Investors were transfixed by the $1.9 billion loss at Singapore-listed City Developments (CDL) in its FY2020 financial results last week, due to the firm’s misadventure in China through its joint venture with Sincere Property Group. The last time CDL registered a loss was in the early 1970s, according to the group’s CFO Yiong Yim Ming.

Kwek Leng Beng, CDL’s executive chairman and one of Singapore’s richest man with a net worth of $8.8 billion, according to Forbes, reminded analysts and the media that the firm, founded in 1963, has weathered many challenges over the decades: the oil shocks and subsequent recession of the 1970s, the financial crises of 1997–1998 and 2008– 2009, and now, Covid-19. “Having gone through these difficulties, we emerged stronger every time,” Kwek says. “I’m confident that this will make us an even stronger company.”

Despite losses from its misadventure in China, CDL intends to continue land banking in its home market, says Kwek. When it comes to property, “we are a proxy to Singapore”, he declares. “We always want to have enough land.”

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