Published in the Bangkok Post 27th May 2011
Raimon Land Plc was listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand in 1994 with a primary focus on premium residential properties in Bangkok and upcountry resort destinations. The company is currently planning and developing various properties in Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket. CEO Hubert Viriot discusses the firm’s strategies and outlook.
Please explain Raimon Land’s business model.
Raimon Land is a property real estate developer focused primarily on the highend residential segment in major urban and resort locations in Thailand.
How are Raimon Land’s current projects progressing?
Extremely well. We currently have two projects under development in Bangkok:The River and 185 Rajadamri, and one under development in Pattaya: Zire Wongamat. All are progressing up to our expectations and have now reached their break-even points. This is a tremendous achievement, especially for 185 Rajadamri and Zire Wongamat,which were launched less than six months ago. Units at The River are expected to be transferred during 2012 while construction of 185 Rajadamri has broken ground with piling completed. Bouygues,one of the top contractors in the world,has the main construction contract for this high-profile project, a pledge of our commitment to a quality project and timely delivery. Finally, all units at Northpoint Pattaya have now been transferred with a handful left for sale.
With the creation of Vue at The River, is Raimon look to expand its product offerings?
We are looking at diversifying our core business to reduce our reliance on a single income stream. Our aim is to have a more balanced business profile which includes two to three tiers of highend residential development projects.The recent launch of Zire Wongamat,which encompasses the Raimon Land “luxury” DNA within a more affordable envelope is a first step in this direction.We are also planning to develop incomegenerating assets alongside our core residential project. As such, we recently launched Vue, our first shopping mall development located next to The River,which is already fully let out. Such assets not only diversify Raimon Land’s income streams but also add value to our projects.Finally, we are expanding our services in property management and so forth.
Raimon Land has been revamping its business over the past two years. Is it now able to consistently deliver projects on a yearly basis?
Yes, over the past year we have already cleared a lot of backlog with 185 Rajadamri and Zire Wongamat launched.We have one more site in Pattaya that we are considering to launch shortly as the market in Pattaya has proved to be extremely healthy, as demonstrated by the successful launch of Zire Wongamat.Thus the next three years are very important for us as we have The River being transferred in 2012,185 Rajadamri in 2013 and Zire Wongamat in 2014.This shows that we will be consistently delivering projects on an annual basis and in the future we will consistently have projects under construction, being launched and planned, thereby guaranteeing stable earnings.
What separates Raimon Land from the other property/condominium companies in Thailand?
Most of our peers cover many different segments, from affordable housing to high-rise condominiums. Very few, if any, focus specifically on the high-end segment as we do. Hence, the key difference between Raimon Land an our peers is our mindset. We think “quality” throughout the development process from land acquisition to design,construction, delivery, after-sale services and so on. When selling high-end, one cannot cut corners. You need to use every space with a specific mindset to meet your customers’ high expectations.
Raimon Land’s financial performance has been extremely volatile for the past few years. Can you provide a reason,and what is the outlook going forward?
Raimon Land is still a relatively young company. Earnings have been volatile because we had not yet reached a stable level of operations whereby the company delivers projects regularly. Over the past 24 months, we have worked very hard on this process to deliver regular earnings.We have also refinanced our entire debt portfolio and simplified the corporate structure. Now we have low operating expenses, low cost of funding, healthy project debt and a clear business strategy.This improvement allows our shareholders and partners to understand who we are and hopefully Raimon Land can become a yield-generating investment.
What do you feel are the biggest risks facing your business today?
Given that we have improved our corporate structure and balance sheet significantly over the past 24 months,our focus today is purely on making the right decisions to be able to grow by two to five times bigger than today, which is entirely within our reach, but we need to make the right decisions now and implement them well. Over the next 36 months, we will have very strong earnings and must ensure they are reinvested properly so that we can continue to grow and create more value for our shareholders.
Where do you see Raimon Land five years from now?
Our core business will remain highend residential development, but with two or three clear tiers of development.Raimon Land should be in a position to deliver several projects per year and additionally have income streams from income-generating assets and from services to the property business. In terms of geographic spread, Thailand will.
The Executive Q&A Series is presented by ShareInvestor, Asia’s leading financial internet media & technology company, and the largest investor relations network in the region with more than 400 listed clients.The interview is conducted by Pon Van Compernolle