas opportunities. To that end, the company said last month it was in talks to buy the historic St Katharine’s Docks residential and commercial complex in London from US private equity giant Blackstone.
In recent years City Developments has been increasing its investments in the UK where it owns a portfolio of commercial properties including an office building housing HSBC’s headquarters in London. It had planned to inject the assets into a property investment trust that was supposed to be listed in Singapore, but the IPO was delayed amid increased market volatility and macroeconomic headwinds.
Kwek is the chairman of CDL and Singapore’s Hong Leong Group, founded by his father in 1941. His cousin Quek Leng Chan, who is also a billionaire, has a separate group in Malaysia, also known as Hong Leong. With a net worth of $9.3 billion that he shares with his family, 81-year-old Kwek was ranked No. 5 on the list of Singapore’s 50 richest people published in September.