Thursday, 31 January 2013

(The Star) IGB REIT Q4 pre-tax profit hits RM147mil

KUALA LUMPUR: IGB Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) posted a pre-tax profit of RM146.89mil for its fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2012.
In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, IGB REIT said it recorded a revenue of RM102.98mil for the period.
For the full financial year, pre-tax profit was RM153.29mil while revenue amounted to RM115.28mil.
IGB REIT said for the current year period-to-date, revenue and net property income, mainly from the gross rental income of Mid Valley Megamall and The Gardens Mall, were RM115.29mil and RM76.2mil respectively, resulting in income before taxation of RM153.30mil. 
“The retail sector in Greater Kuala Lumpur continues to outperform other property sectors, evidenced by continued institutional investment interest in quality assets and the reception to the IGB REIT by investors,” it added. – Bernama
Source: The Star

(The Star) Boustead REIT profit cut

Revenue lower on performance-based profit sharing adjustment
PETALING JAYA: Al-Hadharah Boustead Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) recorded a lower net profit at RM27.88mil for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2012, an 88.33% drop from a year ago.
This is on the back of lower performance-based profit sharing, an absence of a gain on disposal of investment properties and a significantly lower unrealised fair value gain on investment properties.
Revenue for the quarter also fell to RM16.9mil, almost 25% lower than RM22.40mil in the previous corresponding quarter.
In its filing with Bursa Malaysia, Boustead REIT said the lower revenue was mainly due to the adjustment on performance-based profit sharing for capital expenditures not claimed by the tenants during the year.
Comparatively, net profit for the quarter was higher than revenue due to the recognition of unrealised fair value gain on investment properties in the current quarter.
For the full year ended Dec 31, 2012 (FY12), the fund posted a 70.04% drop in net profit to RM91.62mil, against RM305.8mil in FY11. Revenue for the year stood at RM90.5mil, a mere 9% drop from RM99.56mil in FY11. On Dec 31, 2012, Boustead REIT's unit price closed at RM1.83 per unit.
The fund expects prices of crude palm oil (CPO) to generally improve this year, as demand from major importing countries increase. Also, the restructuring of Malaysian CPO export tax would raise Malaysian competitiveness in the palm oil downstream sector.
“Our earnings were impacted this year due to the adverse external economic pressures along with volatile crude palm oil prices. The year 2013 is expected to be challenging for us. However, we remain committed in exploring growth prospects while we focus on improving unit holder value,” said chairman Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin.
The fund declared a final dividend of 5.5 sen, bringing the total dividend for the year to 10 sen. As at end-FY12, the fund's market capitalisation grew to RM1.1bil from RM965.4mil in FY11.

(The Star) UEM Land keen to attract more China investors for Nusajaya

GELANG PATAH: UEM Land Holdings Bhd is keen on attracting more Chinese investors to Nusajaya following its success in getting a Chinese company to come in last December.
Senior general manager Mohd Nadzari Bachek said that seven years since its inception, more and more investors from China were realising the good growth prospects offered by Iskandar Malaysia.
“They (Chinese investors) are super rich and when they want to invest in property projects, they usually come in a big way,'' he told StarBiz yesterday.
Nadzari said this after presenting a 14-seater van which had been modified into a hearse for funeral activity for the Kampung Pok community held at the Kampung Pok mosque near here.
He said the company would look at ways to address the needs of Chinese investors, including those who had a penchant for large tracts of lands for development projects.
Last December, UEM Land signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinamall Holdings Pte Ltd to develop China Mall, a trade exhibition centre in Gerbang Nusajaya.
The 1.4-million sq ft mall on 12.94ha worth RM562mil will house 3,000 merchants from China offering products such as textile, gifts, souvenirs, furniture, electrical and household appliances, jewellery and toys.
“Last year, we also played host to investors from Qatar who were on the lookout for investment opportunities in Nusajaya,'' said Nadzari.
He said the company still had about 3,237.48ha slated for future development within Nusajaya, including 1,821.08ha in Gerbang Nusajaya near the second link crossing.
Nusajaya is one of the five flagship development zones in Iskandar spanning 2,217 sq km the other four being the JB City Centre, the Western Gate Development Zone, the Eastern Gate Development Zone and Senai-Kulai.
He said Singapore billionaire Peter Lim's investment in the 109.25ha Motorsports City at Gerbang Nusajaya had sent a strong signal to Singaporean investors to invest in Iskandar Malaysia.
The 70:30 joint venture between FASTrack Autosports Private Ltd from Singapore and UEM Land, valued at over RM3.5bil, will see both parties establishing the Motorsports City masterplan as well as the development and marketing strategies of the project.
On a separate note, he said the company would be launching two new high-end condominium projects in Puteri Harbour in the third quarter of the year.
Mohd Nadzari said the take-up rate for its two high-end ongoing condominium projects Imperia and Teega at Puteri Harbour with gross development values of RM330.7mil and RM1.1bil, respectively was good.
Source: The Star

