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Thursday, 27 April 2017

(The Star) Developer launches condo project in Damansara Damai

Property developer MK Land Holdings Bhd’s latest project in Damansara Damai, Residensi Suasana@Damai will appeal to those seeking an urban retreat in lush green surroundings.

The piling and foundation work for the 21-storey condominium in PJU 10, Petaling Jaya, is completed.

Construction of Tower A officially started last Sunday and is scheduled to finish by 2020.

MK Land group chief executive officer K. Mohanachandran is optimistic that the other two towers – B and C – will receive good response from buyers, too.

“MK Lands wants to provide a safe, prosperous and harmonious living environment.

“Residensi Suasana@Damai is built next to one of the four urban gardens located in the town.

“We want to promote a healthy lifestyle to residents in Damansara Damai,” he said.

Mohanachandran revealed that MK Land is working together with the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and relevant parties to provide a new route into Damansara Damai to avoid congestion into the township.

“Damansara Damai has potential to be a self-sufficient city and we want buyers to be able to live and work here.

“Not all buyers are homeowners, some also purchase for investment and I think it is a good choice for them too,” he said, adding the development is near the Damansara Damai MRT station.

The launch was also attended by MK Land’s property general manager Mustapha Kamal Hawari and shares services senior general manager Dr Zulkifli Mohd Isa.

Visit the sales gallery at Jalan PJU 10/2b, Damansara Damai, call 03-6157 1900 or go to www.residensisuasana.com.my


(The Star) Final phase of eco township launched

Setia EcoHill has launched the Gloris Collection, the third and final phase of its Horizon Residences.

Taking into account the well-developed masterplan from the first two developments in Horizon Residences – Grandlis and Floris – the Gloris Collection is an all-inclusive residential development in the blueprint of this eco township.

With just 77 units of homes in the freehold neighbourhood, Gloris provides privacy amid the natural environment and beautifully landscaped parks.

The double-storey super-link homes are priced from RM848,000 with two land size options of 23.6’ x 76’ and 23.6’ x 86’, .

The homes feature a modern and linear design to appeal to a more mature yet urban market.

The interior design brings the outdoors into the spaces, creating a beautiful interaction between the indoors and its surroundings.

The high ceiling concept improves natural ventilation and reduces room temperature.

At least 10% of the development (32.37ha of land) is reserved as green zones for parks, landscapes and pocket gardens.

Generous streetscapes as well as turfed and manicured banks of engineered waterways and ponds further enhance the green concept.

Gloris Collection sits within a “green street concept” with all utility cables being laid underground.

Each home at the gated-and- guarded enclave comes with a home alarm system and intercom linked to the security guard house.

Internal 24-hour security patrol as well as strategically placed CCTV surveillance that runs all day will also tighten security measures in Gloris.

The security system is further enhanced with AgilFence Perimetere Intrusion Defence System, which is also used in Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Residents can also enjoy the township’s surrounding amenities including the 33445sq m community club house, known as Club 360º.

Perched on the highest vantage point at Setia EcoHill with mesmerising views, the private clubhouse is inspired by the idea of the iconic cubic lanterns.

At the launch of Gloris, Setia EcoHill general manager Koh Sooi Meng welcomed visitors and buyers to the preview of the Club 360º.

The preview was complemented by a Coffee Appreciation Workshop, hosted by certified trainers from Universita Del Caffee (Malaysia), a coffee training school that offers complete theoretical and practical training on all subjects associated with coffee.

Among the facilities at the clubhouse are an Olympic-size swimming pool, a gym, steam and sauna rooms as well as an indoor sports centre with a badminton and basketball court and futsal arena.

There will also be a grand ballroom for private functions and events.

In conjunction with the launch of Gloris, new buyers will enjoy a two-year free club membership.

Setia EcoHill is also offering easy home ownership package including attractive early-bird package as well as free SPA, loan agreement legal fees and Memorandum of Transfer.

While Tenby International School provides a safe environment and high quality international education to the community of Setia Ecohill, plans to bring primary and secondary government schools are also in the pipeline.

EcoHill Walk, an integrated commercial project, comprises the first Lifestyle Mall in Semenyih. Eighty units of the three-storey shops linked to EcoHill Walk are also open for sale now.

Ground-breaking works for EcoHill Walk, scheduled to be completed by 2020, starts next month.

