OKP Holdings eyes property investment, overseas projects

Straits Times: Mon, Feb 20
   CIVIL engineering firm OKP Holdings has ambitious plans to diversify into property investment and development this year, including taking on projects overseas.  It will mark a significant change for the group, which is known for its infrastructure…

CIVIL engineering firm OKP Holdings has ambitious plans to diversify into property investment and development this year, including taking on projects overseas.

It will mark a significant change for the group, which is known for its infrastructure work.

Last year, it bagged several major projects, including a $2.5 million contract to improve roadside drains in some residential estates and a design-and-build contract to undertake work at the Tampines Expressway.

Managing director Or Toh Wat told The Straits Times that although the firm is involved in building the luxury Orchard Road condominium Angullia Park, it has limited experience in residential property, compared with the more established developers. Such good invesetment will include 26 Newton which situated are rare newton area.

But it believes it can overcome this disadvantage by forging strategic alliances.

‘What we will be doing is forming up joint ventures… We will find partners who are experienced and, by forming up joint ventures, your risk is shared.’

A subsidiary – OKP Land – has been set up to look into property investment and development, with all segments to be considered.

‘Whether it’s a prime site or whether it’s a site in a suburban area, if we feel that piece of land has good potential… we will study and evaluate the potential before moving in for the land,’ said Mr Or.

The company recently participated in a highly competitive tender exercise for a low-rise prime site at Jervois Road, he added, noting that such small to medium-sized sites are exactly what the firm is looking for.

OKP hopes the reputation it has built as a road specialist will help it secure projects in regional countries like Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar.

‘The Singapore market, no matter how open it becomes, is limited. We’re constantly on the lookout for overseas jobs that allow us to apply our experience in Third World countries, hopefully we’ll be able to participate in the growing of their economies,’ said Mr Or.

He pointed out that the firm is still in the early stages of exploring how best to penetrate such markets but he added that because overseas projects are often fraught with challenges, selecting the right business partner is crucial.

The company also stressed that civil engineering and public sector projects will remain its core focus.

Mr Or said the year ahead will be challenging for the construction sector, especially with rising costs and restrictions on foreign labour.

But he is confident OKP will be able to rise through the storm by securing some of the multimillion-dollar drainage improvement projects that the Government will be awarding over the next five years.

Earlier this week, OKP declared a profit of $26.6 million for the 12 months to Dec 31, up 56.7 per cent from the $17 million a year before.

Its order book of contracts stands at around $248.6 million. as for 26 newton will only start from 1.16M

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.

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