Thinking Outside the Box
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Stuart Parker
Since speaking with Mobus Property (Mobus) just over a year ago, considerable efforts have been made to strengthen the Company image through an extensive rebranding strategy that addresses every aspect of the value chain. Now boasting more than US$100 million of property development on the books and more than 150,000 square metres of land under development for commercial, residential and industrial purposes, the Company is leveraging its high levels of success in order to move into new countries and also explore medium-sized residential developments to further expand its portfolio.
“Given the unexpected loss of our Chief Executive Officer (CEO) last February, we have been working hard to come back stronger, and also show the public a front of solidarity; that Mobus is here to stay and will continue to uphold if not exceed the same values and standards that we were known for before,” says the new CEO, Kojo Ansah Mensah.
With this change in senior management comes a new aptitude for project fundraising, investing in more assets and brand upliftment in order to improve access to long-term capital to sustain the Company into the future.
With the award-winning Knight Court apartment complex in Accra completed and 100 percent sold, and the Phoenix villas cluster development in East Legon nearing completion, Mobus is focusing its energies on geographical expansion into other West African markets; starting with Nigeria.
Mobus Property had previously focused on the high-end segment of the commercial and residential markets, but economic dynamics in Ghana have pushed the Company to test new markets. “We thrive off market trends and have the expertise to move into several fields, which is why we identified Nigeria as the first logical step for geographical expansion. With the approaching year being an election year in Ghana, pressures on the Ghana Cedi currency could exacerbate the tightening of the economy, which demands that our product offering and geographical plan should be diversified and expanded accordingly,” explains Ansah Mensah.
“As a consequence of my background as CEO for Houses for Africa Nigeria Ltd, a holding of the Jonah Group of companies, Nigeria was identified as the next logical step for development. Along with other partners, I had previously overseen the River Park Estate development - a 475 hectare estate in Abuja - and so my experience here has shown me that the country has the potential to be a key growth market for Mobus,” he highlights.
Ansah Mensah is now working to fully integrate his experience into Mobus by instigating the merger of Houses for Africa Nigeria and Mobus Property over the course of the next year as part of a plan for long-term growth.
One of the key trends Mobus has been monitoring as of late is in the commercial sector in Accra where there has been a glut of office spaces that has been negatively impacting rentals as a result. However, Mobus is proud to have achieved almost 100 percent occupancy of themore than 5,000m2 Capital Place office, a feat which is rare in the current market.
Aside from this, several companies have developed the appetite for owning their own commercial office spaces. Ansah Mensah explains: “Mobus will leverage on our experience garnered over the years in this space to seek collaborations with such companies in the areas of joint ownerships and development management roles.
“As a dynamic organisation, our activities must be in consonance with the shifting market conditions without necessarily losing focus on our core objectives. After aggressively re-entering the market to demonstrate our competence and confidence to succeed, we are now looking to extend our brand beyond our traditional high-end niche to the growing middle-income sector with an offering of affordable luxurious housing.”
The Company’s first foray into this segment is the upcoming development in Santeo, East Legon Hills, a fast growing community in Accra. The company intends to roll out between 350 to 400 homes as part of the development, served by a community shopping centre, clubhouse, church and children’s playground.
Given the need to address the two million home housing deficit in Ghana, Ansah Mensah hopes this mixed-use development will be the first of many for Mobus, identifying this as a “key market for the future”.
He summarises: “I am proud to say we have chalked great successes even in these difficult economic times. Mobus is stronger now, with a team of dedicated skilled and non-skilled staff combined with a good pipeline of projects that are coming together nicely,” Ansah Mensah says.
As the 2016 election year approaches in Ghana, this year is all about cost-control across the value chain. One of the ways that Mobus will address this is with the application of technology to reinforce internal systems, making them more efficient through vertical integration. “From financial planning to procurement, we now have a database from which to manage our projects which serves to eliminate costs that don’t necessarily add value to the business. The result will be less time spent on external methodologies to manage the business, freeing up valuable staff time and costs to focus on continuous improvement of other aspects of the business,” Ansah Mensah emphasises.
As a result, Mobus staff can now spend more time focusing on managing local and international partner relationships. Continent-wide, the Company has partnerships with several major developers and reputable financial institutions, such as Land Equity in South Africa and Stanlib. “Our relationships are getting stronger across all the sectors in which we work and reinforcing these will contribute significantly to our position in both Ghana and Nigeria in the long-term,” he added.
In line with its continuous improvement strategy and uptake of technology, Mobus Property has launched a new website which Ansah Mensah says is part of a much wider brand upliftment approach: “When Richard passed away, the market understandably reacted so we had to come out stronger in every way and show Mobus is still very much alive. Part of this strategy was to upgrade the website and my personal goal is to keep boosting the Mobus brand to make it a more dynamic and involving for potential clients.”
Continuing a legacy
With 2016 being an election year in Ghana, Mobus is preparing for these even tougher economic conditions by adding residential projects in Nigeria to its repertoire, while making the brand more visible and delivering consistent quality property; both on-time and on-budget in order to maintain steady growth patterns.
“By increasing our use of technology to aid internal processes, we will streamline the business in order to cut costs and adapt to the economic climate. Moreover, with all projects still on track for timely completion, we are well-equipped for the move into Nigeria where we can showcase our offering to a new market and further increase the range of projects in our portfolio.
“All of the above serves to grow the business as a valued name for quality property development, design and management, cementing the legacy of the late Richard Jonah through the bolstering of our portfolio, services and partner relationships,” Ansah Mensah concludes.