For details, visit www.setiaecohill.com or call 03-8724 2255.


(The Star) Online recruitment down 11% in March

KUALA LUMPUR: Online hiring in Malaysia dropped 11% in March 2017 compared with a year ago, said Monster Employment Index (MEI), which measures online job posting activities compiled monthly by Monster.com.

Although hiring momentum between February and March had eased, it said online recruitment for the information technology, telecom/Internet service provider and business process outsourcing/information technology-enabled service sector grew 13%, year-on-year (y-o-y).

In a statement, Monster.com said the retail sector continued to fare badly compared with other job sectors, declining 36%, y-o-y, a plunge from the 22% y-o-y recorded in February 2017.

Across the occupational groups monitored by MEI, jobs in the purchase/logistics/supply chain segment were most in demand, registering a 10% growth in online hiring, its sixth month of consecutive positive growth.

Meanwhile, customer service professionals hiring dropped 58%, y-o-y, dipping further from the 55% annual decline recorded in the previous month. “The persisting gloomy economic outlook has left employers conservative when it comes to hiring across the board.

“This is in spite of the short-term positive economic forecasts in key sectors such as information technology, production and manufacturing,” said Monster.com Asia-Pacific and Middle East managing director Sanjay Modi in the statement. — Bernama


(The Star) RHB sees SME segment outperforming last year’s growth

PETALING JAYA: RHB Bank Bhd expects its small and medium enterprises (SME) segment to outperform its last year’s growth as the banking institution seeks to rebalance its portfolio more towards the retail and SME segments and reduce its corporate segment exposure in the long run.

RHB group managing director Datuk Khairussaleh Ramli said SMEs are the backbone of the Malaysian economy and will continue to buttress economic growth moving forward.

“On that note, we believe that our growth in the SME segment will be stronger than last year. The first quarter figures have indicated a commendable performance of our SME segment and we anticipate it to continue,” Khairussaleh told reporters after RHB’s 51st annual general meeting.

RHB’s SME segment recorded growth of 16% in the financial year 2016 (FY16).

In an attempt to rebalance its portfolio in the long run, RHB aimed to increase its exposure in its retail, SME and corporate segments to 55%, 20% and 25%, respectively. At present, the banking institution’s exposure in retail stood at 50% while the SME and corporate segments comprised 19% and 31% respectively.

Khairussaleh also expressed optimism that RHB would be able to record a better performance in FY17.

“With the capital market and the stock market now on recovery, we expect a better operating year for RHB compared with a year earlier.

“Last year was probably the worst for us due to the provisions we incurred. Moving forward, we believe the worst is over and RHB is projected to perform better this year,” he said.

In FY16, the banking institution’s net profit rose marginally by 1% year-on-year to RM1.68bil, despite growth of 21.6% in operating profit before allowances. The strong growth of operating profit before allowances was offset by loan impairment and impairment loss on other assets.

RHB Bank’s allowances for impairment on loan and financing increased significantly by 73.3% to RM595.2mil, mainly due to higher individual allowances for loan impairment on certain corporate accounts relating to oil and gas. There were also pre-emptive provisions for steel related exposure coupled with write-backs on mortgage portfolios in 2015.

Commenting on the rumoured merger talks between RHB and AMMB Holdings Bhd, Khairussaleh denied such discussions are ongoing.

“Currently, we are not looking at potential mergers with any bank.

“That said, however, if an opportunity presents itself with adequate merits, we are open for consideration,” he said.


(The Star) KPJ warrants hit limit-up

KUALA LUMPUR: KPJ Healthcare Bhd’s company issued warrants hit its limit up price of RM1.11 and tracked the gains from its mother share as the group is expected to benefit from a recovery in consumer sentiment this year.

The warrants, KPJ-WB, closed at its limit up price on heavy turnover of 1.9 million shares. It rose 29.5 sen to a new all time high. KPJ’s mother share also rose to a five-month high to close at RM4.25 on the same day.

Traditionally considered as a defensive sector, healthcare groups have seen their shares rebound in recent months following a substantial rally in the FBM KLCI and the broader market amid improved outlook on the recovery in consuemr sentiment this year. KPJ and IHH Healthcare Bhd are the top players in the sector and are also well-known for their strong dividend payouts.

