Blue Ocean Group of Companies
Blue Ocean Group of Companies has grown into a versatile conglomerate over the years. The evolution of the group is significant because the Group has achieved growth and profit harmoniously and not by taking part in the aggressive competition in the field. Blue Ocean Group of Companies engage in Real Estate, Construction, Engineering, Trading, Education, Travels and Holidays, Entertainment, Consultation and many other fields.
Are customers purchasing apartments or condominiums purely as an investment or do they actually plan to live there?
We have identified three types of customers generally in the market and this segment includes the customers who want to buy apartments purely as an investment, then those who want to buy an apartment as a holiday home (Especially the expats living abroad) and then finally customers who simply desire luxurious living.
It’s all about “Location, Location and Location” they say in real estate and standing by this philosophy we have placed our projects in key areas of the country which has a direct link towards influencing the purchase intention of our customers.
Location is especially a significant sales factor for those who wish to reside in the apartments and call it their “home” and true to the location factor advantage our projects have, majority of our properties have been purchased by those who wish to reside in them and call it their ‘home’. Other aspects a customer may ponder prior to a sales decision include factors such as the design, functionality, facilities offered, reputation and the quality of the previously completed apartment projects all of which is above the standard requirements expected in the industry as it is one of our promises to always “Exceed customer expectations to achieve the dream luxury living they seek a reality.” Sometimes in order to achieve this, we have to even customize standard condominiums into specific requirements of the customers.
Is there adequate demand to justify the boom in apartment construction, especially in the luxury segment?
We are quite aware that many without prior experience or knowledge in the industry have made baseless predictions as to there will be a drop in demand or claiming that the market will reach its point of saturation soon.
However, this is an exaggerated claim far above the truth, as we are quite aware as a market leader about the behavioural aspects of this housing market.
Many of the Sri Lankan nationals who left the country previously during the civil war and having lived overseas until now in Europe, Australia, Canada and USA have begun returning to their country of birth seeking an abode for retirement which also will provide them with a sense of belonging and the opportunity to be amongst family and friends. Further, Our Conducive climate in comparison to the countries mentioned above and the religious cultural traditions makes them reminisce the yester years.
As a result, vast numbers of expats are looking to buy apartments for both investment and accommodation purposes. Since of late, purchase of condominiums in Sri Lanka by high net-worth expats has seen an exponential growth.
Accurate research by those who intend to purchase property here would indicate that the prices of apartment buildings in our country continue to be attractive when compared with other property prices in Europe, Hong Kong or even China.
The government’s commendable decision to grant a temporary residence visa for a period of two years (extendable on expiry), under the ‘Dream Home’ policy has encouraged many retired expatriates who are looking to migrate to warmer countries, to consider investing a stipulated amount of money towards purchasing property in our country. Similar visa facilities and schemes have helped countries such as Malaysia and Dubai to successfully attract pensioners and retirees.
However, it must also be stated that despite the government’s decision to go ahead with such schemes, the implementation of such policies and processes have been rather slow to be adopted by the relevant authorities, due to the lack of clarity in them.
How can we look towards attracting more people to settle in our country?
One positive way in which this could be achieved is by promoting Sri Lanka as a destination for higher education and learning. By being a lecturer myself, I know that our standards of education and coaching methods, through our simplified learning methods, could be compared with the best in this region.
We have in our country several reputed colleges and private universities which could easily be regarded as part of such a plan to attract international students. This would ideally bring in much valued foreign exchange and an automatic requirement for dwelling spaces for students and their guardians.
Sri Lanka also has extreme potential to attract those seeking medical treatment in our region, such as patients who travel to India, to visit our own country towards obtaining the same. We definitely have the necessary infrastructure to act as a medical hub for the region, while considering the number of private hospitals which are efficient and the doctors who are available here for consultation.
Our hospitals and treatment centres do not lack advanced equipment and we already have patients from other countries staying over for prolonged treatment procedures through our centuries old native treatment and remedy.
The Immigration Department already offers visa for those obtaining medical treatment and this, as mentioned previously, would ideally enhance the requirement for long term lodging solutions. The government authorities should clearly take adequate steps to promote this concept due to its immense potential, while considering that even those patients, who seek medical treatment for simple illnesses at the NHS in the United Kingdom, are required to stand in long queues.
