Willmott Dixon has struck a deal to sell a majority stake in its residential development arm, Be Living, to a Malaysian-based property developer.
The privately owned contractor said today it had agreed terms to sell a 70 per cent stake in Be Living to EcoWorld International for an undisclosed sum.
EcoWorld, which listed on the Malaysian stock exchange in April this year, has five current projects in the UK, including Embassy Gardens in London’s Nine Elms.
The deal to acquire Be Living will boost its UK footprint fourfold, giving it access to a landbank of around 6,700 residential units with a gross development value of at least £2.5bn.
Be Living’s current projects are spread across London, including Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Brent, Bromley, Ealing, Hounslow, Lambeth, Tower Hamlets and Westminster, plus a major project in Woking, Surrey.
Willmott Dixon chief executive Rick Willmott said EcoWorld’s investment marked the “culmination of our long-term strategy to inject additional capital to support Be Living’s growth plans as a standalone business”.
Be Living was demerged from Willmott Dixon’s main business last year.
EcoWorld International executive vice-chairman Tan Sri Dato Sri Liew Kee Sin said the deal “reinforces our commitment to supporting the UK’s efforts to address the housing shortage across London and the South-east and underlines our ambition to play a positive and sustainable role in the UK market”.
EcoWorld will “continue to work closely with Willmott Dixon” when the deal is completed, the contractor said.
As part of the deal, the Malaysian firm will also take a majority stake in Be Living’s residential development management platform, giving it the opportunity to upscale its Greater London operations.
The deal, which remains subject to due diligence and board approvals, is expected to complete next month.
In July, Willmott Dixon unveiled a shake-up at its housing arm as five executive stepped down.
In its most recent full-year results, group profit nearly doubled to £31.1m. However, revenue dipped to £1.22bn, which reflected a prioritsiation of “quality over quantity”, the firm said.