With a growing aging population and due to the limited capacity of public healthcare providers, private sector players have also been eager to expand their presence by opening new hospitals and specialist centers.

“Going forward, we anticipate higher contribution from KPJ’s newly opened hospitals as well as improvements in contribution coming from its more mature hospitals.

“We are encouraged by the fact that KPJ managed to maintain its patient admissions number, which we think stemmed from the gradual recovery in consumer sentiment,” said MIDF Research in a recent report.

KPJ is notable for its significant market share in the local private healthcare industry and its growth aspirations. Following the opening of KPJ Pahang Hospital last year, the group expects to open its latest hospital, KPJ Perlis, by the second quarter of this year (2QFY17) which will have a total bed capacity of 190.

In addition, KPJ plans to expand nine of its existing hospitals and increase its total bed count by 527. As at FY16, the group’s total bed count stood at 2,929.

While the increased fixed costs as well as long gestation periods for the new hospitals may have put a dampener on KPJ’s earnings, its financial performance has been strong. For FY16, it reported a record net profit of RM155.88mil on the back of RM3.02bil in revenue, which is also an all time high.

The recent share price movements may also have been a short term reaction to the group’s share split proposal last week.

In an April 20 stock exchange filing, the group said the proposed split will result in an adjustment to the market price of the ordinary shares in KPJ and will result in the shares being more affordable, thus potentially making it more appealing to a wider group of investors.

The group has proposed a share split involving the subdivision of every one ordinary share in KPJ into four ordinary shares held on an entitlement date to be determined and announced later.

This means that the group’s share base will increase from 1.19 billion shares to 4.76 billion assuming that all outstanding warrants and employee share options schemes are fully exercised.

KPJ-WB, which expires on January 23, 2019, carries an exercise price of RM4.01 and a one-to-one ratio. This means that the warrants are trading at a 20% premium to KPJ’s mother share presently.


(The Star) Olympic-size ice-skating rink ready by mid-May for SEA Games

PETALING JAYA: The Mammoth Empire group is targeting to have its ice-skating rink ready by the middle of next month in preparation for the 29th SEA Games.

The skating rink is among a series of some 15 venues, divided into three clusters, for the 400-odd competitions from about 40 sporting events.

Mammoth Empire Holdings Sdn Bhd (MEH) group executive director Datuk Danny J.Y. Cheah said the Olympic-size rink, an investment of about RM30mil, will “be ready as early as next month” for what may be a series of pre-SEA Games events before it hosts the actual SEA Games winter events between Aug 20 and Aug 30.

“The pre-Games events are part and parcel of their training, to ensure things run smoothly when the actual event takes place, and to test the rink and other systems,” said Cheah.

The skating rink, to sit 500 spectators, will be located inside the Empire City mall, which is still work-in-progress, but members of the public will be able to view the events, he said.

Cheah said basement two of Empire City mall has about 2,000 car parking bays which have been ready since last year.

“Stakeholders, residents and officials who have any business to be there are parking there now,” Cheah said.

As for the Empire City mall, which had its opening postponed a couple of times, Cheah said this too will be ready by November or December this year.

He told StarBiz the mall is 75% tenanted and will be opened in stages.

“It will not be fully tenanted but we are getting there,” he said, adding that a press conference will be held to unveil the rink and the developments there. The development will also have a virtual reality theme park which is expected to open in the first quarter of next year.

The successful hosting of two out of some 40 sports under the SEA Games will offer some degree of redeeming grace to the MEH group as it has not been short of negative publicity. The mall was delayed a couple of times and there were some issues with regards to some of the commercial developments there.

The pre-SEA Games events in July, about a month before the actual Games between Aug 19 and 30, will be a sort of curtain-raiser for the MEH group and the 28-acre mixed integrated project.

This will be the first time winter events comprising figure skating, short track speed skating and ice hockey are being introduced in the SEA Games.

A SEA Games secretariat official said the training for figure skating, short track speed skating and ice-hockey events have been confirmed beginning Aug 20. Each of the three events will have different or overlapping training dates.

The SEA Games secretariat official said there have been “constant visits and constant progress” so far.

“The pre-Games event will help us to practise the whole system, that is, the displays, how things flow and the officials involved and other logistics issues. The objective is to make the pre-Games events as similar to the actual event as possible,” he said.

