Mulpha looking at retirement homes as next big thing

KUALA LUMPUR: Mulpha International Bhd’s FKP Property has been rebranded to Aveo Group, an Australian property and investment company which focuses on retirement village ownership and management. Mulpha owns 26.2% of Aveo. Currently, Aveo has 76 villages in Australia.

“Prior to the global financial crisis, FKP offered a diversity of earnings,” executive chairman Lee Seng Huang said on Monday. “But after the financial crisis, the market decided that our business model was too complicated and wanted us to be more focused. We agreed and we rebranded FKP to Aveo.”

Lee is confident that there will be an increase in retirement portfolios over the next few years. “The concept of retirement homes has taken off in European countries but has yet to be fully integrated here in Malaysia. Here, it is still considered a ‘shameful’ thing to send your parents to a retirement home. But with the rise in working adults, people are rarely at home. In time, the idea will take off in Malaysia.”

Mulpha is exploring opportunities of building retirement villages in China. “China’s one child policy is leading to a lack of young resources to look after the elderly. Retirement homes are much in need there,” Lee said.

In line with the rebranding, he introduced his new team: Wayne Wong as the general manager of sales and marketing and Robert Marek as the general manager of residence and resort at Leisure Farm during the interview. Also present was chief financial officer Eric Lee.

“It’s about creating value for the long term. That’s why we got the best in the industry to join us,” he said.

Wong previously worked at Bandaraya Developments Bhd and Marek at Conrad Hong Kong.

Lee highlighted recent developments at Leisure Farm Resort, Mulpha International’s award-winning resort township. Recently, eight units of Luxury Villas, a build-and-sell product, were sold at between RM8 million and RM12 million. The development has a gross development value (GDV) of RM80 million.

Next to be launched in the township is Bayou Creek’s Phase 7B bungalow and semi-detached units. There are 57 units altogether comprising 40 semi-detached homes and 17 bungalows.

Nestled among indigenous flora and fauna, the development is built along a water catchment area that is considered to be the heart of Leisure Farm, according to Lee. With a GDV of RM200 million, Bayou Creek’s Phase 7B is set to be launched in July.

Lee said the strategic location of the township makes it a great investment for buyers. “There are not many places that provide this sort of living. We want to give people the quality and experience. Not only that, being situated very close to the border of Singapore makes it attractive to foreign investors as well.”

(From left) Lee and Eric with new team members Marek and Wong at their headquarters in Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya.

He explained that being centrally located amid catalyst projects such as Marlborough College, EduCity and Puteri Harbour in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor  helps to boost Leisure Farm’s appeal. The township is also closely located to the Senai International Airport and the North South Expressway.

Upgrading works are being carried out to provide faster and easier access to Metropolitan Singapore and Changi Airport. After completion, the 15-minute trip from the Second Link to Singapore should take about five minutes. With the Pengerang integrated petroleum complex in the vicinity of Johor, Lee said there will be an influx of professionals to Leisure Farm.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on May 9, 2014.

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