Singapore urban planning consultancy expands overseas investment

SINGAPORE - Surbana Jurong Private Ltd, a Singapore-based urban planning consultancy, said it had signed two deals valued at US$69.2 million (S$98.4 million) in total to increase its exposure outside the city-state and capitalise on growing urbanisation in emerging markets.

Surbana Jurong, one of Asia's largest consultancies for urbanisation and infrastructure developments, said it had agreed to take a 20 percent stake in CITICC (Africa) Holdings Ltd.

CITICC (Africa) is a US$300 million platform set up by the World Bank's International Financial Company and China's CITIC Construction Co to develop affordable housing in Africa.

Emerging economies led by China and India have seen rapid urbanisation, giving opportunities for companies to provide planning and building services for projects such as business parks, residences and hospitals.

Surbana Jurong said it is aiming to grow its annual fee-based income to S$1 billion-to-S$1.5 billion over the next three to five years from about S$500 million currently.

Currently, 54 percent of the world's population lives in urban areas, and that is predicted to increase to 66 percent by 2050, with much of the growth in developing countries, U.N. figures show.

Global infrastructure spending will grow from an annual US$4 trillion in 2012 to more than $9 trillion per year by 2025, according to consultancy PwC, while the Asia-Pacific market, will represent nearly 60 percent of that spending by 2025.

Separately, Surbana Jurong, jointly owned by state investor Temasek Holdings and state-owned industrial property developer and planner JTC Corp, decided to invest US$9.25 million in FLUX Factory Inc, a San Francisco-based software firm dedicated to eco-friendly building design.