Paramount acquires 21.5pc stake in Eco World International from Quek Leng Chan for RM170.6m

KUALA LUMPUR: Paramount Corporation Bhd has acquired a 21.54 per cent equity stake in Eco World International Bhd at 33 sen per share from GLL EWI (HK) Ltd, for RM170.6 million to accelerate its overseas expansion plan

The acquisition, facilitated through its subsidiary Flexsis Sdn Bhd, involved the procurement of 517 million shares directly from GLL EWI (HK) Ltd, owned by billionaire Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan. 

Paramount group chief executive officer Jeffrey Chew said since Paramount divested its education businesses in 2018, the company has been on the look-out for opportunities to participate in new business interests to diversify its earnings base, both locally and outside of Malaysia, all of which were incorporated in its strategic plan for 2020 to 2025. 

He said the company has since then invested in various start-ups in the digital space and expanded into Bangkok property development via a joint venture.

"This acquisition presents a timely and strategic opportunity for Paramount to accelerate our expansion plan beyond Malaysia, in fact, beyond Asia," Chew said.

"It enables Paramount to have a sizeable stake in a well-established Malaysian listed company that specialises in property development overseas," he said in a statement.

Eco World International has development projects in London, Sydney and Melbourne through joint ventures and subsidiaries, with a remaining gross development value of RM8.6 billion as at Feb 29, 2024.

Chew said demand for homes in London and its surrounding areas remains a source of opportunities now and in the longer term. 

He noted that rental rates are high and have been escalating due to tight supply since 2021, post Covid-19. 

"In recent months, mortgage approvals rate has been on the rise and a Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RCIS) survey expects house prices to increase over the next 12 months across the UK," he added.

Moving forward, Chew said Paramount and Eco World International could collaborate and create new synergies by leveraging on each other's experience and expertise.

Previously, Paramount went into an equity venture with a Thai boutique developer in 2020 and invested RM24.6 million in both debt and equity for the development of Na Reva Charoennakhon, a 29-storey freehold condominium in Bangkok. 

Construction of the condominium that overlooks the Chao Phraya River was completed recently.

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