The Edge Billion Ringgit Club 2014: WCT set for a brighter future

WINNING, commitment, teamwork, humility and respect — these are the core values that have ensured WCT Holdings Bhd’s success over the past 32 years.

The construction and property development company, which started in 1981 as a one-machine outfit involved in earthworks, is today a far cry from its humble beginnings.

The group has grown to be one of Malaysia’s leading real estate developers and civil engineering and construction companies, with operations in seven countries. Besides Malaysia, WCT has successfully established a presence in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, India and Vietnam.

“Our success over the [past] 32 years has been the result of our unwavering commitment to a set of core values — winning, commitment, teamwork, humility and respect. This shared set of values guides our actions, decisions and policies, which combined with our expertise developed over the years, fuels the company’s continuing success,” said WCT managing director Taing Kim Hwa in a recent interview with The Edge Financial Daily.

The group achieved its first milestone after the construction of the Sepang International Circuit in 1998, which has become one of Malaysia’s prominent and iconic infrastructures. This success led to it winning two other iconic construction projects in the international arena — the Bahrain International Circuit in 2004 and the Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi Circuit in 2009.

WCT did not stop at building international racing circuits. It also won such infrastructure projects as the Panagarh-Palsit expressway in India and the Dukhan highway in Qatar.

Locally, the group’s projects in the construction and engineering sector include the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), klia2, the Guthrie Corridor expressway and the Curve shopping mall in Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya.

WCT got onto the property development scene in 1996, 16 years after its establishment. Through WCT Land Sdn Bhd, the group’s property development, investment and management portfolio includes townships, luxury homes, high-rise residences, industrial developments, offices, mixed-use commercial developments, concessions, hotels and shopping malls.

WCT Land’s first notable property development was the Bukit Tinggi township in Klang, Selangor. Then it ventured into projects such as the Première Hotel, Bukit Tinggi Shopping Centre, Paradigm Mall, and the soon-to-be opened [email protected] Paradigm Mall and [email protected] are self-managed.

Taing: We are focused on growing the Première Hotel and Paradigm Mall brands ... and expanding our consumer-driven divisions in property development, ownership and management of commercial properties by 55% over the next three years.

WCT Holdings deputy managing director Goh Chin Lion said: “In essence, we are enthusiastic about the potential to grow our presence in the Klang Valley and Johor under the Premiere Hotel and Paradigm Mall brands.

“Moving forward, WCT continues to seize suitable opportunities for quality land acquisitions in the Klang Valley, Iskandar Malaysia, Penang and Kota Kinabalu to support further expansion of our property portfolio and to expand the Paradigm Mall and Premiere Hotel brands,” Goh told The Edge Financial Daily.

What’s next for WCT? According to Taing, 2013 marked an important journey for the group as it completed its reorganisation exercise on July 8. The exercise saw WCT Holdings turn into an investment holding company, providing management services to its subsidiary and associated companies. Its two main subsidiaries are WCT Bhd and WCT Land.

The group’s existing key business segments, such as civil engineering, construction, toll concession and privatisation, remain under WCT, while property development, property investment and management activities are under WCT Land.

“The exercise is part of WCT’s efforts to streamline our organisation structure and to have more flexibility to manage our operations effectively, taking into consideration of the different business risks involved.

“It also reflects our commitment to continue to develop and expand our business activities and portfolio, including into residential and commercial development, hospitality, shopping mall and toll privatisation.

“This is well beyond the original engineering and construction activities with which we began in 1981 under the name WCT Earthworks and Building Contractors Sdn Bhd,” said Taing, one of the group’s founders who was appointed to the board on Jan 14, 1981.

Taing and Goh are enthusiastic about the group’s performance this year and look forward to the opening of klia2 and several other projects in the pipeline that will boost its future performance.

“Looking forward, we will see the opening of [email protected], the group’s third retail mall and first concession in Malaysia in the second quarter of 2014, which will add 360,000 sq ft of net lettable area of retail space to the portfolio.

“We are focused on growing the Première Hotel and Paradigm Mall brands in Malaysia, and expanding our consumer-driven divisions in property development, ownership and management of commercial properties, such as shopping malls and hotels, by 55% over the next three years,” said Taing.

Analysts have painted a rosy picture for the WCT group, which they say is helmed by individuals who are experts in their own fields. It is just a matter of time before WCT springs a surprise on the larger players, such as S P Setia Bhd and Sime Darby Property Bhd.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on January 07, 2014.


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