Chinese state-owned engineering and construction John Holland is set to diversify into residential development and hotel investments with a $1.1 billion budget funded by its new parent company, Chinese infrastructure and engineering behemoth CCCC International Holding. John Holland will establish a new development and investments group which will generate new business in property development, infrastructure public-private partnerships, and merger and acquisition opportunities, a John Holland spokeswoman confirmed.
“John Holland continues to focus on its core business within the infrastructure, building and rail markets,” she said.
“As part of our strategy for additional growth, we have established a new development and investments group. We are also looking at the further expansion of our business in international markets. Our new parent company, CCCI, continues to provide us with strong support in these endeavours.”
John Holland’s executive general manager in development and investments, and a former infrastructure executive at investment firm Babcock & Brown, Tom Roche, will head the new group.
Hong Kong listed CCCI, the wholly owned subsidiary of the $32 billion Chinese engineering powerhouse China Communications Construction Company, acquired John Holland from Leighton Holdings last year, also for $1.1 billion.
The acquisition makes CCCI one of the largest construction companies after Leighton and Lendlease.
Interest in Sydney sites
John Holland and CCCI are said to be looking at prime Sydney sites, including the Sydney Fish Markets site which the NSW government’s urban transformation division Urban Growth had earmarked as a future residential precinct , part of the Sydney Bays Precinct renewal in the inner west.
This could set John Holland up against another Chinese competitor for the site, property developer Shanghai-based Dahua, which had already scored two major land subdivisions in Sydney’s south-west.
The company is also looking at prime sites in the Sydney central business district for development, with a preference to undertake residential development in partnership with local residential specialists, sources have said.
It is also eyeing Grocon’s IMAX development site at Sydney’s Darling Harbour, which is up for sale, sources have indicated.
Grocon is looking for office tenants for the complex while running a “concurrent” sale process on the high-profile site which has been slated to become an $800 million office and retail complex known as The Ribbon.
John Holland, a name synonymous with engineering and construction in Australia, is building tunnels and stations for Sydney’s $8 billion Sydney Metro Northwest and developing part of Victoria’s new Regional Rail Link.
Recently it completed the Kings Square 1 tower for CIMIC Group’s Leighton Properties, as part of the wider $4 billion Perth City Link project. Earlier this month, it was awarded the contract to deliver the first section of NorthLink Western Australia.
The company, established in 1949 by Sir John Holland, has passed through many hands before CCCI, including Janet Holmes à Court’s Heytesbury.
CCCI’s parent, China Communications Construction Company, is the largest listed company in the international infrastructure and engineering sector with 100,000 employees and a 165 ranking on the Fortune Global 500 in 2015.
It also dabbles in urban development and property development. CCCI is its financing arm for overseas business.