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S P Setia going the extra mile to excel

KUALA LUMPUR: To S P Setia Bhd president and CEO Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, coming in first in The Edge Top Property Developers Awards 2011 is not so much about winning as it is about being able to benchmark itself against the top developers in Malaysia.

"The industry has become very competitive; to excel you must really be able to do something extraordinary. The top 10 developers drive us to be better, and make us sit and think how to maintain our position," said Liew during The Edge Property Excellence Awards 2011 last Thursday, Sept 29.

He attributed the company's success to his team and their passion and drive to be the best in the industry. With a track record that spans several decades, S P Setia has grown into one of the most successful and most respected developer in the industry.

Among its notable developments are the award-wining Setia Eco Park and Setia Alam in Shah Alam, Setia EcoLakes in Vietnam and more recently Fulton Lane in Melbourne, Australia.

The developer currently has a landbank of 4,442 acres (1,776.8ha) in Malaysia and 545 acres abroad, with a combined gross development value (GDV) of RM48 billion. It already has several major developments in the pipeline, including KL Eco City with a GDV of RM6 billion, the development of a 40-acre tract in Federal Hill with a GDV of RM10 billion and the expansion of its Eco homes to Cyberjaya, Setia Eco Glades which has a GDV of RM3 billion.

For its FY10 S P Setia achieved record-breaking sales of RM2.31 billion, a significant increase of 40% from 2009. With one more month to go before the closing of its 2011 financial year, the developer has already achieved more that the targeted RM3 billion.

To Liew, the sales record is the best indicator of S P Setia's stand in the market. He noted that many of its customers are repeat customers, which Liew believes is a result of the developer's consistent ability to deliver quality products and service year after year.

Buyers are willing to pay a premium for your products if they see it as value for money, which for us means ensuring long-term capital appreciation, said Liew.

S P Setia has five market segments in its business — townships, integrated developments, Eco homes, high-end residences and international developments. However, Liew said township development will still be its core business due to its substantial long-term value enhancement.

The fact that S P Setia has a wide range of products — from low-cost housing to RM5 million homes — and a large landbank will enable the developer to cater to the market according to market demands.

A particular market Liew is keen to tap into is the new middle class which consist of mainly newly graduated workforce looking to purchase their first home. Together with the government's plans to develop an efficient transportation system including the construction of the new mass rapid transit system, he foresees a whole new avenue of development for developers.

Calling the property development industry a "very dynamic business that evolves everyday", Liew believed the key to success is always staying ahead of the curve, and that means keeping abreast of changes and always being prepared.

Acknowledging the stiff competition in the market, Liew concluded: "We have one hell of a good competition on our hands and we really have to excel in what we do. The difference between each of the top 10 developers is very minimal, and I think that is very good for the industry."

Liew (second right) receiving the award from Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Wira Chor Chee Heung, witnessed by Maybank president and CEO Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar (left) and The Edge Communications Sdn Bhd managing director Tan Boon Kean. Photo: Kenny Yap of The Edge Malaysia

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