Private club Straits Clan gets new owner

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STRAITS Clan, a private club by local food and beverage (F&B) operator The Lo & Behold Group, has been bought over by Singapore-based hospitality player The Mandala Group.

The Mandala Group operates luxury properties overseas such as Ulu Cliffhouse in Bali and Seasons Niseko villas in Japan. Here, it previously ran local F&B outlets Oxwell & Co and Operation Dagger until both outlets closed last year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The group first took a stake in Straits Clan last November, becoming joint operators with The Lo & Behold Group. Financial records show the former recently held a nearly 51 per cent interest in the club.

On what prompted the current deal, Ben Jones, co-founder and chief executive of The Mandala Group, said on Tuesday that the group had "reaffirmed its focus" on members' clubs as a core part of its future growth, which includes the "exploration of further clubs" in Singapore and Asia.

Hence, both parties decided that "it would make more sense" for The Mandala Group to take the lead in managing Straits Clan, Mr Jones told The Business Times. In return, The Lo & Behold Group will also re-invest in The Mandala Group.

As part of the transition to new ownership, the club will be rebranded Mandala Club and undergo renovations and "further improvement" over the next few months, according to a media statement by The Mandala Group on Tuesday. The club's headcount is also expected to increase by 50 per cent within the next 12 months.

Financial records also show Straits Clan, which opened in 2018, made a loss after tax of S$3.5 million that year, on revenues of S$4.4 million. But Mr Jones said the club has "moved into full profitability" since last November, and is seeing growth month on month.

Straits Clan was started in 2018 by Wee Teng Wen, the managing partner of The Lo & Behold Group and UOB scion, and two others. It sits in a four-storey building at Bukit Pasoh formerly occupied by the New Majestic Hotel.

Said Mr Wee on Tuesday: "Great opportunities lie ahead for our members and we're glad to have found like-minded partners in the Mandala Group who share in our vision."

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