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First batch of Melbourne units nets developer World Class Global A$69m

A BATCH of 134 completed residential units in a Melbourne project has landed World Class Global (WCG) A$69 million (S$69.92 million) in net sales proceeds, within four weeks of issuing a notice of settlement to purchasers, the property developer announced on Tuesday.

The batch represents the first phase of settlements in WCG's Avant project, a 56-storey residential tower located in the heart of Melbourne's central business district (CBD).

The remaining 69 units - out of the current batch of 203 completed residential units - totalling A$35.8 million will be progressively handed over to buyers over the next few weeks.

A second stage handover of 241 units, totalling A$151.6 million in revenue, will be recognised within the next six months, the group said, subject to actual settlements.

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A total of 444 residential units have been sold to date, representing more than 97 per cent of the Avant project and bringing in A$256.4 million in sales, WCG said.

The initial batch from Avant marks the first handover of completed residential units to purchasers across the group's portfolio of five freehold Australian development projects, said WCG's executive director and chief executive David Ng. The "strong settlements" by the purchasers is proof of the strength of Melbourne's property market, added Mr Ng.

The group currently has property development projects in Melbourne, Cairns and Brisbane, with WCG estimating about A$1.1 billion in aggregate sales value so far from pre-sold apartment units in its Australia 108 and Avant projects in Melbourne and Nova City in Cairns, with two other residential projects in Australia yet to be launched.

Sales from Avant are expected to "contribute positively to the group's financial performance for the current quarter", WCG said.

The tower is located in close proximity to major landmarks in Melbourne's CBD, including Melbourne Central, Queen Victoria Market and RMIT University.

Part of the Aspial Group, WCG posted a full-year net loss of S$9 million for the period ended Dec 31, 2017, from a loss of S$6.3 million in 2016. The loss was mainly due to an increase in employee benefits, listing expenses incurred with respect to its initial public offering in June 2017, and higher holding costs incurred for properties held for sale in Malaysia, WCG said.

It is looking to expand to property development in other areas such as the industrial and hospitality sectors, the group added, and may acquire or develop new properties in Indonesia, New Zealand and the Philippines, in addition to its current presence in Australia and Malaysia.