(The Star) 44 new traders at Bandar Tasik Selatan terminal bazaar

Meet and greet: Saravanan (middle) greeting some of the traders at the launch of the additional business lots and handover of keys.
Meet and greet: Saravanan (middle) greeting some of the traders at the launch of the additional business lots and handover of keys.
FORTY-four new traders will begin operating at the Integrated Terminal South Bandar Tasik Selatan (TBS-BTS) bazaar after the launch of additional business lots and the handover of keys to the traders.
The programme was launched by Deputy Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk M. Saravanan, who also visited the new lots.
“There were around 60 traders in TBS previously and these 44 additional traders will occupy the Bazar TBS.
“The government agencies are providing a cleaner and more comfortable space for the traders.
“We strive to create a higher-income society and reduce poverty among the people to lessen their burden,” Saravanan said.
He added that the move to have additional stalls in the building would contribute to Kuala Lumpur’s facelift.
“Traders should permanently operate inside the building and not by the roadside.
“They should be aware of this and accept the change as we aim for a capital city of international standards,” he said.
The additional business lots were prepared by the ministry, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), and the Property and Land Management Division (BPH) of the Prime Minister Department.
It comprises 34 units of stalls, six units of take-away stalls as well as four mobile kiosks that were completed in June 18 last year.
The space, however, was not allowed to be filled as the stalls were not equipped with air-conditioning ducts.
The ducts were fully installed by BPH through the Public Works Department (JKR) on Dec 23 last year.
According to a statement from the ministry, there were 467 applicants for the 44 additional business lots but only 246 had attended the balloting process which was held on Dec 13.
The standard stall lot is 6,000 sq ft in size.
“I hope the traders who have been given the opportunity to trade here will continue to improve their services constantly,” Saravanan said.
Source: The Star

(BUSINESS TIMES) Malaysia key interest rate likely to stay unchanged

THE central bank is likely to leave the borrowing rates unchanged at three per cent today, according to research houses in Malaysia and Singapore.

With the low inflationary pressures, research houses expect the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) - the benchmark interest rate - to remain unchanged although the risks are on the upside in the second half of the year.

On the back of improving global demand, many were of the opinion that inflation would also rise when the government continues with the subsidy rationalisation programme.

Bank Negara Malaysia's monetary policy committee, which is holding its first of six meetings in 2013, will review the current rate, which has been in place since May 2011.

The committee, chaired by governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, holds two sessions for each of its sche- duled meetings.

According to CITI, Malaysia's stronger economic growth eliminates the possibility of rate cuts while the still low inflation suggests there is no urgency to hike rates immediately. In the third quarter of 2012, the economy grew by 5.2 per cent (year-on-year) from a revised 5.6 per cent in the second quarter.

TA Research's Patricia Oh expects the policy rate to remain accommodative at least throughout the first half of this year as inflation remains benign.

"Growth will likely to be backed by the rebound in trade during the second half of 2013, which will enable a more sustainable growth ahead."

HSBC Bank expects the overnight rate to be increased by 50 basis points to 3.5 per cent by end 2013, with the first 25 basis points rate hike expected in the second quarter.

It has argued that the monetary policy needs to move back into the "neutral" gear at 3.5 per cent, otherwise the inflation process will begin to build up.

For 2012, the Consumer Price Index grew by 1.6 per cent.

The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) estimated that the CPI would grow by 2.5 per cent in 2013.

(NST) Abandoned project to be revived

GOOD NEWS: New developer is expected to complete project in 18 months once court order is obtained

SUBANG JAYA: Kauri P. Naidu, 48, thought buying a shoplot in an upcoming commercial project in Pekan Baru Subang would be a good investment.

However, her hopes to own the property were dashed when the developer was declared bankrupt in 2006, six years after she had made the purchase.

"By then, the project, consisting 59 units of shophouses in the two blocks of three-storey buildings, was already 80 per cent completed.

"My husband and I decided to buy the shoplot for RM410,000 when we found out about the new development that is near our house in Subang Murni.

"We didn't expect problems as construction had also started," she said, adding that she had serviced about 80 per cent of the amount.

She said, however, they were later informed that the developer had gone bankrupt and that liquidator Ferrier Hodgson MH Sdn Bhd stepped in to handle the winding-up of the company.

"So, we held discussions with other purchasers on alternatives and decided that we need a new developer to revive the project.

"Developments around the site project have long completed, making the abandoned blocks an eyesore now."

She added that a court order must be obtained before the new developer can start work, expected to commence in a few months.

"The developer will take about 18 months to complete the project with conditions including a sum imposed on us, RM85.60 per 0.09sq m to be paid upon the issuance of the Certificate of Completion and Compliance after work is done.

"We hope to see our unit completed by next year."

She was among the 31 purchasers present at a briefing by representatives of Ferrier and the new developer ICEM at Kampung Melayu Subang recently.

Also present was Kota Damansara assemblyman Dr Mohd Nasir Hashim.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

(BUSINESS TIMES) Investment interest in Pahang growing

KUANTAN: More Chinese companies are interested in investing in Pahang, especially in industrial parks under the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) such as Gebeng Industrial Estate, where numerous multinational corporations in the petrochemical sector have made it their home.

The creation of ECER - comprising Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Mersing in Johor - and the establishment of the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) have made Gebeng Industrial Estate and the neigbouring industrial areas more attractive.

MCKIP, to be opened by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on February 5, is the first bilateral project in Malaysia to be accorded national-level status.

Between 1987 and August last year, Chinese companies had invested more than RM520 million in 16 projects in Pahang.

Among their favourite industries are basic and fabricated metal production and the manufacturing of rubber, wood and chemical products.

The state attracted RM3 billion of investments in 2011, of which about RM2 billion came from foreign companies. Another RM777 million was recorded in the first nine months of last year, including RM546 million pledged by foreign companies.

