Thakral in joint venture for Aussie retirement villages

Mr Jaginder Singh Pasricha, managing director (real estate and corporate) of Thakral Corporation.
Mr Jaginder Singh Pasricha, managing director (real estate and corporate) of Thakral Corporation.PHOTO: PUFFERFISH STUDIO 2010

Singapore-listed Thakral Corporation has set up a joint venture with an Australian developer to build retirement villages Down Under as the elderly population there grows rapidly.

PVAP, the Australian developer, is owned by the Puljich family, which has a 30-year track record of developing, owning and running retirement communities in south-east Queensland under the Living Gems brand.

Thakral, an investment firm, is forming the joint venture through its subsidiary Thakral Capital Australia (TCAP).

The joint venture, GTH Resorts, equally owned by TCAP and PVAP, will develop resort-style retirement villages under the brand "Living Gems - A Thakral Joint Venture".

Thakral's foray comes amid rising demand for retirement homes in Australia.

In view of a rising demand for retirement housing and an ageing population, Thakral feels that this sector will continue to grow and be resilient to economic cycles.

Mr Jaginder Singh Pasricha, Thakral's managing director for Investments and Corporate, said: "This relationship (with PVAP) has enabled Thakral to give effect to its strategy of participating in retirement living."

GTH Resorts recently signed a A$6.25 million ($6.44 million) contract to acquire a 8.46ha site at Highfields, near Toowoomba, about 125km west of Brisbane, Queensland's capital.

According to Thakral, the total development cost of the Highfields project, which consists of more than 200 homes, is estimated at A$35.7 million and will be funded from internal sources, sales proceeds from the homes and bank loans.

Currently, GTH Resorts is still waiting for approval from the Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), along with local development approval, before construction work can start.

In view of a rising demand for retirement housing and an ageing population, Thakral feels that this sector will continue to grow and be resilient to economic cycles.

Mr Pasricha said: "It is a business model which is expected to be able to be replicated in Asia once (the company has) fully understood the intricacies of the business in Australia."

Separately, Thakral said yesterday that it has teamed up with Aberdeen Asset Management Asia to set up a bespoke investment programme called the TCAP Australian Mezzanine Programme.

The programme will invest in real estate projects in Australia with a focus on eastern seaboard markets - in particular, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

TCAP will be the initial investor in its projects, with the programme having the right to invest in preferred equity or mezzanine debt in these projects.

Aberdeen has committed "substantial funds" to the programme, Thakral said.

Yvonne Lek

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2015, with the headline 'Thakral in joint venture for Aussie retirement villages'. Print Edition | Subscribe