“Although it is a semi-construction site, it will be accessible to the public,” the official said.

According to the MEH website, the 28-acre Empire City mixed integrated project which fronts Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong, will have a mall with a net nettable area of 2.5 million sq ft over four levels.

For comparison, Bandar Utama’s 1Utama new retail wing has a net lettable area of 1.2 million sq ft.


(The Star) PLUS highway tolls go cashless

KUALA LUMPUR: All tolls on PLUS highways are now fully electronic and no cash payments will be accepted.

PLUS Malaysia Berhad managing director Datuk Azman Ismail said as of yesterday, PLUS highway users were required to pay toll with PlusMiles card, Touch ‘n Go (TnG) Card, SmartTag, or MyKad equipped with TnG chips.

“The objective of a fully electronic system is to ensure a smoother and faster toll transaction and a more comfortable journey for road users,” said Azman.

“The electronic toll collection system is 300% faster than the manual cash system.”

A SmartTag lane can cater up to 1,000 vehicles per hour and a TnG lane, 600 vehicles per hour, compared with only 180 vehicles per hour at a manual cash lane, he added.

Azman said the migration to full electronic toll collection system was implemented by PLUS in stages since 2008.

The affected highways, which have a total of 94 toll plazas, are the North-South Expressway (NSE), North-South Expressway Central Link, New Klang Valley Expressway, Federal Highway Route 2, Seremban-Port Dickson Highway, Butterworth-Kulim Expressway, Malaysia–Singapore Second Crossing and Penang Bridge.

Speaking at a press conference at the Sungai Besi Toll Plaza, Azman said that feedback and the level of awareness from highway users on the cashless system have been positive, with a 92% penetration nationwide.

He added that PLUS has been running campaigns and advertisements to create awareness on the migration to the new system.

Lanes to top up and purchase TnG cards will be opened for 24 hours at all toll plazas.

PlusMiles cards are also available at all PLUS Customer Service Centres operating at selected toll plaza offices.

Meanwhile, Azman gave an assurance that all existing PLUS toll booth attendants numbering more than 2,000 would not be affected and that some would be redeployed to nearby toll plazas to assist with the new system.

Touch ‘n Go Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Syahrunizam Samsudin said there were no plans to reduce the price of the SmartTag (RM127.20) or TnG card (RM10.60, without pre-loaded value).

He also clarified that the service charge to top up a TnG card and the cap on the reload amount were business models of respective retailers, and customers always have the options to reload their cards elsewhere.


(The Star) Board to let shareholders decide on Goldis' proposal to privatice IGB

PETALING JAYA: IGB Corp Bhd will put forward a proposal to its shareholders to take the company private.

In an announcement yesterday, IGB said that the proposal by its biggest shareholder Goldis Bhd to privatise the former that is the owner of Mid Valley Megamall will be forwarded to its shareholders to decide.

This follows after a deliberation by IGB’s board of directors on this matter where it requested at the end of March for an extension up to April 28 to evaluate the proposed offer.

In a statement to Bursa Malaysia, IGB said the board of directors, minus interested directors, has deliberated on the offer by Goldis and has decided to put forward the offer to the eligible shareholders for consideration based on the preliminary opinion of the independent adviser.

Goldis which owns 73.43% of IGB is proposing to privatise the latter for an offer price of RM3 for each IGB share not yet owned by itself and Goldis’ persons acting in concert (PAC).

The privatisation is proposed to be carried in either one of the three ways. Shareholders may choose a 100% cash option where the entire privatisation offer price of RM3 be fully satisfied in cash.

IGB’s shareholders may also choose a combination of cash and shares: of which 30% of the offer price or 90 sen will be settled in cash and 70% of the offer price or RM2.10 will be settled through the issuance of new ordinary shares in Goldis at an issue price of RM3 per Goldis share.

Shareholders may also choose the cash and redeemable convertible cumulative preference shares (RCCPS) option: wherein 20% of the offer price or 60 sen will be settled in cash and 80% of the offer price or RM2.40 will be settled via the issuance of new RCCPS of a new class in Goldis at an issue price of RM3.28 per new RCCPS.

“The new RCCPS has the right to receive cumulative preferential dividends at the rate of 4.3% per year based on the new RCCPS issue price, and its tenure is seven years, with a conversion ratio of 1 new RCCPS into 1 new Goldis share,” the statement said.