The significant investment from China has made the country the sixth highest investor in Pahang after the United States (RM3.68 billion), Germany (RM3.13 billion), Japan (RM2.23 billion), Australia (RM680.86 million) and the United Kingdom (RM668 million).

MCKIP may help increase the investment as it is strategically located near the leading industrial area that has a comprehensive chemical and petrochemical manufacturing facility for investors.

Several Chinese companies are also keen to use the rare earth products from Lynas plant, which is capable of processing 22,000 tonnes of rare earth annually.

There are also companies keen to turn the waste from the processing plant into safe byproducts, such as gypsum board and concrete as China has the technology to convert such low radioactive byproducts into cement aggregate for road construction.

Currently, producers from China are monopolising the rare earth industry. By 2016, around 60,000 tonnes of the supply would be from countries outside China, including Malaysia.

Najib announced the establishment of MCKIP last year to reciprocate China's efforts in setting aside a 55 sq km piece of land in Qinzhou, Nanning, as a joint-venture project with Malaysia.

MCKIP is expected to attract RM7.5 billion in investments from local and international investors and create 5,500 employment opportunities by 2020.

ECER Development Council chief executive officer Datuk Jebasingam Isaace John said the investment target for MCKIP could be achieved as several international players from various industries had already expressed their interest in the project.

Dozens of companies from China have also visited Pahang in the past months and many of them are eager to invest in Gebeng Industrial Estate, MCKIP, Palm Oil Industrial Cluster and Gambang Halal Park near Kuantan.

During a briefing session with the local business community recently, Najib's special envoy to China Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting said Kuantan was chosen to host the Qinzhou Industrial Park's sister park because both Kuantan and Qinzhou had well-developed seaports that provide the shortest link across the South China Sea.

MCKIP is only 25km from Kuantan and 5km from Kuantan Port, making it closely connected with the Kuantan port city.

"As the journey by sea takes just three to four days, it offers excellent opportunity for closer cooperation," he added.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said MCKIP would benefit local contractors and form a synergy with the Gambang halal hub, Gebeng industrial estate and Pekan automotive hub as a cluster to complement one another.

He said the targeted industries at MCKIP include plastics and metal equipment, automotive component, fibre cement board and stainless steel products.

Apart from that, an established China agro firm - China Liaoning Wufeng Agricultural Pte Ltd - is also planning to invest at least RM1 billion to create the largest commercial agro development in Malaysia through a collaboration with Pahang Technology Resources Sdn Bhd.

They plan to establish a 10,000ha agropolitan that will be planted with padi and other crops, while at the same time, has breeding facilities for chicken, duck, boer goat and fish.

Pahang is set to be a leading regional halal hub under a collaboration between the ECER Development Council and China's Ningxia Light and Textile Industrial Bureau.

Jebasingam said the memorandum of understanding signed between both parties recently would boost trade between Malaysia and China, and at the same time, strengthen their positions along the lucrative international halal superhighway.

It is a strategic move that can attract more investments from China.

According to the World Fair Trade Organisation, the global halal market is estimated to grow at US$2.13 trillion (RM6.56 trillion) annually.


(BUSINESS TIMES) Pinewood Studios set to draw RM3.8b

JOHOR BARU: Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios (PIMS) is expected to attract RM3.8 billion in international film production and related activities between 2013 and 2020.

Its chief executive officer Michael Lake said half of the amount is expected to be spent in the local economy, in areas like food and beverages, lodging, construction and logistics services.

"The amount will include expenditure of hiring about 9,500 full-time and freelance film workers and usage of studio space as well as rentals of equipment," said Lake.

PIMS, which is expected to be completed in May, will have five film sound stages covering a total area of 9,290.30 sq metres.

Once completed, it will be the largest integrated studio facility in the region, offering state-of-the-art film stages, television studios and post-production facilities. This is expected to turn Johor into a film-making hub in the region.

Lake said the studio is currently doing a feasibility study on building a big water tank in one of the sound stages as they have received a lot of enquiries about filming underwater scenes.

"We are currently in talks with a number of production companies from countries like the US, the UK, Germany and Japan who are interested in utilising our facilities.

"We are also actively promoting Malaysia, and Johor especially, as an excellent destination for film-making," said Lake.

He was speaking to the media after a briefing on the Iskandar Malaysia Creative Industry Talent Development Programme. Also present was Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) chief executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim.

The programme is a collaboration between Irda and PIMS and is aimed at training local film production crews to meet the quality and standard required by international production companies.

Ismail said the programme is expected to train about 1,300 people by the end of the year.

"The programme is expected to start in March and is designed as intensive eight to 12 weeks courses to provide the skills and knowledge needed by local film indus-try's professionals to integrate with international production companies."


(BUSINESS TIMES) RM1b Harrods Hotel KL to open its doors in 2018

SEVEN-STAR: It will have more than 30 floors and feature 250 to 300 rooms

TRADEWINDS Corp Bhd and Qatar Holding LLC will jointly develop the world's first Harrods Hotel in Malaysia, which is estimated to cost around RM1 billion.

Qatar Holding, which owns Harrods Group, also has on the drawing board to build Harrods Hotels in London and Italy.

The seven-star Harrods Hotel Kuala Lumpur, which will have more than 30 floors, will feature 250 to 300 hotel rooms and several floors for serviced apartments and retail space.

