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David Lloyd Group in Phuket

A leisure company headed by former British tennis player David Lloyd has formed a joint venture with Thai property developer Sea Pearl Business to develop a Bt100-million sports resort in Phuket.

Published on December 14, 2007

Sea Pearl Business will own 51 per cent of the complex, which is due for completion in May 2009, and the rest by the David Lloyd Group.

It is the British group's first foray into Thailand. It currently operates 87 sports complexes around the world, including in the UK, Dubai and Barbados.

David Lloyd, a former tennis professional turned businessman, said his group was planning to open three more sports complexes in Thailand after the one in Phuket: in Bangkok and Pattaya and on Koh Samui. Each will cost about Bt100 million, depending on the size of the property.

"If we can find small

properties between 2,000

and 2,500 square meters,

we will invest Bt100 million per branch. If we can find

only larger plots of land to develop our projects, we'll have to spend more," he said.

The sports complex in Phuket will be different from others owned by the British group, because it will be part of a residential development called the Absolute Sea Pearl Villas and Spa Resort. Hence, it will be known as a sports resort. The residential development is owned by Sea Pearl Business and will be managed by the Absolute Group. Construction began yesterday.

Sea Pearl Business was established by the Soontornnont family in 1989 and has a registered capital of Bt150 million. It has developed condominium and residential projects in both Bangkok and Chiang Mai and owns the Absolute Sea Pearl Resort in Phuket.

The company recorded sales of Bt300 million last year: Bt200 million from a condominium project in Phuket and the rest from its hotel business.

Sea Pearl Business president Sumit Soontornnont said the company would spend up to Bt900 million to develop the Absolute Sea Pearl Villas and Spa Resort. That includes Bt500 million for 42 rai of land and the rest for the construction of 36 villas and pool

 villas and a low-rise 48-unit condominium.

Sumit said the David Lloyd sports complex would be located on 10 rai in front of the residential project but within its boundaries.

"We believe our residential project will be different from others in Phuket, because we'll have a five-star sports complex at our front door," he said.

The company is also planning to spend Bt400 million next year on another low-rise condominium with 120 residential units called Sea Pearl Prime, in order to meet strong demand in Phuket, he said.

Most of the investments will be made from the company's cash flow.

Sumit said his company had appointed North Shore Real Estate (Thailand), a subsidiary of the Absolute Group, as sales agent for the project. The Absolute Group will manage it under a time-share concept.

Absolute Group chairman Bryan Lunt said his company would spend Bt75 million to buy villas and condominium units in the project to be managed as time-share residences. The organisation has 10,000 members around the world sharing its properties.

The company will also set aside a marketing budget of between Bt25 million and Bt50 million to promote the Absolute Sea Pearl Villas and Spa Resort by conducting roadshows in Hong Kong, China, the UK and Australia next year. As a result, the Absolute Sea Pearl Villas and Spa Resort is expected to be sold out within six to 12 months.

Up to 80 per cent of targeted customers will be foreign investors, with the rest coming from the domestic market. Prices will start at Bt15 million for a condominium unit and Bt20 million for a villa.

Sumit said foreign investors would be offered 30-year leases with the right to renew for a further two 30-year terms.

"We are strongly confident in expanding our investment in Phuket, because there is strong demand from foreigners wanting to buy second homes," he said.

Somluck Srimalee

 The Nation



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