Wed, Dec 28, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Evertrust eyes expansion to boost revenue

DOMINATION:The agency is looking to take advantage of the economic slowdown to increase its number of outlets by 16 percent as expansion costs are lower now

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff Reporter

Evertrust Rehouse Co (永慶房屋), the nation’s largest real-estate agency by number of outlets, aims to increase its revenues by 20 percent next year, driven by the commercial property business as the housing sector stalls, a senior executive said yesterday.

“The company’s 10 percent year-on-year revenue decline to NT$6.3 billion [US$207.84 million] is attributable to the implementation of the special sales levy [in June],” Evertrust president Benson Liao (廖本勝) told reporters prior to the company’s year-end dinner for employees.

Commercial property and land transactions have emerged unscathed by the tax thus far, thanks to ample liquidity and low interest rates, Liao said.

According to Liao, the agency is seeking to take advantage of the ongoing economic slowdown and expand its number of outlets by 16 percent to 1,000 next year.

The increase in outlets is -expected to help boost the company’s sales by 20 percent next year and its market share from 12 percent to 16 percent, Liao said.

“Sluggish housing transactions are pushing some peers out of the market,” he said. “To me, the trend spells opportunity for personnel recruitment and business expansion.”

Evertrust employees nationwide have been told to keep an eye on rival offices in prime locations that might be buyout targets, Liao said, adding that acquisition costs would be higher in boom times.

Liao expects home transfers to fall an extra 10 percent to 330,000 units next year after seeing a 10 percent correction to 360,000 units this year from last year.

More people will stay on the sidelines until the economy shows clear signs of stabilization, Liao said.

The presidential election on Jan. 14 is adding to the cautious sentiment, he said. The upscale home segment, in particular, is more sensitive to potential changes in cross-strait policy, he added.

“Luxury homes might see a significant pricing correction if Taiwan reverses its trade ties with China, scaring away foreign -capital,” Liao said.

Typical homes nationwide are likely to see a 10 percent price correction next year as a result of unfavorable government policies, he said.

While the recently passed housing transaction registration rule is harmless, it might cause serious damage if the government uses the data for tax purposes, Liao said.

The situation is worse in Shanghai, China, where Evertrust remains unprofitable after a series of tightening measures saw sales plunge to 6,000 units a month in the second half of this year, down 40 percent from 10,000 units in the first half, he said.

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