FORMER Bond Corp Holdings chairman Mr Peter Lucas is to set up an office of First Pacific Davies in Australia as a franchise operation. Mr Lucas has teamed up with former FPD general manager Mr Walter Carpenter to set up FPD (Australia). FPD will not have an equity stake in the Australian consultancy though, through the franchise, it takes FPD into a market that chairman Mr David Davies has been eyeing for years. The new firm aims to serve Asian investors in Australia and to help Australians access the Asian market. It starts operations in March. Mr Lucas was right-hand man to Mr Alan Bond at Bond Corp and took over from him in 1990 when Mr Bond stepped down ahead of bankruptcy proceedings. Before that Mr Lucas had headed the group's Hongkong listed operation Bond Corp International (BCIL) and oversaw a controversial attempt to privatise it in 1989 just two years after listing on the local exchange. Shareholders overwhelmingly rejected the plan. Despite the problems of Bond Corp, Mr Lucas had a generally good reputation in the territory's business community. During that period FPD handled BCIL's whirlwind property deals which included the $1.4 billion purchase of Hongkong Land's residential property portfolio and the purchase and later sale in two tranches of the Bond Centre. FPD also managed BCIL properties. The Australian franchise is the latest in a series of moves that have turned FPD Hongkong into a fully-fledged property services company that analysts believe could be ripe for a future stock market listing. Moves into management services and, with last year's acquisition of Guardforce, the security business have turned it into more of a cashflow business. One broker said FPD had a reputation for sound management and might enjoy a premium to other listed First Pacific vehicles. The Guardforce acquisition from Mr Lee Ming-tee's Allied Group was the final step in the transformation to management and services company. Subsidiary First Pacific Land paid $396 million for 80 per cent of the security firm and will buy a further 10 per cent from senior management this year. Paying out the cash for Guardforce meant virtually emptying the resources of First Pacific Land. It had been set up as a five-year property fund due to end its lifespan this year. Mr Davies said the decision was taken not to roll over the fund as it was decided that it would never amount to a major player. ''FP Land was something that we wanted to do to create a meaningful company within the Asian market but it is very capital intensive and we weren't able to do all we wanted to do,'' he said. ''If we had the capital we would be into the property market here but we don't have the resources to be a major player, or to get involved in crown land auctions, for example.'' He added that shareholders in the fund had nonetheless made good returns. Looking after the Bond property portfolio built a platform for the development of a property management business that became a mainstay with the $85 million purchase of Guardian Investment Holdings in 1991. The FPD group now has a turnover of about $1 billion a year and 5,500 employees.