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2020-11-02
Driving Resilience with Cross Border Partnerships


The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown many companies into uncharted waters. No one company may have all the resources to ensure continued success – more so in these uncertain times. Therefore, there are always advantages to collaborating with others in order to create joint value that can deliver resilience and growth in the long run.

At Fajarbaru Builder Group (FBG), we rely on partnerships which have proven to be extremely important as a strategic growth driver in the long-term.

Lessons from Australia

Our story of partnership began in 2017. At the time, the property market in Melbourne was set for growth which proved an opportunity too good to miss for us. The only challenge ahead was devising a strategy, as a Malaysian company to penetrate the property market there.

We chose to partner with Australian-based property developer Beulah International (Beulah) which was making waves in the Melbourne property scene. We needed a partner which understood our vision for the Melbourne property market and could work with us to realise this ambition. Our foray into the Australian property market began with our maiden project, Gardenhill located in one of Melbourne’s prestigious eastern suburbs. Designed by the internationally acclaimed architect Woods Bagot, these 11 storey, 136 unit paradise offered residents a life of absolute serenity and connectivity. They were surrounded by lush greenery as each residence is an oasis of graceful design and impeccable style. The project was also well connected to the centre of town via the nearby Eastern Freeway. This award-winning luxury apartment development was recognised as one of the most innovative and game changing developments in Australia.

Hot on the heels of that success, we launched our second project, Paragon which is scheduled for completion in 2021. Located in the heart of the Melbourne central business district on Queen Street, Paragon is designed by award-winning architect, Fender Katsalidis and is built by world-renowned construction company, Multiplex, an Australian company that has delivered over 1000 iconic projects around the world. Residents of the 220 luxury apartments will also be able to enjoy Australia’s first ever elevated indoor urban forest designed by acclaimed landscaper, Paul Bangay.

The project was also awarded “Best International Development Winner” at the iProperty Development Excellence Awards (iDEA) 2019. Leveraging on a host of cutting-edge and creative consultants, architects and developers is something we prize and strive for here in FBG. In 2018, we decided that to sustain the momentum in our collective success, we needed to take our partnership with Beulah one step further. As such, we acquired a 49% stake in Australian property development company, Beulah Northcote Land Pty Ltd a wholly owned unit of Beulah Land Holdings Pty Ltd.

The acquisition generated much excitement here in FBG. We had brought into our fold a collaboration which has proven expertise in property development and architecture down under. Thanks to the partnership, we now have the development rights to two freehold plots in Northcote, Melbourne which is earmarked to be developed into 15 residential two-storey townhouses along Merri Creek. These luxury townhouses with an estimated Gross Development Value (GDV) of A$33 million (≈RM98 million), are akin to the neighbourhood spirit and sought after suburbs such as the likes of TTDI and Desa Sri Hartamas. 

Our latest venture with Beulah takes full advantage of their local expertise as we continue gaining exposure in the Australian market and further expand FBG geographically. This has raised our brand profile which then helped us to have multiple sources of income and business sustainability. Thus, providing us the opportunity to grow our earning base from property development and augment our presence in the local Australian property market.

Adaptability and growth

Fast forward to the new normal, while the excitement from the partnership still lingers, we understand that in order to grow, we must adapt to changing norms. Of course, no one had any inkling of the pandemic at hand. But it is safe to say that thanks to such a partnership, we could still hold our fort amid the recent slump in the regional property market. This was down to the cross-border nature of the alliance with Beulah. Having a foot in both the Malaysian and Australian property markets simultaneously gave us much needed perspective to have a better understanding in building a more resilient supply chain and forecasting demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to transform the way we live and work.

To gain regional understanding of property development and construction know-how, we leveraged on Beulah’s extensive business portfolio and partnerships with award winning architects and construction firms to help make informed decisions about the property market in Australia and adopt these new technological and architectural advancement into our Malaysian property development market.
 
Our partnership with Beulah also allowed us to gain a better understanding of the standard operating procedures in Australia and use this information to gain best practice knowhow for our operations in Malaysia. This also meant holding ourselves accountable to a higher standard than we usually do.
 
Suffice to say, this cross-border partnership provided us with fresh insight on how best to conduct business. In an increasingly globalised world, this is the best proof that actions in one country can impact consequences in another.

Reflecting on this experience, it is crystal clear that by having Beulah as a valuable partner, it helped build our resilience against the economic headwinds caused by the pandemic. Having them as partners helped us make informed property market decisions. Leveraging on Beulah’s own experiences in the market, we could also widen our perspective in the construction and property development world.
 
Even working with other players in the industry including globally esteemed consultants, architects and designers were much easier as we were afforded this aerial view of the regional property scene. Ultimately, we could successfully provide comprehensive solutions that can be operationalised in both Malaysia and Australia.
 
Our experience proves more than anything else, that strategic partnerships beyond Malaysian borders is one of the best formulas for growth in the new normal.