Canada's Mercan Group has entered into a partnership agreement with four local real estate and financial companies to attract more players into the Cambodian real estate market, and create new investment opportunities abroad for local investors.

On February 18, Zillennium Co Ltd (Z1 Group), Z1 Financial, Century 21 Fortuna Investment, Mercan Group and its local subsidiary Mercadia Cambodia signed a memorandum of understanding to this end, with a special focus on potential EU investors in the Kingdom, according to a joint statement.

“This partnership will enable Cambodian investors access to profitable investment projects,” Mercan Group president and CEO Jerry Morgan said in the statement, adding that his company has invested in 40 projects in the US and 15 in Portugal.

Century 21 Fortuna Investment CEO Va Vireak said Portugal not only boasts high potential for property investments, but its security situation and modern health care system make it an attractive place to live in, with living costs among the lowest in the EU.

“Property investment in Portugal is attractive. Foreigners can secure loans of up to 70 per cent of property value, with a 30 per cent down payment. Interest rates are … relatively low at 1.2 per cent per year.

“This cooperation will also make it easier for Cambodian investors seeking partnerships with others investors from the EU member states, to invest in Cambodia’s potential sectors, especially real estate,” the statement quoted him as saying.

According to the statement, Mercan Group is one of Canada’s largest and most successful immigration investment companies. Established in 1989 by Jerry Morgan, Mercan Capital Ltd has emerged as a major player in the field of immigration.

The Mercan Group of companies comprises five firms, specialising in the fields of immigration, investment, education and foreign worker recruitment. It has its head office in Montreal, Canada with regional offices across Canada, throughout Asia, Middle East, Europe, Africa and the US.

With decades of experience in immigration, investment and recruitment consulting, Mercan Group has built an international network of offices in Canada, China, Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, the UAE and US, as well as agent offices in over 30 countries, the statement said.

It added that Mercan has helped bring more than 50,000 foreign immigrants to Canada, and 15,000 foreign workers to Canada, Malaysia, the US, Middle East, and Caribbean islands. The group has raised over $1.5 billion in foreign investment capital for various projects in Canada, the US and Portugal, “under the investor immigrants category”.

The real estate and construction sector was the largest engine of growth in years leading up to 2019, contributing more than a third of Cambodia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth and mostly represented by foreign direct investment (FDI), according to the World Bank.

FDI inflows into the Kingdom reached $3.4 billion in 2019 and $3.6 billion in 2020.