Does our public utility systems such as the provision of water, electricity and telecommunications have the capacity to cater to the entire number of high rise residential complexes?
This question contradicts what we spoke of earlier, where we discussed a lack of buyers for the completed high rise housing complexes, as we now discuss the ability to accommodate the extra demand for utilities. Through economies of scale, the government owned public loss making utility companies could actually begin to generate profits by their supply of such utilities to apartment buildings.
The government is capable of expanding the service of its utility companies to provide the entire requirement, but needs to plan out its strategy in the long term, to ensure continuity without a frequent breakdown in services.
In which parts of the country do you see the most growth, in terms of real estate – and why?
Despite what has been mentioned in the media, we developers continue to maintain a cordial business relationship, through which we discuss new project locations amicably and avoid treading on each other’s toes.
However, Colombo will remain as the primary location for dwelling when you consider how well the city is established with its government departments, schools, hotels, places of worship, proximity to the airport, entertainment locations etc.
It is said that your Group has been recognized as the leading construction company in the country. Could you please tell us about these credentials?
Our Group earned the prestigious Sri Lanka’s Best Developer award at Asia Property Awards 2017 organized by Property Guru Asia in Singapore in 2017 along with other awards for Best Interior Design, Best Condo Architecture Design and Best Sustainable Development.
In addition, in January 2018, we bagged the Asia’s Greatest Brands and Leaders 2017 Award. This event was organized by the “Asia One” magazine and United Research Services (URS) and the entire process underwent the strict review of the renowned Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC)
The competition was among Asia’s 100 Greatest Brands & their Leaders, from 16 leading industries, 52 sub industries in 7 Asian countries. Hence, Blue Ocean’s victory is not only a recognition for its excellence but also an international recognition for its motherland, Sri Lanka too.
However, in my opinion, the great trust our customers had kept in us is the best asset we have earned so far and the peaceful life they lead in our apartments is the best award we could expect.
What would you say are the latest trends/innovations in the real estate space?
Despite the possibility of using new methods of construction such as pre-cast concrete and steel structures which affords speedy construction, at Blue Ocean we have stuck to our time tested methods of building, through the use of bricks, which reduces the heat and allows the building to remain cool within.
Our award winning architecture, new styles and designs continue to be recognised even in European countries.
How intense is market competition – and what strategies do you employ to stay ahead?
As our company’s name suggests Competition is irrelevant to Blue Ocean for we follow the blue ocean concept and as we continue to innovate through our own style of quality construction and have created a great demand for our housing projects. And despite the presence of approximately 23 Chinese and other developers, the demand and sales of our apartments have never been higher, which clearly indicates growth.
Your opinion about the present and future status of real estate industry in Sri Lanka?
At present the trend is quite satisfactory and there is still a lot of room for growth. I am happy to say that the market is sound, well and fundamentally driven. We see no impending issues. As Sri Lanka sails forth towards unprecedented development, Real Estate sector has become ever so significant as the backbone of the country’s economy.
Sri Lanka’s real estate industry is driven forward by a set of expert players that place emphasis on innovation, strategy and sustainable growth. This was evident in the manner the industry quickly made its rapid progress after three decades of the civil war and now holding a significant role in the country’s economy.
With the experience and expertise already gained, our team targets the to become a globally respected and successful business conglomerate by achieving excellence in all our endeavors in Sri Lanka and all new frontiers.
Further, the Group’s consistent year on year improvement in financial results is a signal of the financial sustainability of its business model. To ensure the sustainability of the social and environmental aspects associated with our business, we continue to embrace best practices for social and environmental management. From a social perspective, our infrastructure projects across the country have a significant bearing on the communities in the area and improved the standard of living of our stakeholders. Our work to empower these communities has no doubt in Blue Ocean Group being an exemplary corporate citizen in Sri Lanka.
By their remarkable achievement of engaging approximately over 35 projects and 1250 condominium units in 10 cities, Blue Ocean remains a largest property developer in its industry.