Two other luxury hotels under construction or being planned in Kuala Lumpur are St Regis at KL Sentral and the 65-storey Four Seasons Place near the Kuala Lumpur City Centre.

It is understood that the cost to build each Harrods Hotel room is RM2.5 million to RM4 million, depending on the size and finishing.

A six-star hotel room costs an average RM2.5 million to build and for five-star hotel rooms, it will cost about RM1.5 million to RM2 million each.

Qatar Holding vice-chairman Dr Hussain Ali Al-Abdulla said there will be a minimum of 200 rooms and the hotel will be ready in 2018.

The hotel will be owned and operated by Harrods Hotel Management Co, Hussain said.

"I can't reveal the project cost as we are calling for tenders in the third or fourth quarter of this year. We don't want bidders marking up the price," he said.

Hussain was speaking here yesterday, at the hotel's ground-breaking ceremony in Jalan Conlay. Also present was Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin.

In July last year, Qatar Holding and Jerantas Sdn Bhd signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop the hotel.

Jerantas is a joint-venture between PS Trading Sdn Bhd (34 per cent), which is owned by Tradewinds and Gagasan Simfoni Sdn Bhd (66 per cent).

Gagasan Simfoni is a 51:49 joint venture company set up by Pavillion Group and controlled by Malton Bhd's Datuk Desmond Lim, among others, and Qatar Holding, owned by Qatar's sovereign wealth fund.

Harrods Hotel forms part of an integrated development that will feature two serviced residences, an office block and a 400,000 sq ft retail mall.

The entire development will be undertaken by Jerantas on a 2.2ha site currently housing Chulan Square and Sri Melayu Restaurant. The land was acquired by Jerantas from the government for RM1,800 per sq ft, or RM429.68 million.

Hussain said at the signing ceremony that the cost to develop the hotel and the integrated development is about RM2 billion.

He said the hotel component will feature up to 300 hotel rooms, apartments and retail space.

On the pricing of the serviced apartments, he added that it would be higher than Banyan Tree Residences.

The last transacted price for the Banyan Tree was RM2,800 per sq ft.

Business Times understands that the retail mall will be injected into the Pavilion Real Estate Investment Trusts (Pavilion REIT) once it is ready in 2018.

Qatar Holding and Lim are major unit holders of Pavilion REIT.


(BUSINESS TIMES) Qatar Holding plans to invest in Pengerang

Qatar Holding is eyeing mainly petrochemical projects and its investments in the sector will exceed US$5 billion.

Qatar Holding LLC, a unit of the Gulf nation's sovereign wealth fund, plans to invest over US$10 billion in various projects here, including the Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex (PIPC) development in Johor, over the next five years.

Vice-chairman Dr Hussain Ali Al-Abdulla said Qatar Holding is eyeing mainly petrochemical projects and its investments in the sector will exceed US$5 billion.

He added that Qatar Holding also plans to invest over US$5 billion in real estate development, hotel chain expansion and other industries, including banking, in Malaysia.

The 8,100-hectare PIPC will house oil refineries, naphtha crackers, petrochemical plants as well as a liquefied natural gas import terminal and a regassification plant.

"We are in talks with major companies in Kuala Lumpur to jointly invest in petrochemical projects here. We see huge potential in Johor, not just for petrochemical but also in other sectors," he said at the ground-breaking ceremony for The Harrods Hotel development here yesterday.

The hotel, the first such hotel in Asia, is a joint investment project between Qatar Holding, which owns the world's famous Harrods brand, and property developer Jerantas Sdn Bhd.

The cash-rich Doha-based fund is not new to Malaysia. Last year, it became a cornerstone investor in state-owned plantation firm Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV).

FGV raised RM9.93 billion last year by selling shares on Bursa Malaysia in the world's second-largest initial public offering.

Qatar Holding is part of the Qatar Investment Authority, which is the largest shareholder in the J Sainsbury plc grocery chain in the UK.

The sovereign wealth fund has been the UK's most active investor in recent years, deploying the Gulf nation's plentiful natural gas riches in assets ranging from German sports carmaker Porsche to British bank Barclays.

Qatar Investment, through its unit Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co, is also the owner of the former Royal Dutch Shell plc headquarters in London. It recently bought the athletes' village at the London 2012 Olympic site for STG557 million (RM2.7 billion) in a joint venture with Delancey Estates plc.

In 2008, Qatari Diar purchased the Chelsea Barracks in west London, in a joint venture with Christian Candy's CPC Group Ltd. Two years later, Qatari Diar bought out CPC's share of the project.


(NST) No space to park, no room to move

GEORGE TOWN: A 27-STOREY commercial development project in Pulau Tikus, here, has yet to commence, but it has already raised the concern of the 100 residents living nearby.

Foo Chuan Aun, 40, who has lived in the neighbourhood since he was a child, claimed that the project developer's pavement works had caused the road there to be narrowed.

"We want the developer to push it (the pavement) back, as the road here is becoming narrower," he said, adding that the works began about two months ago.

Another resident, Poh Phaik See, was saddened by the haphazard town and country planning for the neighbourhood, pointing out that another high-density project was already ongoing there.

"As it is, we are facing a parking problem. You can hear the impatient drivers honking away almost every day," she claimed.

Pulau Tikus constituency coordinator Rowena Yam, who organised the residents' press conference, said the residents had the right to question if their quality of life would be affected by construction works.

