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Success through creative marketing and technology

Lee (centre) with (from left) The Edge Malaysia editor-in-chief Kathy Fong, The Edge Media Group publisher and group CEO Datuk Ho Kay Tat, The Edge Malaysia editor emeritus Au Foong Yee and City & Country editor E Jacqui Chan. (Picture by Mohd Izwan Mohd Nazam/The Edge)

No. 10 (Joint Ranking) | Matrix Concepts Holdings Bhd
      2022     2021
Overall     10     10
Quantitative     18     7
Qualitative     6     10

Tropicana Corp Bhd’s sales figures are up, thanks to creative property campaigns and programmes that have helped the group move from a loss to a profit in FY2021 ended Dec 31.

“We recorded a healthy RM876 million in revenue in 2021 and achieved higher total property sales of RM1.3 billion for FY2021 compared with RM802.4 million in FY2020 — a jump of 62.4%,” says deputy CEO Joanne Lee. “The robust sales in 2021 were backed by the pent-up demand post-lockdown and homebuyers capitalising on the remaining months of the nationwide home ownership campaign (HOC). Buoyed by our digital transformation programme since 2020, our digital sales channels saw a surge and contributed to 30% of total sales in 2021.”

However, for FY2021, Lee notes the group recorded a loss before tax of RM35.2 million, which was RM273.6 million lower compared to FY2020 that saw gains from the disposal of the four parcels of development land amounting to RM236 million whereby there was no sale of land in 2021.

“Despite the loss for the year, the group’s property development and property management division still performed strongly with profits of RM77 million for the period which were backed by strong sales and cost savings from projects,” she says.

The group continues to push forward with its numerous projects both locally and abroad while also complying with sustainability goals.

(Pictures by Tropicana Corp)
City & Country: What will be the group’s overall growth strategy?

Joanne Lee: The country is now in an endemic phase as the economy slowly bounces back. The lifting of travel restrictions, in particular, is pivotal to the property sector as this would mean that foreign and local investors are slowly returning, positively impacting the market. This is an encouraging change, especially for our Tropicana Journey Collection of holiday homes in Genting Highlands and Langkawi as we continue to see good progress with positive local and overseas interest.

To improve our stakeholder engagement and efficiency, we have also strengthened our digital ecosystem and set up offices in key countries such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and India, as well as in the Southeast Asia and Middle East regions.

While the economy may thrive again, 2022 will be a challenging year with rising inflation rates amid the mounting cost of building materials.

We continue to navigate through this, staying resilient and living by our mantra, “Redefining the Art of Living”. We believe that there will still be demand for properties in prime locations and in Tropicana’s established, mature and developing townships, with attractive pricing and innovative ownership packages and offerings. We will continue to focus on being market-driven in our product offerings while continuing to unlock the value of our land bank in strategic locations across the Klang Valley, Genting Highlands, and the northern and southern regions.
How have the group’s property campaigns and programmes performed?

To spur growth, we rolled out various property campaigns and partnership programmes throughout 2021, recording property sales of RM1.3 billion in the process. We invested a few million to launch several initiatives. These include property sales campaigns such as the Tropicana 100, Tropicana 100 Xtended and Tropicana FreeDOM.

Then, as part of our strategy to clear completed developments, we partnered with Maybank Islamic on the HouzKEY programme, which offers customers bigger savings on move-in-ready units.

Next, we have to date celebrated many successful partnerships and joint ventures with many repu-

table local and international corporations such as PKNS (Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor), Marriott International, HK-listed Agile Property Holdings Ltd, Tenby Schools and Temokin Development Sdn Bhd.

Also, our Tropicana Privilege Loyalty programme encourages repeat purchases and rewards referrals. Based on our 2021 records, referrers and repeat purchasers accounted for 15% of our total sales.

Furthermore, we carried out various collaborations with our partners including our subsidiary Tropicana Gardens Mall to run campaigns such as the Tropicana Multi-Million Mania Campaign. We also provided stronger customer support by serving clients from more than 22 countries and we have international offices from China to India.

And we strengthen our digital ecosystem with our Tropicana 360 developer app, website and social media platforms to enable us to reach out to our stakeholders.

What has the group achieved from the environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects?

We remain conscious of the direct impact our operations have on the surrounding natural environment. From responsible resource utilisation and strict regulatory compliance to environmental management practices, we exercise due diligence and operate with careful consideration. Beyond property development, we look to safeguard our employees and bring meaningful change to the surrounding communities in which we operate.

Since inception, it has been Tropicana’s vision to build liveable spaces in its aim to bridge communities. In line with our above-mentioned mantra, Tropicana continues to build many master townships that have all the unique offerings needed to create a sustainable community — from residential and commercial to educational institutions, parks, wellness and more.

