Real estate investors operate behind the scenes, pour big money into projects

Although the property market has been in a slump for years, some big investors have never been idle and have continued to seek attractive projects.

The CEO Group, for example, is going to kick off construction of Sonasea Villas & Resort, capitalized at VND4.5 trillion on Phu Quoc Island. This surprised many people.

To date, the CEO Group has developed real estate projects mostly in Hanoi, including the CEO Tower, Sunny Garden City urban area and Chi Dong new urban area.

According to some property developers, it is nearly impossible for a northern business to obtain a project on Phu Quoc Island because the land there, as valuable as gold, has been fully occupied.

President of CEO Group Doan Van Binh said he had luckily met Phu Quoc Investment and Development company which was seeking investors to replace overseas Vietnamese who had withdrawn because of financial problems. So he decided to take over the two resort and golf course projects.

The details of the deal had been kept secret for a long time until the CEO Group announced the start of the project implementation.

CEO’s deal is one of many deals made in silence. Analysts said the real estate market has remained active underground.

Ana Mandara and An Lam Ninh Van Bay Resorts in Khanh Hoa Province have reportedly changed hands though it’s unclear when the deal was wrapped up exactly.

The real estate community only recently discovered that Him Lam Group has taken over a 35-hectare project which once belonged to Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group.

The information about the deal worth VND1 trillion was released at a group’s shareholders’ meeting only recently.

Him Lam Group is believed to be the “big guy” behind many other transactions. However, the deals remain secret.

“The deals made public are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’. Meanwhile, many other deals are made secretly,” said Phan Xuan Can, chair of SohoVietnam, a real estate brokerage firm.

Can said at least three deals have been successful in recent months with his consultancy.

However, the information about the deals has not been made public. These include a deal under which a Vietnamese firm successfully sold a 35-storey building project on Pham Hung Road in Cau Giay District.

Reporters have confirmed that a new signboard hangs on the building, which indicates that FLC has taken over the project.

Can said that in most cases, both sellers and buyers do not want to expose information to the public, unless they have to, because of complicated procedures.

It is still questionable who is buying real estate projects when the market is still stagnant.

Gemadept Tower, Legend Saigon and Movenpick Saigon have all been transferred to foreign investors recently.

However, Can said it is a misunderstanding that only foreign investors are capable of taking over huge projects. In fact, there are more domestic investors than foreign ones.

Besides familiar names like Novaland, Him Lam and Dat Xanh, there are also new names like the CEO Group, FLC Group and Lai Chau Construction Private Enterprise involved in major real estate deals.


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