"The residents cannot leave their windows open now as there is already a lot of dust flying around. The residents are also claiming that the noise had gone on until 9pm in the last two weeks.

"Heavy vehicles will also be here when the work begins. I hope the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) or the state government will ensure that during construction, the foreign workers will not be placed at the project site," she said, adding that safety was another cause for concern.

It was reported last year that the residents had objected to the project, which was to have 290 car park bays, of which only 90 would be available to the public.

The residents had raised questions such as whether the project complied with the height restrictions, and where would the public park their vehicles when the current open-air car park closed for the project's construction.

Meanwhile, traders and shoppers interviewed said the project would exacerbate the congestion and lack of parking that they were already facing.

"Without adequate parking space, business will be affected. Traffic jam? Of course there will be traffic jams," said a fruit seller, who wished to be known as Hock.

Pancake seller Neoh said, a place should be provided for people to park because further depletion of parking space will drive shoppers away from the market.

Shopper Cheah Cheng Hoon, 61, who lives in Jalan Bell, said parking space was scarce as it was.
"To get a parking spot, and one that was far from the market at that, I had to circle the neighbourhood three or four times.

"I don't think I would want to drive here when the project is ready. I would prefer to walk," she said.

State Town and Country Planning, Housing and Arts Committee chairman Wong Hon Wai could not be reached for comment.


(NST) Coffee Bean opens 49th outlet in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has opened its first outlet in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI).

The outlet, the 49th in Malaysia, offers the international specialty coffee and tea retailer's Original Ice Blended, special coffee- and tea-based drinks, All-Day-Breakfast with free refills of coffee and tea until 11am, All-Day Dining selection, delectable pastries, gourmet coffee and handpicked tea products as well as the Ready-To-Drink beverages.

On top of these, customers can also pick up their party packs at the store.

This concept store, which features customer-barista interaction, promises to be a haven for coffee and tea lovers to relax and enjoy their drinks with all the comforts.

The outlet is at Unit 6-2-0 Sinaran TTDI, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 4, Taman Tun Dr Ismail.

It opens from 7.30am to midnight.

The first 100 early birds will be treated to a "Buy 1 Free 1 Ice Blended" offer.

Also not to be missed are the 500 TCB (The Coffee Bean) cards to be given free upon a minimum purchase of RM30.

This is on a first-come, first-served basis, so hurry over while stocks last.

This follows the opening of stores at Paradigm Mall, Tropicana City Mall and Lot 10 in recent months.

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(NST) New RM23m bridge to link villages

KOTA BARU: A NEW bridge costing RM23 million will be built across Sungai Pergau for the convenience of people living in the Kuala Krai area.

State Federal Development director Datuk Makhtar Mustafa said the bridge, connecting Kampung Biak to Kampung Kandek, was the latest project by the Federal Government in the state under the 10th Malaysia Plan.

He said the bridge would ease travel across the river, especially for those who have to rely on boat rides when travelling between the two points.

"We have just issued a tender for the project and construction is expected to start in the next few months," he said here yesterday.

Makhtar said daily commuting-related problems faced by the people, especially those in Kampung Biak A and Kampung Biak B, would be solved once the bridge is ready.

On the second Sultan Yahya Petra bridge here, he said one of its two lanes from Pasir Pekan to Kota Baru would be opened on schedule early next month.

"As promised, the bridge will be ready for use before the Chinese New Year," he said, adding that the RM188 million bridge was already 95 per cent complete and workers were putting finishing touches to it.


(NST) Sarikei gets new road

SHORTER COMMUTE: RM45 million project will cut travel time to Tanjung Manis port

SARIKEI: A new road will be built linking Sarikei and the industrial port of Tanjung Manis in Mukah, cutting travel time between the two towns by more than 90 minutes.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the RM45 million project would entail the construction of a 15km road from Bukit Wang, near here, to Tanjung Manis. His announcement was greeted with thunderous applause by the estimated crowd of 5,000 who packed the Sarikei Civic Centre yesterday.

"We have approved this project but it will take some time before it is implemented. There will be studies and all the things that need to be done before the project takes place," said Muhyiddin, adding that construction would begin as soon as possible.

Currently, a trip to Tanjung Manis from here is a 150km drive as motorists would first have to drive to Sibu, 100km away.

"This is good news for us in Sarikei as Bukit Wang is only 20km from here," said Sarikei member of parliament Ding Kuong Hiing.

For business people, it was a good Chinese New Year gift.

The cost of doing business would be lowered and they would have easier access to the southern hub of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).

Muhyiddin said the government always focused on improving the lives of the people and the construction of the road was just one of those things.

"This project is made possible with the people's money.

"The fact that there is money to build the road shows the government is prudent in managing the people's money."

The deputy prime minister said the opposition's allegations that the BN government had mismanaged public funds and the country was going bankrupt "are all lies" to confuse the people ahead of the general election.

"(They) claim that the country would be bankrupt after the disbursement of the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BRIM 2.0)... it is all part of (their) lies. If we would go bankrupt because of it, we would not have implemented it.

"We collected RM125 billion in taxes and this is neither the prime minister's or mine. This is the people's money and we have spent the people's money to help those in need."

Muhyiddin also said each government policy was studied thoroughly before implementation.

He said the country was developing and there were those who still needed help.

"We can continue what we have done. All we need is the mandate to continue our work," he said.

