Local developers SP Setia Bhd and Sime Darby Property Bhd recently made headlines with the sale of Phase 2 of Battersea Power Station Commercial Assets to Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Board for RM8.35 bil.

But just what is Battersea Power Station, and why is it so important? For those unfamiliar with the iconic London landmark, read on to find out more about its history and Malaysia’s involvement with the site.

The Heritage of Yesteryear

Located in South West London, Battersea Power Station was built in two parts, with the first coming up in the 1930s and the second in the 1950s. It was the first of a wave of “superstations” conceived to address Britain’s growing demand for electricity, powering 20% of London at its peak.

While it ceased generating power in 1983, the structure, with its iconic four-chimney silhouette, it has found enduring popularity in pop culture worldwide, with tributes from artistes such as Canadian rapper Drake and rock group Pink Floyd to appearances in films like Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla and Alfred Hitchcock’s Sabotage.

In 2012, following several failed redevelopment attempts, the site was placed for sale on the open market for the first time, with a Malaysian consortium comprising Sime Darby, SP Setia and EPF emerging as its new owners.

The move was hailed as a rare opportunity for domestic developers to showcase their expertise internationally, even more so due to the high-profile nature of the project. As such, Malaysians can take pride in the fact that local players have made their mark on the world stage. Today, plans for the site include the Grade II-listed power station as well 42 surrounding acres.

Anatomy of an Icon


Redevelopment included the restoration of the Grade-II listed power station and its iconic chimneys.

The Battersea Power Station masterplan moving forward encompasses residential, commercial and office components for development in seven phases, in line with contemporary preferences for integrated projects – which can be seen in the Malaysian property segment as well.

Designed by international architecture firm Rafael Vinoly and approved by the UK Secretary of State in 2010, the masterplan’s first four phases comprise: the Circus West Village mixed development (Phase 1), the Power Station itself (Phase 2), Electric Boulevard and Malaysia Square (Phase 3) and affordable housing (Phase 4), with subsequent phases still in the planning phase.

In total, the reimagined site is planned to feature 4,364 new homes, 1.25 million sq ft of office spaces and 700,000 sq ft of retail, with 140,000 sq ft dedicated to hospitality. An underground station is also planned for Battersea Power Station as an extension of the Northern line, and is projected for opening in 2020.

The site’s residential properties have set prime transaction prices, with interest from high-profile personalities such as Sting, who purchased a unit in 2014. More recently, Christine McVie, vocalist from British-American rock group Fleetwood Mac, set a selling price of £3.45 mil (RM18.21 mil) for her penthouse in October.

“We are pleased with the sale of the Phase 2 commercial assets. It will bode well with our business plans as we continue to play a major role in the overall development of this iconic project. SP Setia is fully committed and positive on the long-term prospects of the project,” said SP Setia President and CEO Datuk Khor Chap Jen.


SP Setia will continue to play a role in the development of Battersea, said Khor.

His sentiments were echoed by Sime Darby Property Group Managing Director Amrin Awaluddin, who said: “This is an important milestone in the development of the Battersea Power Station site, and it is a strong sign of confidence in the long-term success of this global property icon. We are pleased to have secured this commitment from two of Malaysia’s leading institutions.”

Extrapolating from Khor’s statement, the sale, which is to be completed in Q1 2019, can be seen as a strategic move. As commercial assets tend to be long-term investment assets, the change of ownership would facilitate all respective parties in focusing on their respective strengths of property development and long-term investment management.

The mechanics of the sale will see the transfer of ownership to PNB-Kwasa International 2 Ltd, a joint venture vehicle between EPF and PNB.

Following the transaction, London-based Battersea Power Station Development Company (BPSDC) will continue to manage the project, with subsidiaries of BPSDC Battersea Power Station Asset Management Ltd and Battersea Power Station Estate Management Ltd serving as asset and property manager respectively for the Power Station in its first 10 years.

Domestic analysts such as CIMB Research have been positive on SP Setia and Sime Darby following the move, citing the fair value of the acquisition and timely progress on the site, as well as the aforementioned strategic realignment.

However, the financial benefits of the disposal would only be accounted for once delivery and leasing of the assets are substantially completed. In the meantime, home seekers and investors may want to review existing SP Setia and Sime Darby properties, leveraging on the performance and pedigree of these listed developers.  

(By Aliff Yusri)

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