Our projects achieve high scores on environment-conscious parameters and we implement impactful strategies to minimise any threat to the integrity of our natural environment. Our green initiatives include using green energy systems. For example, at Tropicana Metropark, the water turbines in our urban park filtration system are powered by windmills.

Also, buildings are designed with energy-efficient features and some use energy-efficient lights and regenerative lifts. We implemented wastewater treatment systems and rainwater harvesting systems to reduce water waste. We pioneered a biological control strategy with the use of dragonflies as a natural pest control mechanism to suppress the mosquito population at Tropicana Golf & Country Resort.

Lush green spaces, parks and water features are part of our DNA and are featured in the master plans of our developments such as Tropicana Aman, Tropicana Gardens, and Tropicana Metropark. We also embarked on tree replanting at Tropicana Heights.

One of our green initiatives was at our Tropicana Gardens development which incorporated the “Garden Living in the City” theme. The diverse components of Tropicana Gardens boast a variety of Green Building Index (GBI) elements like the Arnica, Bayberry and Cyperus phases, each of which achieved a GBI Gold rating, while Dianthus, Edelweiss, Tropicana Gardens Mall and the office tower components each obtained a GBI Silver rating.

The residential units feature climate-control design to discourage heat build-up, promote thermal mass cooling and encourage natural ventilation while minimising solar heat gain. Each residential tower at Tropicana Gardens has a dedicated recreational promenade that provides ample space for leisure activities.

Energy-saving elements include regenerative lifts, energy-efficient lights, water-efficient fittings, a landscaped roof garden with a rainwater harvesting system, low-emissivity glass, aluminium screens, low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, and strategic placement of recycling bins.

As for the social and people components of ESG, the Tropicana Foundation has donated more than RM23 million since its inception in 2011. Throughout 2021, the foundation actively reached out to communities in need, donating more than RM3.6 million to various homes, organisations and associations in its aim to uplift and improve the lives of the disadvantaged on top of supporting social, health and environmental issues.

Also, Tropicana Gardens Mall served as one of five PPV centres for the Program Vaksin Selangor in support of the government’s effort to drive the country’s vaccination programme. All Tropicana staff were encouraged to sign up for the group’s internal vaccination programme to achieve a 100% vaccinated workforce status.

During the various lockdowns, we obtained extensions of time for our ongoing projects from the government to ensure these would be completed with minimal loss to cost and time while maintaining the quality of our deliverables. We also adhered to the government’s SOPs (standard operating procedures) in ensuring a safe working environment for all.

Fundamental to good business practices is a robust corporate governance framework that serves to uphold the trust of our stakeholders, maintain effective risk management strategies and prioritise good business conduct.

In managing the expectations of our stakeholders and keeping them abreast with our business operations, we maintain a clear line of communication with regard to our corporate performance through annual general meetings, annual and quarterly financial reports as well as the publication of board policies on our corporate website.

We support and care for our 1,300-strong workforce through training, workshops, social engagements and various benefits such as birthday treats. We adhere to corporate policies such as the

Malaysian Code of Corporate Governance 2021, the Personal Data Protection Act 2010, the anti-bribery and anti-corruption policy, the diversity and inclusion policy, the whistleblowing policy and the grievance handling procedure at work. And we comply with local frameworks such as the Bursa Malaysia Sustainability Reporting Guide (2nd Ed) as well as international frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative Standards 2016 and global commitments through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Over the years, we have continued to uphold our reputable brand standards and excellence by diligently adhering to local and national regulations such as environmental parameters. This commitment has led us to achieve a track record of zero significant fines and non-monetary sanctions related to environmental laws and regulations in FY2021.

Tropicana WindCity in Genting Highlands comprises three master-planned developments
What is being done to strengthen the group’s finances and projects?

We have formulated a set of key priorities and strategies that focus on strengthening our financial position through land divestment, partnerships and increased profitability; strategic land acquisition and unlocking our land bank at the right location and price points as well as rolling out township products that cater to market demand; and cost control and efficiency by working closely with our group of expertise, namely architects, cost and contract, value engineering, tactical pricing and packaging.

All our campaigns have proven to be successful and have contributed to more than 62% of property sales and boosted confidence in our brand.

We also unveiled the first home personalisation programme called “T.Living” for Freesia Residences at Tropicana Aman, which allows owners to choose their preferred colour themes, fittings and smart-home features for a different home-buying experience.

To strengthen our sales and brand position, we have also reinforced our international presence by strengthening our position in key countries such as China (eight years), Hong Kong (six years) and Taiwan (six years).

We also market our projects and have a presence in Asia (countries such as India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam), Australia and the Middle East (the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia).

And lastly, to continue our ESG commitments, to retain talent and to enhance our digital ecosystem from an internal to an external one to reach Tropicana employees and external stakeholders.

An artist’s impression of Tropicana Cenang in Langkawi

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