20/06/2006 - 22:00

New era for property moguls

20/06/2006 - 22:00


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Two of the most significant figures in Western Australia’s property and construction industry, Multiplex founder John Roberts and Wyllie Group chairman Bill Wyllie, died during the past year.

Two of the most significant figures in Western Australia’s property and construction industry, Multiplex founder John Roberts and Wyllie Group chairman Bill Wyllie, died during the past year.

They passed their businesses on to the next generation, with Andrew and Tim Roberts working as executive directors of Mulitplex and Melissa Karlson appointed managing director of Wyllie Group last August.

London-based Andrew Roberts has responsibility for Multiplex’s global operations, which in practice means that his younger brother, Tim, is closely involved in local matters.

These have included the construction of the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre, the redevelopment of the Raffles Hotel and the ongoing haggling over the proposed redevelopment of the Cottesloe Hotel.

Satterley Property Group boss Nigel Satterley is considered one of the most influential people in WA’s property industry.

Satterley is WA’s largest residential land development group and has the largest residential project management portfolio in the state.

In 2004-05 the group sold hundreds of residential properties and 3,000 homesites with a total value of more than $400 million.

Satterley also has the most extensive project management portfolio in WA with a total of more than 31,000 lots.

The group currently project manages nine major residential developments – Secret Harbour, Beaumaris, Dalyellup Beach, Brighton Estate, The Grove, Busselton, Kennedy Springs and the New North and New Kwinana Redevelopment Projects.

As well as having commercial influence, Mr Satterley is considered a shrewd networker who operates effectively with government.

Another major property industry player with political involvement is Alcock/Brown-Neaves Group managing director Dale Alcock.

His group is one of the biggest house builders in WA and he has played a leading role in the reform of the apprenticeship system, which has placed significant constraints on the ability of the industry to meet the current strong demand for new houses.

In the past year, Mr Alcock achieved some notable successes with an agreement to cut standard training times from four years down to three, and in some cases two, years.

Another important player is Saracen Properties boss Luke Saraceni, who chairs the Property Council’s WA division.

As well as being a significant developer, with projects such as Vasse Newtown near Busselton, Mr Saraceni also has the ear of government as a member of the WA Planning Commission.

Pivot Group chairman Peter Laurance has been making news over the past year, for two reasons.

His group has started the $260 million Century City retail and office project in central Perth, one of the largest projects in the city for some years, and won control of Axiom Properties in a hotly contested takeover battle against Macquarie Bank and Saracen Properties.

Axiom manages the Port Geographe canal development north of Busselton.

Another major player in the local property industry is Mirvac Fini managing director Adrian Fini.

His group is managing the massive redevelopment of the old Swan Portland site at Burswood, which will be home to a series of apartment towers and associated residential developments.

Mirvac Fini’s latest deal was an agreement with MAP Nominees and Preston Beach Resort to plan the development of a 424-hectare site in Preston Beach, 120 kilometres south of Perth. The site includes more than three kilometers of beach frontage and has the potential to yield 3,000 residential home sites.

Mr Fini joined the board of Mirvac Fini’s parent company, Mirvac Group, in January this year.

Other notable players in the local property sector include listed companies Peet & Co, run by managing director Warwick Hemsley, and Cedar Woods, run by managing director Paul Sadlier.

National groups with substantial operations in WA include Australand, run locally by general manager Chris Lewis, and Stockland, which appointed Nick Duncan as general manager for WA in February.

Government agencies also have a big impact on the property sector, including LandCorp, led by chief executive Ross Holt and, in the inner-city, the East Perth Redevelopment Authority under chief executive Tony Morgan.

The state government has announced plans to combine these two into a single agency that will be able to take charge of large projects across Perth, such as the planned redevelopment of the Perry Lakes sports stadium and the Cockburn Coast development.


Private plays,       major plans


SOME of Australia’s biggest private fortunes have been amassed in Western Australia and, with a few exceptions, the people who built these fortunes still live in the west. But a large fortune does not always translate into power and influence.

Some people, such as Stan Perron, quietly invest their money in relatively passive assets like shopping centres.

Siblings Angela Bennett and Michael Wright, who made their fortunes from iron ore royalties, invest their money privately while Gina Rinehart, whose fortune came from the same source, has worked intensely over the years to establish an operating business.

Mrs Rinehart achieved her dream last year when her company Han-cock Prospecting negotiated a deal with Rio Tinto to develop the Hope Downs iron ore project in the Pilbara.

Kerry Stokes is best known as the chairman of Channel 7 but his private company, Australian Capital Equity, has extensive interests, including the WesTrac business.

Len Buckeridge’s BGC is one of the largest builders in Australia, giving him enormous commercial influence. But his plans to develop a new brickworks and a new port have been stymied by planning and environmental delays.

Rick Stowe’s The Griffin Group is best known for its coal mining interests at Collie and is seeking to expand on that base by building a new power station.


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