Sarikei is a predominantly Chinese town known for its agriculture and fisheries.

Among the famous produce here are pineapples and dried shrimp, known locally as sesar unjur.


(The Star) High-profile district to include Harrods Hotel

Vast area: (From left) Raja Nong Chik, Dr Hussain, Abdul Aziz and chief secretary to the government Datuk Seri Dr Ali Hamsa looking at the scaled model of the premier shopping district at the Harrods Hotel groundbreaking ceremony.
Vast area: (From left) Raja Nong Chik, Dr Hussain, Abdul Aziz and chief secretary to the government Datuk Seri Dr Ali Hamsa looking at the scaled model of the premier shopping district at the Harrods Hotel groundbreaking ceremony.
THE Government aims to designate a premier shopping district for the country in its quest to become a high-income nation by the year 2020, said Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin.
“The district is none other than Bukit Bintang and KLCC (BB-KLCC) and where Harrods Hotel will be located,” he said, adding that this was in line with the nation’s Tourism National Key Economic Area (NKEA).
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for Harrods Hotel held at the Seri Melayu Restaurant in Jalan Conlay yesterday, Nong Chik said with Kuala Lumpur ranked the fourth best shopping destination in the world and second in Asia-Pacific, there was no doubt that the country would continue to attract huge investors like Qatar Holding to the country.
“Generating RM58mil in tourism-related receipts through 24.7 million visitors, Malaysia offers a fruitful and growing investment opportunity.
“The emergence of Qatar Holding acts as a catalyst for future investments and this is a good sign. This shows that our initiatives to make Kuala Lumpur an international class city under the Greater Kuala Lumpur-Klang Valley NKEA have been worthwhile,” said Nong Chik, adding that the ministry would fasttrack large-scale developments in the city provided they met the requirements of Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).
He said with such global recognition, the country’s tourism sector would see even more foreign investments, generating revenue that would in turn spur economic growth.
Also present at the groundbreaking ceremony were Qatar Holding vice-chairman Dr Hussain Ali Al-Abdulla, Jerantas Sdn Bhd corporate representative Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Ismail and Tradewinds Corporation Bhd group chief executive officer Shaharul Farez Hassan.
In his opening speech, Dr Hussain praised the stability of the Malaysian Government and its pragmatic policies that had created a conducive investment environment for institutions such as Qatar Holding.
“Malaysia is an attractive tourist destination and this convinced us that Kuala Lumpur is ideal for a Harrods Hotel,” he said, adding that the abundance of skilled and highly-trained workforce as well as the country’s rich agricultural commodities were also part of the reasons for their investment.
The integrated development of Harrods Hotel spans 5.48 acres and will comprise two residential towers, an office building and a retail podium, with direct connectivity to the award-winning Pavilion Kuala Lumpur.
The hotel will be strategically located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle — at the intersection of Jalan Raja Chulan and Jalan Conlay.
Source: The Star

(The Star) Redevelopment project to take off in July

CONSTRUCTION of The Octagon, the redevelopment project at the former Yau Tet Shin Bazaar site on Jalan Raja Ekram, will commence in July with its groundbreaking ceremony held on Monday.
One Octagon Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Liew See Yee said a tender would be called soon after paperwork was in order.
“We hope to finalise our choice of who will be the main contractor by April, and start work on its construction sometime in July.
“The project is expected to be completed within three years and will cost between RM60mil and RM70mil,” he told reporters during a briefing on the project on Monday.
Liew added that the groundbreaking ceremony would be done by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.
“We will start laying the foundation immediately after the ceremony.
“The piling works will take about six months to complete,” Liew said.
The once iconic octagon-shaped Yau Tet Shin Bazaar was demolished by the Ipoh City Council in 2001, after it was deemed unsafe.
The Perak Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry was later entrusted by the state government to oversee the redevelopment at the 0.316ha piece of land, prompting the former to set up One Octagon Sdn Bhd.
Liew said the 21-storey The Octagon that stood about 109.7m above sea level, would house 138 residential units, and 32 retail and commercial units.
“To date, about 65% of the residential units have been reserved.
“These are buyers who have expressed their interest and have also placed downpayments to secure lots.
“Most of them are locals and a handful of Singaporeans,” he said, adding that the retail and commercial units were, however, not for sale.
The Octagon, according to Liew, would have 350 parking bays for residents and visitors.
Source: The Star