The new RCCPS shall rank ahead in regards to payment of dividends on all classes of shares of the issuer, other than the existing RCCPS, the company said.

The new RCCPS dividends will be paid on a semi-annual basis subject to the availability of distributable profits and applicable laws.

The statement further said that some 26.57% of IGB’s shares that are not owned by Goldis and its PAC are eligible for this offer and the total consideration for this scheme is approximately RM1.06bil.

“Upon completion of this exercise, IGB will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Goldis. It is envisaged that the full consolidation of the businesses of IGB and Goldis will create a more cohesive and efficient operating structure going forward,” the announcement said.

It further noted that IGB and Goldis are currently required to comply with the listing obligations by Bursa Securities for listed issuers, representing an overlap of administrative efforts and costs.

“The proposed delisting (of IGB) is expected to eliminate such overlap, dispense with expenses in maintaining the listing status of IGB and re-divert resources towards its core business,” it added.

The privatisation effort by Goldis is the first by the company to absorb and to de-layer the shareholding structure between Goldis and IGB.

The earlier corporate exercises in 2013 was for a proposed merger while the 2014 exercise was a voluntary general offer to increase its stake in IGB.

Goldis is a property investment company that is controlled by the Tan family which is led by Datuk Tan Chin Nam.

The crown jewel of the group is located at Goldis’ subsidiaries: IGB Corp Bhd and IGB Reit, while the family’s interest is mainly concentrated at Goldis.

StarBizWeek had recently reported that a de-layering or a simplification of the corporate structure would work well for all shareholders of Goldis.

The latest takeover differs from the voluntary general offer made in July 2014 which was proposed at RM2.88 per share and without any option of obtaining Goldis’ shares.

This latest takeover offer has this option and an RCCPS option as well.

For this privatisation to be successful, it will require a 75% shareholder approval out of the 26.57% shareholders that are eligible to vote.

IGB has prized assets such as Mid Valley City, which comprises 2.7 million sq ft of retail mall space, 3.2 million sq ft of prime office space in Kuala Lumpur and over 5,500 hotel rooms across the globe, according to a note by AllianceDBS Research.

IGB also owns a 52.3% stake in IGB Reit, which, in turn, owns Mid Valley Megamall and The Gardens Mall.

IGB’s balance sheet has also received an additional boost with the sale of the Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel for RM765mil that was completed earlier this year.


(The Edge) Positive rental reversion seen for IGB REIT



IGB Real Estate Investment Trust
(April 26, RM1.68)
Maintain hold with a target price (TP) of RM1.75:
IGB Real Estate Investment Trust’s (IGB REIT) first quarter ended March 31, 2017 (1QFY17) net realised distributable income of RM75.4 million (up 3.5% [year-on-year]) came in line with our/consensus expectations.

The 1QFY17 recorded net property income (NPI) of RM96.1 million (up 2.6% y-o-y) due to higher rental income in the current quarter. This translates into an NPI margin of 71.9% (1QFY16: 71.4%).

IGB REIT’s Mid Valley Megamall (MVM) and The Gardens mall (TG) are in prime locations, which have underpinned near-full occupancies and resilient shopper footfall.

Its average rental rates of RM10-RM12 per square foot (psf ) per month are still lower than prime areas in KL’s city centre that exceed RM20psf per month. This provides headroom for positive rental reversions going forward.

However, there are no near-term rerating catalysts from asset injections, as the retail asset currently being developed by sponsor IGB Corp (to which it has the right of first refusal) will only be completed in 2018.

We expect the REIT to shift towards a 95% payout (from full payout) from financial year ended Dec 31, 2016 (FY16) and hence, distribution per unit (DPU) growth may be flattish.

Among its peers, IGB REIT has the highest direct exposure to retail spending as more than 10% of total revenue is derived from turnover rent. Thus, a severe decline in tenant sales at MVM and TG will likely affect IGB REIT’s earnings and DPU. Our dividend discount model-derived TP is reduced to RM1.75 as we tweak risk-free rate to 4% from 3.9% previously (cost of equity 6.7%, TG 1%).

We maintain our “hold” recommendation as there is limited earnings upside in the near term. — AllianceDBS Research, April 26