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NEWS ANALYSIS: MOVE TO MERGE URBAN PLANNING FIRMS

Ascendas-Jurong International-Temasek Holdings deal combines each firm's strengths into potent force

It would create an urban planning giant in the region

Published on Sep 5, 2014 9:33 AM
 
Four of the country's leading players in urban planning and development, Ascendas, Jurong International and Temasek Holdings units Surbana Group and Singbridge International, could soon be merging to form an industry colossus. 

Size counts. Big is beautiful. Take your choice of phrase as both apply to the dramatic news that four of the country's leading players in urban planning and development could merge.

If this ambitious deal comes off, it will, at a stroke, create one of the most powerful urban development groups in the region.

The considerable individual strengths of the four entities - business park developer Ascendas, architecture consultant Jurong International and Temasek Holdings units Surbana Group and Singbridge International - would combine into an industry colossus. It could marshal a potent combination of master planning, design and other development skills to reap huge rewards as developing nations ramp up their spending on urban infrastructure.

That is where size comes in: Governments anywhere prefer dealing with large players with the entire range of expertise at their command, when it comes to urban planning, so a multi-skilled giant will trump individual players almost every time. As Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said years ago, when talking about bank mergers, size helps when you are up against bigger sumo wrestlers.

 
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Background story

The proposed new entity would allow four already successful firms to show increased strength in numbers, combining their skills in a complementary manner instead of operating individually.

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