(The Star) RAM reaffirms Mydin debt

Rating reflects ‘financial guarantee extended by Danajamin’
PETALING JAYA: RAM Rating Services Bhd has reaffirmed the long-term rating of AAA(fg) for Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd's RM350mil Danajamin-Guaranteed Islamic Medium-Term Notes Programme (IMTN) (2011/2024) with a stable outlook.
“The rating reflects the irrevocable and unconditional financial guarantee extended by Danajamin Nasional Bhd (rated AAA/Stable/P1 by RAM), which enhances the credit profile of the IMTN beyond Mydin's stand-alone credit risk,” RAM said in a press statement.
RAM added that excluding this financial guarantee, Mydin's stand-alone credit profile was underpinned by it being one of the largest locally-owned grocery retailers.
Nevertheless, RAM noted that Mydin's credit profile was also exposed to stiff competition in the mass grocery retail sector.
The rating agency noted that apart from competing with large foreign-owned hypermarkets, Mydin also had to contend with local competition.
In financial year 2012 (FY12), RAM said Mydin's revenue rose 14.4% year-on-year to RM1.94bil, due to the increased overall top-line contributions from hypermarkets and mini markets.
Despite robust growth in revenue, RAM noted Mydin's adjusted operating profit before depreciation, interest and tax margin was squeezed to 3.86% in FY12, narrowing further to 2.43% in the FY13 first quarter due to the increased losses of its mini markets and convenience stores.
It noted that apart from its new hypermarkets, additional earnings from Kedai Rakyat 1 Malaysia (KR1M) stores also led to augmented annualised revenue for the first quarter of the financial year.
RAM also noted that Mydin's debt had increased from RM87.12mil as at end-FY11 to RM307.67mil as at end first quarter FY13.
Until June 2012, Mydin had a presence of 138 outlets throughout Peninsular Malaysia.
RAM noted that Mydin had a following within the low- to middle-income target market customers and had also established a niche position among the Muslim community through its 100% halal product offerings and a range of local items not typically carried by its foreign-owned competitors.
Mydin is principally involved in the operation of hypermarkets, emporiums, bazaars, mini markets and convenience stores, including the KR1M stores in collaboration with the government.
Source: The Star

(The Star) Padini seen paying higher dividend

By Kenanga Research
Market perform (initiating coverage)
Target price: RM1.84
WE are initiating coverage on Padini Holdings Bhd with a market perform call and a target price of RM1.84, which is based on a targeted price-earnings ratio (PER) of 11.2 times on the company's FY13 earnings per share (EPS) of 16.4 sen.
Padini has a strong foothold in the domestic market with a vast retail network of nine labels under its portfolio, namely Padini, Padini Authentics, Pdi, P&co, Seed, Vincci, Vincci+, Vincci Accessories and Miki Kids. The group has grown its retail presence over the years to 48 single Brands Stores, 26 Padini Concept Stores, 20 Brands Outlets, 155 consignment counters, 15 franchises in the domestic market and over 80 franchises and dealers in the international arena.
Padini has a strong track record of revenue and earnings growth. It has a 5-year revenue and net profit compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18% and 24.8% respectively, driven primarily by the aggressive floor space expansion of its high-growth Brands Outlet and Padini Concept Stores.
In just five years, Padini has almost tripled its floor space to 699,136 sq ft, with a net addition of 129,600 sq in the past year alone.
With five more stores scheduled to open in early financial year ending June 30, 2014 (FY14), much of the revenue growth in the interim will come mainly from the gradual maturing of its outlets in new malls, which should then generate a higher per square foot sales.
The management has guided that this would be achieved via attracting customer spending by tweaking its store merchandise mix and the perceived value and quality of Padini's offerings, improving the design to delivery of its products to keep up with the ever changing consumer trends and preferences and continuously refurbishing its existing stores to attract customers.
We expect Padini to register a revenue of RM802.9mil to RM927.1mil for FY13-FY14, which translate into revenue growth rates of 11%-15.5% for the two years.
Padini's operating expenses as a percentage of revenue has been on a declining trend over the past four years as the group benefited from the economies of scale of more outlet openings.
In addition, the revenue per square foot for Padini's single brand stores, Brands Outlet stores and Padini Concept stores have been increasing, reflecting the management's efficient use of floor space and probably better product mix.
As a consequence, we expect the net margins to improve by 13 to 21 basis points in FY13-FY14 estimates.
Although Padini does not have a formal dividend policy in place, the group has been paying out 35%-49% of its earnings in the past five years.
We believe that with the minimal capital expenditure plans expected for FY13-FY14 estimates, it is likely that Padini will adopt a higher dividend payout ahead.
Based on our FY13-FY14 net profit estimates of RM107.9mil to RM120.5mil, we expect the company to distribute a dividend per share of 8 sen to 9 sen, translating into attractive dividend yields of 4.4%-4.9%.

(The Star) Tower REIT net income surges

PETALING JAYA: Tower Real Estate Investment Trust’s (T-REIT) net income for financial year 2012 (FY12) ended Dec 31 more than doubled to RM71.4mil from RM30.9mil in FY11. Full-year revenue also rose to RM54.5mil from RM52mil in FY11.
Basic earnings per share rose to 25.45 sen in FY12 from 11.01 sen in the previous year, while dividend per share rose to 11.52 sen from 10.85 sen.
Meanwhile, T-REIT saw its fourth-quarter FY12 net income surge to RM44.93mil from RM8.39mil previously, while revenue in the quarter was generally flat at RM13.94mil.
Net asset per share rose as well to RM1.825 from RM1.683 at the end of the preceding financial year-end. T-REIT said in a filing with the stock exchange that the improvement in its revenue was mainly due to the increase in average occupancy rates of HP Towers and Menara HLA.
Menara HLA constituted to slightly more than half of its total real estate portfolio, with HP Towers contributing a third and Menara ING constituting 16% of its total real estate portfolio.
It noted that both office occupancy and rental rates remained stable, while new office supply would continue exerting downward pressure on existing and older buildings in the market.
Source: The Star

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

(BUSINESS TIMES) Magna Prima upbeat on project

MAGNA Prima Bhd will be launching 345 serviced apartments at its RM625 million Boulevard Business Park in Jalan Kuching, Kuala Lumpur, after the Chinese New Year.

