In an effort to diversify its investment assets, FELDA INVESTMENT CORPORATION (FIC), a subsidiary of the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA), has recently acquired a property in Kensington London.
The acquisition of the property in London, which is the first for FIC and the second for FELDA, marks an important milestone in the company’s history as its first stepping stone in creating a brand name for FELDA with the previously acquired Grand Plaza Serviced Apartments in Bayswater and now, the Grand Plaza Kensington.
The Grand Plaza Kensington is a 4-star hotel with 62 units of guest rooms and 2 units of 3-bedroom serviced apartments, located at Lexham Gardens within the exclusive district of Kensington and Chelsea. The hotel is within close proximity to one of Western London’s most popular shopping street, the Kensington High Street. The strategic location of the hotel and the popularity of London as one of the top holiday destinations in the world, especially among Malaysians, are guaranteed to be among the selling factors for the hotel.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the hotel, Chairman of FELDA Group, Y.B. Tan Sri Datuk Sri Utama Haji Mohd Isa Datuk Haji Abdul Samad, said that, “The acquisition of Grand Plaza Kensington is part of FIC’s strategic move to diversify its assets and to ensure that it is able to maximise the company’s investment returns for the ultimate benefit of the stakeholders.”
He further commented that this newly owned hotel serves to complement FELDA’s existing property in Bayswater, another hot-spot area among Malaysians visiting London.
“While the Grand Plaza Serviced Apartments’ main appeal is for visitors with family or travelling in a group, the Grand Plaza Kensington aims to attract guests who are looking for a luxury yet affordable accommodation. Moreover, the Malaysian hospitality is next to none and we are confident that we would be able to attract both Malaysians and foreign visitors to stay with us by offering excellent services as well as delicious Malaysian cuisines.”
Isa also added that the acquisition of Grand Plaza Kensington by FIC has brought the total number of hotels and resorts owned by FELDA to 12.
The opening ceremony was officiated by Isa and witnessed by a number of invited guests which include the the High Commissioner of Malaysia to the United Kingdom & Northern Ireland, Tuan Yang Terutama Dato\' Ahmad Rasidi Hazizi,FIC’s Board of Directors, and other corporate figures in London.
Also present at the opening ceremony was the Chief Executive Officer for FIC, Mohd Zaid Abdul Jalil. Mohd Zaid explained that the acquisition of Grand Plaza Kensington was encouraged by the excellent reception received by Grand Plaza Serviced Apartments, with an average occupancy rate of 90%, and the potential values that can be derived from the investment.
“Malaysia is now one of the most active investors in the UK property market particularly in London. Renowned organisations like the EPF, KWAP, Tabung Haji and PNB have already owned a number of properties and FIC is now following suit and making our presence felt in this particular market.”
Mohd Zaid also added that he is confident that investments in the hospitality area specifically in the UK will yield sustainable long-term returns, especially looking at the upward trend of UK international visitors, which reached an all-time high in 2013 with 32.8 million visitors. This was largely driven by the 8.6% growth for London, making it the most visited city in the world.
Despite being a relatively new company, FIC has been actively involved in several strategic dealings including the recent take-over of a property development entity, Encorp Berhad. The acquisition of Encorp Berhad by FIC signifies Felda’s ambitious aim to diversify its business further into property development and construction, besides being a prominent force in the hospitality sector.