SINGAPORE (Aug 27): When the government announced property cooling measures on the evening of July 5, Choo Chee Onn leapt into action. The executive chairman and managing director of KSH Holdings headed to the showflats of Park Colonial and Riverfront Residences to witness the spree of panic buying. The two projects had been scheduled for launch that weekend, but were opened for sales that evening instead.

“[The showflats] were very packed; there was nowhere to park. It was so crowded that I couldn’t even enter by the front door, and had to take the back door,” Choo recalls.

KSH is one of several construction companies here that have ventured into property development on expectations of more lucrative margins. In the last financial year, the property development business accounted for 31.9% of the company’s pre-tax earnings. KSH and its property developer partners have greatly benefitted from the property boom. They acquired the sites of both Park Colonial and Riverfront Residences on the cheap early into last year’s en bloc fever. The consortium developing Riverfront Residences is led by Oxley Holdings, while that of Park Colonial is headed by Chip Eng Seng Corp. KSH has a 35% stake in the former joint venture (JV) and 20% in the latter.

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