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Saturday, December 19, 2009

A growing industry

Emphasis on property management and maintenance is expected to lift the property care services industry going forward.

Property care services is relatively small in Malaysia but it is a growing sector as owners and tenants put more emphasis on property management and maintenance.

Property Care Services (PCS) International managing director Arnaud Bialecki says property maintenance adds value to a property, particularly for commercial buildings like shopping complexes, office buildings and hotels.

Owners or companies will be able to collect better rental with high quality properties, which can be done through property care services - ARNAUD BIALECKI

“Owners or companies will be able to collect better rental with high quality properties, which can be done through property care services,” he tells StarBizWeek in an interview recently.

An associate company of OCS Group UK, PCS is a privately owned company offering a full range of property support services with over 100 years of experience.

Property Care Services (M) Sdn Bhd has been in Malaysia since 1997, with its base in Kuala Lumpur and branches in Penang and Johor.

It currently has 400 staff in Malaysia with plans to increase this by another 600 in five years. It has more than 60,000 employees worldwide. It is more established in Thailand with about 3,000 related companies and a staff strength of 23,000.

In terms of revenue, it is expected to chalk up earnings of RM375mil from its Thailand operations this year compared with Malaysia’s RM7.5mil, with an expected annual growth of 10%.

PCS has established operations in several countries throughout the region such as Cambodia, Bangladesh, India, Austraila and New Zealand.

The company provides integrated property support services, which includes cleaning, washroom and hygiene, pest management and gardening services.

On the Malaysian operations, the company is currently seeking business opportunities with five-star hotels and Grade a buildings. It currently holds a 45% market share in property care services in the local retail market.

Besides its operations in the Klang Valley, PCS is also seeking to expand its business into Sabah and Sarawak in the next two to three years.

The company sees potential for Malaysia to become a major marekt and revenue earner for the group in the future.

“We see opportunity in the tourism industry as new hotels are being set up in East Malaysia, which includes large hotel chains from overseas,” he says.

He says the company also plans to acquire companies in similar business activities in Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East. It plans to venture into Vietnam next year.

On how PCS differentiates itself from its competitors, Bialecki says the company uses a lot of technology, supervision and training.

“We invest in technology and equipment and put a lot of emphasis on staff training using the standards of the British Institute of Cleaning Science,” he says.

On challenges in the property care services industry, Bialecki says human capital is a major problem globally as this is not a glamorous industry.

It is, therefore, hard to retain and recruit people. The percentage of employee turnover for the company in Malaysia is 4%.

Other challenges include the local climate and environmental conditions. “With monsoons, heat and dust, not to mention pollution, it is necessary to take a specialised approach to the professional maintenance of buildings,” he says.

On local market outlook, he says as more buildings are developed, there will be a need for such services.

“However, the market might feel the impact of the economic downturn in 2011 and 2012 as there are less projects being launched since last year. We see a pick-up today and this bodes well for companies like ours,” says Bialecki.

Moving away from the Klang Valley, he says the various projects around the country like the economic corridors would favour property care companies like PCS.

“Our priority in the next few years is to get market share away for our competitors,” he says.

The company’s client base includes BMW, Suria KLCC, Star Hill Shopping Centre, Menara Citibank, YTL Residence and Royal Lake Club.

By The Star (by Lee Kian Seong)

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