Investment will accelerate Be Living's growth

Willmott Dixon has finalised a deal with EcoWorld International that will see the Malaysian company acquire a 70 per cent equity stake in a newly created joint venture (JV) development business.

The two companies have been in exclusive talks since November on creating the JV that will comprise of land assets from Willmott Dixon’s development business Be Living.

Under the transaction, EcoWorld International will also acquire a 70 per cent equity stake in a JV development management company that will continue to maximise existing assets as well as seek to acquire more land as part of the JV’s plans to identify and secure new development opportunities in London and the South East. The management company consists of Be Living’s existing development team, led by chief executive Andrew Telfer.

A number of Be’s development schemes transfer immediately into the new JV with the balance of current schemes transferring in as they gain planning consent and land becomes secured. The development schemes in scope have an estimated total gross development value of £2.5 billion.

Brentford FC website

Be Living is development partner with Brentford FC on its new stadium

Rick Willmott, Group Chief Executive of Willmott Dixon:

“We are delighted to have concluded this agreement; it’s the culmination of our long-term strategy to inject fresh expansion capital into Be Living that can be used to support our growth aspirations for that business.
“EcoWorld is an excellent partner who shares not only our aspirations for Be Living but also our philosophy and culture, particularly in relation to the importance of people, customers and quality of product. They also bring significant additional residential development expertise, as well as an impressive sales pipeline into important Asian markets. I know with the strong backing of both EcoWorld International and Willmott Dixon, Andrew and the Be Living team have a terrific platform to create a strong business.
“For Willmott Dixon, this transaction allows us to focus our resources on our core contracting activities which continue to perform at a high level, with an excellent pipeline of high quality work stretching into 2019 and beyond.”

Commenting on today’s deal, Dato’ Teow Leong Seng, President and CEO of EcoWorld International:

“The completion of the Stage 1 Acquisitions marks the start of a new era for EcoWorld International in the United Kingdom. Going forward, we are well positioned to grow our UK business strongly to meet both local and international demand in the traditional Open Market Sale subsector as well as rising institutional demand in the Built-to-Rent subsector. We are very excited to be starting our journey with our new partners Willmott Dixon and Be Living.”

Be Living has over 7,000 homes on site or pending development, with more large schemes currently at planning stage. Its activity in London includes working with London Borough of Hounslow’s wholly owned subsidiary Lampton 360 to deliver 1,500 homes, leading the 1,176 home regeneration of Aberfeldy Village in Tower Hamlets and working as Brentford FC’s development partner for its 17,500 seat stadium and 900-home master plan.

The company is a market leader in build to rent homes, with new developments at the Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes and Aberfeldy Village, and more in the pipeline in Barking and as part of Brentford FC’s master plan.