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5 Things You Should Know About Aspial Corporation

In times when jewelry’s needed, brands like Lee Hwa Jewelry, Goldheart, and CITIGEMS would likely be at the forefront of customers’ minds. While each of those brands are different, do you know that they are associated with the same parent company Aspial Corporation (SGX: A30)?

And that’s not all. While Aspial started out as a traditional jeweler named Lee Hwa Goldsmiths & Jewellers Pte Ltd in November 1970, it has since diversified into other areas, namely property development and financial services.

Since its inception in 1999, Aspial’s property business, World Class Land, has clocked over 30 small and large-scale residential projects ranging from landed housing to luxurious condominiums.

In 2008, Aspial then expanded its portfolio to provide pawnbroking services and the retail/trading of pre-owned jewellery and watches.

Today, the company, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Maxi-Cash (SGX: 5UF), has the largest network of pawnshops and retail outlets in Singapore which are prominently and conveniently located near bus interchanges and MRT stations.

In recent times, Aspial has also been making headlines with its property development arm. On 2 Jan 2014, Aspial marked its first overseas acquisition by buying a freehold property located close to the Flagstaff Railway Station in Melbourne, Australia.

On the local front, Aspial has come forward with a first-of-its-kind retirement resort; an innovative concept that provides seniors a resort-style living environment. Some of the residential development’s features include specifically tailored facilities, elder-friendly services such as a 24-hour concierge service, and a dedicated property manager who can cater to the ever-changing needs of senior residents.

So, you might now know more about Aspial’s forays into jewelry retail, property development, and pawnbroking. But, did you know that Aspial has accomplished many innovative “firsts” such as…

1. In the year 1996, Lee Hwa forged new ground by introducing white gold into the Singapore jewelry market. Lee Hwa’s first city store, ‘Platinum & Gold’, opened its doors in Wisma Atria (in the popular Orchard road shopping belt in Singapore) and became the first to sell contemporary jewellery without making use of 916-graded gold.

2. It became the first publicly listed jeweler in Singapore and was known as Lee Hwa Holdings Ltd in year 1999.

3. Celestial® by Goldheart was marketed as the official bridal jeweler for the 29 Sep 2009 wedding of local celebrities, Christopher Lee and Fann Wong’s. The year also marked Goldheart’s 35-year anniversary and the collaboration with Lee and Wong served as a significant highlight, showcasing the company’s commitment toward love and romance. More than S$3m worth of jewelry were worn by the celebrity couple during the wedding.

4. CITIGEMS has recently launched a new 999 Pure Gold Artisan collection, a range of gold jewellery crafted from a new technology called “Electroforming”. Because of the technological breakthrough, Aspial can now achieve complex, three-dimensional shapes with gold to enable jewelry pieces to look bigger than before despite using the same amount of materials. Fine details with superior definition can also be achieved as a result.

5. In April 2013, Maxi-Cash started an island-wide renewal service where pawnbroking customers can enjoy greater convenience with the option of renewing and paying interest at any Maxi-Cash outlet.

While Aspial itself might not be a familiar name for most, people who frequent shopping malls should be familiar with the brand names of its subsidiaries. At a price of S$0.44, Aspial’s shares are currently selling for 9 times trailing earnings and carry a dividend yield of 3.5%.

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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 James Yeo owns shares in Aspial Corporation as mentioned.