Berjaya PH expands London exposure


Berjaya Philippines Inc., the local arm of Malaysia-based Berjaya Group, is expanding its presence in London by buying a 50-percent stake in real estate firm RBW Holdings Ltd., barely six months after having taken over Britain’s biggest luxury car dealer.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Friday, Berjaya Philippines said it bought 50,001 shares in RBW, which is engaged in the business of “acquiring and developing real estate in the United Kingdom focusing in London,” for 1 British pound a share or for a total of 50,001 pounds.

This is Berjaya Philippines’ second major investment in London. In October last year, it acquired 70 percent of luxury car dealer HR Owen Group, a retailer of brands such as Audi, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Lotus, Bugatti, Maserati, Mini, Pagani, Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini.

“[The acquisition is] to take advantage of real estate opportunities in London,” Berjaya said in its disclosure.

Berjaya Philippines said its board of directors approved the purchase of RBW shares on Monday, and proceeded with the transaction on Thursday. The company said it used internally-generated funds for the acquisition, which cost P3.7 million at the current exchange rate between the Philippine peso and the British pound.

Berjaya Philippines is in the business of gaming and lottery management, hotels, as well as food and beverage through units Philippine Gaming Management Corp., Berjaya Hotel, and Papa John’s Pizza.

It also handles the marketing of Mazda vehicles through Berjaya Auto Philippines Inc.

The company is one of the few diversified firms from Southeast Asia that is doing business in the Philippines, with the Salim Group of Indonesia having made the biggest investments in the country in the utility, telecom and media sectors.

Implementation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 will likely see regional business groups like the Salim Group and Berjaya make more investments in the Philippines. AEC will liberalize the investment and trade environment in Southeast Asia from 2015 onwards.


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