New shareholders and sharper focus buoy Golden Land

Golden Land Plc (GOLD) is a SET-listed property developer focusing on landmark commercial, hospitality and mixed-use developments in the heart of Bangkok’s central business district as well as low-rise residential living. President Thanapol Sirithanachai discusses the company’s strategy and outlook.

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Mr Thanapol believes Thailand will quickly recover from the political conflict.

Golden Land has gone through a change in shareholders and strategy. Could you explain where the company is today?

In 2012, Univentures became a majority shareholder at 58% because we saw hidden value in the combination of commercial and residential assets and undeveloped land, and believed that an injection of capital with a restructuring of the company would unlock this value.

We are undertaking a three-step process as part of our strategy. The first year, 2013, was focused on building a strong professional team and investing in our infrastructure to ensure that the company has a strong foundation from which to grow.

The second step, 2014, is focusing on unlocking value and making us profitable again. The third step will be our growth strategy in 2015 when the company can take off, acquiring and launching more projects.

What type of property developments will Golden Land focus on given its diverse portfolio today?

We are refocusing on our core businesses, which are commercial and residential projects. We are developing the FYI Center or For Your Inspiration Workplace, which is an office building on Rama IV/Ratchadaphisek Road, opposite the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, with a construction area of 100,000 square metres. This office building targets professionals and designers and will have a value of 5 billion baht.

For residential projects, we are focusing on single-detached, semi-detached houses and townhouses under the brands Golden Village, Golden Town and Golden Avenue, targeting medium-sized families with prices ranging from 1.9 million to 5 million baht. As for our non-core businesses such as our golf course and land plots around Thailand, we will divest them to use the proceeds to continue reinvesting in our core businesses.

Golden Land has announced that it will launch 11 projects worth 10 billion baht. Could you elaborate on this?

Yes, this year we will launch 11 projects worth 10 billion baht. Already we have launched Golden Avenue Chaeng Watthana-Tivanon, which offers 97 units of three- and four-bedroom single homes and 321 townhouses, and Golden Village Bang Na-Kingkaew project, which is near Megebangna.

Each brand name signifies the type of home that we will be developing, with Golden Village providing single and semi-detached homes, Golden Town providing townhouses and Golden Avenue a combination of single and semi-detached homes and townhouses.

What differentiates Golden Land from its competitors?

Our company motto is “Developing the Best” and that is what we strive to provide for our customers in terms of projects when it comes to location, quality and especially the community. We are constantly aiming to ensure that our customers feel that they made the right decision to live in our projects.

As a company, we aim to be a pure developer and not an asset owner. The type of residential projects we look for will range from 20-40 rai in size. We will develop the projects within three years and move on. For commercial projects, we want to be asset-light and not hold our projects forever, similar to developers in major real estate markets, so we may set up a REIT in the future to raise funds and continue to develop new projects.

What impact has the political situation had and what other risks affect your business?

The only times that the real estate market is truly negatively affected are during periods of financial crises, and property developers in Thailand today are far more prudent and financially strong. Naturally, if the political situation is prolonged, then it will have a slowdown effect on the economy in terms of GDP growth, consumer spending and foreign investment.

The real estate market will be negatively affected as well, although to varying degrees depending on the sector, with high-end condominiums likely to be affected the most. We believe that our target market will not be as negatively affected because of the nature of the buyers, as they focus on buying a home versus an investment or a second or third property.

Also, this country is unique. We have a very special characteristic because every time there was a crisis, we rebounded very quickly and strongly, and I hope it will be the same this time.

Where do you expect to see Golden Land five years from now?

We aim for Golden Land to be among the top 10 property developers with revenues of 5 billion baht in three years and 10 billion in five years. It sounds challenging but it is possible because of our improvement in operations, our plan to unlock value and a strong shareholder base that supports these efforts.

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