The Largest Private Property Developer in Singapore

Far East Organization is a well-recognized property developer in Singapore. At one point in its history, the company was in control of more than 25% of the entire housing market in Singapore.

Unfortunately, investors in the stock market have so far been unable to buy into the company as it is a privately held entity, making it the largest private property developer in Singapore. It is still controlled by the family of its founder, Ng Teng Fong.

How is all started

Any origin story for Far East Organisation would have to start with Ng. As a first generation Singaporean, Ng arrived in Singapore in the 1930’s when he was six years old. Back then, his father ran a soya sauce factory and a grocery shop to help support the family. Ng had been helping out in the family grocery shop since he was young, but had longed to start a business in the property industry.

When he was only in his twenties during the 1960’s, he got his break and started developing his first mega project. The development was a success and Far East Organization was born.

Ng never looked back since that first project of his and started expanding his business throughout Singapore, eventually becoming one of the largest developers in the country. In fact, Far East Organization was a major player in the shaping of the landscape of Singapore’s famous shopping belt along Orchard Road.

Today, the property developer is run by Ng’s two sons, Robert and Philip Ng. They have since led the company into owning real estate assets like hotels and service apartments and have also expanded the company into Hong Kong.

Companies under their umbrella

While investors are not able to invest directly with Far East Organisation, there are still publicly-listed entities in Singapore that are controlled by the company. For instance, there’s Yeo Hiap Seng (SGX: Y03), Far East Hospitality Trust (SGX: Q5T), and Far East Orchard (SGX: O10).

The first listed company is a food & beverage outfit with a long history in the region. It distributes consumer products (like canned beverages for instance) under the Yeo’s brand and is actually one of the major players in its industry in Singapore and Malaysia. Perhaps unsurprisingly given its links to Far East Organisation, Yeo Hiap Seng has also started to move into the property development space.

Meanwhile, Far East Hospitality Trust is a stapled trust that owns a stable of hotels and serviced residences in Singapore. It’s currently managed by Far East Orchard, a property developer and investor. Some of the property assets owned by Far East Orchard include the Novena Medical Centre and Novena Specialist Centre, a premium medical hub in Singapore.

Foolish Summary

Far East Organization had its roots in a young man’s dream and that man then realised his dream and managed to build one of the largest and most respected companies in Singapore. The Ng family, led by Robert and Philip Ng, is currently the richest in Singapore with a combined net worth of $10.6 billion as estimated by Forbes in 2013.

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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 Stanley Lim doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.