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5 Things You Should Know About City Developments

CDL logoIf I asked you to name a typical Singaporean’s favourite topic of conversation, what would you say?

Well I reckon it’s property prices. Although it could be food. Oh, but then there’s also the COE – and of course, the haze. And don’t forget the PSLE? And by the way, how many places were left at Phase 2B at your child’s primary school?

But I digress. If you’re ever stuck for small talk at a party, a safe bet is to mention property prices. You’ll find everyone has an opinion. It’s hardly surprising on a tiny island where land is so scarce. But for those of us who can’t afford to own multiple properties (or even one) there is a solution – property shares.

City Developments Limited (CDL) (SGX: C09) is a Singapore-based property and hotel conglomerate, involved in real estate development, hotel ownership and investment as well as facilities management and hospitality solutions.

Founded in 1963, the CDL network spans 80 locations throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America, New Zealand and Australia. Additionally it has a wholly owned subsidiary in China- CDL China Limited.

City Developments is also one of Singapore’s biggest landlords, letting over 7.8m square feet of office, industrial, retail, residential and hotel space.

CDL projects include Tanglin and Queensway Shopping Centres, City Square Mall, The Residences at W Singapore – Sentosa Cove, The Rainforest executive condominium and one of Singapore’s tallest buildings – Republic Plaza. It also owns the London-listed subsidiary Millennium & Copthorne Hotels plc, managing over 100 hotels globally.

But did you know…

  1. City Developments Limited is South East Asia’s second largest property developer.
  2. City Developments takes its commitment towards corporate social responsibility seriously, and was the first Singapore company to be listed on all three of the world’s top sustainability benchmarks – the FTSE4 Good Index Series, the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World Index and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. CDL was also the most accorded developer at the 2013 Building and Construction Awards (BAC) including the prestigious Quality Excellence Award – Quality Champion (Platinum) for consistently delivering high quality projects.
  3. CDL Chairman Kwek Leng Beng’s father left China as a penniless teenager and founded the Hong Leong Group in Singapore.
  4. Kwek Leng Beng started out running the Copthorne King’s hotel on Havelock Road, seeing the development through from scratch. The land where it sits cost S$980,000 back in 1968, but is estimated to be worth a cool $30m today – and is still the chairman’s favourite hotel.
  5. Kwek Leng Beng once jointly bought New York’s iconic Plaza Hotel from Donald Trump. In 1995, he and Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed acquired the hotel in a complex transaction that valued it at US$325m; about US$75m less than Donald Trump had paid in 1988. They subsequently sold it in 2004, for US$675m.

Finally, if you were thinking of buying property shares, or indeed shares in general, bear in mind the words of CDL’s chairman.

Despite purchasing the world famous and much loved Plaza Hotel, featured in countless films and books and with a rich and exciting history, he vowed never to fall in love, saying “We’re not short-term investors, but we have to be practical. If somebody in two years offers $700 million to $800 million for the Plaza, we say goodbye. Why be sentimental about it? It’s an asset.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Alison Hunt doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.