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Malaysian firm takes 70% stake in Willmott Dixon resi arm

9 November 2017

Willmott Dixon has agreed to sell a majority share of its residential development business Be Living to Malaysian developer EcoWorld International.

The two companies have agreed heads of terms on the transfer of a 70% stake in the London-focused development arm. The acquisition remains subject to due diligence and board approvals but is expected to complete in December 2017.

The deal has the potential to increase EcoWorld International’s UK presence fourfold by giving it access to a land bank of approximately 6,700 residential units with a project gross development value of at least £2.5bn.

The new partnership will enable EcoWorld International to have a presence in areas including Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Brent, Bromley, Ealing, Hounslow, Lambeth, Tower Hamlets and Westminster, together with one major project outside London, in Woking, Surrey.

Be Living and EcoWorld International now hope to play a key role in building more affordable housing and build-to-rent schemes.

Rick Willmott, chief executive of Willmott Dixon, said: “The proposed investment, by EcoWorld International, is the culmination of our long-term strategy to inject additional capital to support Be Living’s growth plans as a stand-alone business following its demerger from Willmott Dixon last year.

“EcoWorld International is a great fit for Be, both culturally and in its ambition. The company shares our focus on high-quality residential developments that create a sense of place and legacy, and our ability to accelerate the delivery of housing on regeneration sites by combining homes for rent with private sale was also a key attraction for EcoWorld International.

“This investment will take Be Living forward to its next stage of growth and we look forward to developing a successful long-term partnership with EcoWorld once this transaction is concluded.”

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