History/Milestones


 

The Group had its beginnings in 1957 in a small store in High Street, Singapore measuring 250 square metres. That store, founded by the late Mr Ong Tjoe Kim, flourished and grew to become one of Singapore’s major department store chains.

Metro Holdings Ltd was formed in 1973 to take over the three then existing Metro department stores and was listed on the Stock Exchange of Singapore that same year. The Group then grew its retail business and diversified into the property development, construction, marketing and distribution and leisure sectors. Today, the Group focuses on its two core business segments - property development and investment, and retail.

Metro’s initial involvement in property development commenced with the search for a prime retail district Orchard Road location for a Metro department store and resulted in the acquisition of Orchard Square Development Corporation Pte Ltd (“OSDC”) in 1976. OSDC held a 99 year lease for a prime site, Orchard Square, with frontage along Orchard Road, Singapore. After a period of delays in obtaining planning permission and resolution of issues with the lessor, construction work commenced in 1989 on Ngee Ann City, a retail cum office complex. On completion in 1993, OSDC’s 27% stake yielded 34,731 square metres of gross leasable area. Meanwhile in 1987, Metrobilt ventured into China and secured a joint venture to develop an office tower in Guangzhou, China. The collapse of the stock markets in 1987 prevented this development from proceeding until 1992. In 1993, joint ventures were established to develop Metro Tower, an office building, and Metro City, an entertainment centre, in Xujiahui, Shanghai, China. This was followed by more joint ventures to develop properties in China, as well as in Penang, Malaysia, in subsequent years.

Metro is one of Singapore’s major retail companies and the department store business is a household name in Singapore. The department store business subsequently expanded into Malaysia and Indonesia. The Metrojaya business in Malaysia was later spun-off into a separate listed vehicle before divestment. At various points over the years, Metro has been instrumental in introducing into Singapore various brands such as TOYS “R” US, Kmart, Cartier, Piaget, Tag-Heuer and Burberry.



  • First Metro store opened in High Street, Singapore’s then busiest shopping district.



  • Metro Holdings Ltd incorporated and listed on the main board of the Stock Exchange of Singapore with
    3 department stores operational.

 



  • Orchard Square Development Corp (OSDC), which owns a leased plot of land along Singapore’s main shopping district, Orchard Road, is acquired.
  • Metrojaya commences department store business in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • Metrobilt Construction formed to participate in building and construction industry.

 



  • Transmarco set up to take over wholesale division of Group.

 



  • Group enters fine watch market through establishment of Hour Glass.

 



  • Transmarco Ltd Group created, comprising Hour Glass fine watch business, DTS business equipment and Cartier and Piaget agencies, and listed on Stock Exchange of Singapore.

 



  • Hour Glass business divested.
  • Metrobilt enters into joint venture to develop office property in Guangzhou, China.

 



  • Ground breaking ceremony of Ngee Ann City retail/office development along Orchard Road in joint venture
    with Ngee Ann Kongsi.

 



  • Metrojaya Berhad listed on Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.

 


  • Metro sets up its first department store in Jakarta.

 



  • GIE Tower office project in Guangzhou, China revived.
  • Shanghai Roway Real Estate Development Ltd set up to develop low-cost housing in Shanghai, China.

 



  • Formal approval received for joint development in Xujiahui, Shanghai of Metro Tower and Metro City,
    respectively an office tower and an entertainment centre.
  • Divestment of Metrojaya Bhd.
  • Ngee Ann City, OSDC’s 27% held retail and office complex along Orchard Road, is completed.

 



  • Land for the Groupís 24.5% held Gurney Park retail/hotel/residential development in Penang, Malaysia is acquired.
  • Divestment of Transmarco Ltd.

 



  • Land for a resort hotel development is acquired in Cairns, Australia.
  • Gurney Park launches sale of condominium units in Penang, Malaysia.

 



  • GIE Tower, a 35-storey office tower in Guangzhou is completed. The Group holds 62.5%.
  • Metro department store business moves into suburban market in Singapore.

 



  • Group expands leisure business with launch of Sun Cruises and acquisition of Sun Vista and Sun Viva passenger vessels.
  • Metro Tower, a 26-storey office tower in Shanghai is completed.
  • The 314-room, The Oasis Resort, Cairns, Australia opens its doors.

 



  • Metro City, a nine storey entertainment complex in Shanghai, opens.
  • Phase II of Shanghai Roway low-cost housing project completely sold out.

 



  • Loss of Sun Vista at sea without any loss of life.

 



  • Group exits cruise business.
  • All condominium units in Gurney Park, Penang, Malaysia sold out.

 



  • The 700,000 square feet Gurney Plaza mall in Penang, Malaysia is completed.

 



  • Groupís 27% interest in Ngee Ann City is securitised. Group subscribes for 30% of junior bonds issued.

 



  • Group subscribes for US$50 million of convertible redeemable participating preference shares in Shui On Land Ltd.
  • Group invests US$25 million in International Commerce & Trade Plaza, a 290,000 square metre wholesale
    trade centre in Urumuqi, Xinjiang, China.

 



  • Group disposes of the 30% junior bonds issued on the securitisation of the 27% interest in Ngee Ann City.
  • The Oasis Resort, Cairns, was divested in mid 2005.

 



  • Group invests in 50% of the development of a 92,000 square metre retail mall, Metro City, Beijing, in the
    Chaoyang District, Beijing.
  • Shui On Land Ltd (ďSOLĒ) converts the Metro Groupís holding of SOLís convertible redeemable participating preference shares into 3.5% of SOLís ordinary shares upon the IPO of SOL. The Group disposes 1.7% of SOL at the IPO.
  • The Group invests in US$15 million of bonds issued by the majority owner of Crowne Plaza Hotel, Beijing.

 



  • Metro City, Beijing, a 5-storey, 2-basement retail mall with almost 117,000 square metres of nett lettable area,
    is completed during the year and soft opens.
  • The Group invests in US$16million of bonds issued by the majority owner of SKY Plaza Beijing.
  • Group acquires a 45% stake in 1 Financial Street, an office project under development in Beijing, which comprises a twin tower office project with over 77,000 square metres of leasable space.
  • Gurney Plaza in Penang, Malaysia is disposed of.
  • Group acquires an effective 20% interest in EC Mall, a 6-storey, 4-basement retail mall and Metropolis Tower, a 19-storey, 4-basement office tower, both under development in Beijing.

 



 



 



 



 



  • Divested 50% owned Metro City Beijing
  • Group acquires 40% interest in 23,785 square metre site for residential development for sale at Prince Charles Crescent, Singapore.
  • The Group acquires a 30% interest in a 269,455 square metre site in Nanchang, Jianxi Province, PRC for mixed-use commercial, office, residential and entertainment development.

 



  • Warehouse property at 100H Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore is disposed.
  • The Group's effective interest in EC Mall, a 6-storey, 4-basement retail mall in Beijing, raised to 50%
  • Group acquires a 30% interest in 284 residential units in Shanghai Shama Century Park
  • Group acquires additional 13.66% equity stake in Top Spring International Holdings Limited

 


 


  • Divested 50% owned EC Mall.
  • Group commits to invest US$57 million in InfraRed NF China Real Estate Fund II (A), L.P.
  • Frontier Koishikawa Building, an office building in Tokyo, is divested.

 


  • Group acquires a 50% interest in a office development land site in Sheffield, United Kingdom. The development is Sheffield Digital Campus.