The two- and three-bedroom units will be priced at between RM405,000 and RM713,000, or about RM500 per square feet, said its chief executive officer Datuk Rahadian Mahmud Mohammad Khalil.

Rahadian is optimistic about the take-up rate after garnering positive sales for the shop office blocks.

The freehold Boulevard integrated commercial development comprises 90 units of four-storey shop office blocks, a 33-storey serviced apartment tower and a 120,000 sq ft retail mall.

The shop offices, launched in early 2012, are 80 per cent sold.

Rahadian told Business Times that the intermediate blocks were sold for RM3.4 million on average while the corner units fetched more than RM4 million each.

He said the majority of the blocks were purchased by owner occupiers.

As part of a larger plan to enhance the project, Rahadian said Magna Prima will be setting aside 100,000 sq ft at the lower ground floor, which will be leased to a major hypermarket operator.

"I have no doubt the residential component will do well, too. The key points are the pricing, location and contents of the project. The public is attracted to mixed properties.

"The residential tower, with its modern facade, is designed so that each unit can enjoy maximum panoramic views. Some 15 per cent of the units have been sold prior to the launching," Rahadian said.

On the retail component, Rahadian said Magna Prima plans to retain it for recurring income.

"It is part of the company's strategy to retain assets for recurring income. The mall is the first such asset and we are looking at more developments," he said.

Rahadian said the project will set a new benchmark in pricing and change the landscape of Jalan Kuching once it is completed by the end of 2015.

Meanwhile, Magna Prima will be launching new projects in the second quarter of this year worth more than RM1.5 billion.

In Section 16, Shah Alam, Magna Prima will launch a RM1.4 billion mixed development comprising shop offices, a 500,000 sq ft mall and residences.

At Sunway Mentari, it will launch 36 units of shoplots worth a combined RM68 million.

At Section 5 in Petaling Jaya, Magna Prima plans to build a temporary lifestyle commercial centre.

"We are still planning the product offering for the commercial centre to complement the lifestyle of the residents in the area," Rahadian said.


(BUSINESS TIMES) I-Berhad's divisions finally see growth

KUALA LUMPUR: After seven years of development, i-City's freehold property development and leisure divisions are starting to show robust growth, as evidenced by a 592 per cent growth in I-Berhad's nine-month 2012 earnings.

OSK Research said with further sales recognition expected from the RM232 million gross development value (GDV) i-Residence (70 per cent sold, 10 per cent pending signing of Sales & Purchase Agreements) and the RM64 million GDV i-SOVO (100 per cent booked) launched last year, I-Berhad earnings are expected to grow further in the fourth quarter of 2012.

It is also expecting to grow another 128 per cent in the 2013 financial year.

The completion of the i-City Interchange and the success in a potential joint venture with the Thailand's largest retail developer, Central Pattana PCL, to build a RM500 million shopping mall should help increase property value and sales, improve tenancy rate and attract more tourists into i-City, the research house said in its report yesterday.

"The stock is still trading below its RM1.58 NTA/share as of September 30, 2012.

"Our price target is pegged to a 10x FY13 PER, translating into 1.4x P/NTA and 3.6 per cent net dividend yield in FY13," said OSK.


(BUSINESS TIMES) Four Seasons Place KL poised for take-off

THE 65-storey Four Seasons Place Kuala Lumpur, estimated to be worth about RM3 billion, will take off this year, after over four years of delay.

The project will be launched tomorrow by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Four Seasons Place, which will be the first in Southeast Asia and third in the world, is designed to complement the Petronas Twin Towers.

It will feature hotel rooms, luxury residences and retail. The product planning took four years.

It is understood that project owner and developer Venus Assets Sdn Bhd may sell the condominium units at more than RM3,000 per sq ft (psf) and the hotel rooms from RM900 per night, setting a new benchmark in pricing within the vicinity.

Venus Assets is controlled by Ipoh-born tycoon Ong Beng Seng, Tan Sri Syed Yusof Syed Nasir and the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.

The Sultan and Syed Yusof are close associates of Ong, who owns Four Seasons resorts in Bali, Singapore and the Maldives.

News of a Four Seasons being developed here by the two tycoons and the Sultan surfaced in 2005.

The project was due to launch in 2007, but postponed because of the global financial meltdown and other setbacks.

Venus Assets then considered launching the project in 2008. The project was to comprise a 72-storey condominium block, later reduced to 60 and a 38-storey hotel building.

The condominium block was to be a joint project between Venus Assets and KLCC Holdings Bhd, developed on a 0.64ha site adjacent to Menara Maxis and owned by KLCC Holdings.

The hotel building was to be built on a 1.04ha site which Venus Assets acquired for RM90 million in 2003, from the estate of the late Khoo Teck Puat, a former shareholder of Standard Chartered plc.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the plan was aborted. Instead, Venus Assets decided to build a 65-storey tower featuring condominium and hotel units at the 1.04ha site.

Piling works for the project, sandwiched between Menara Maxis and Wisma Central, was completed.

The tower was to house 240 hotel rooms, 150 condominium units, six levels of parking and four retail floors, built over four years.

At that time, Venus Assets was looking at selling the condominium units at about RM3,000 psf and the hotel rooms from RM750 per night.

But because of worsening economic conditions, the project was postponed again.

Business Times reported that Venus Assets was considering launching the project at the end of 2009, and then in 2010, but that didn't take off either.

"The plans have changed. We had to fine tune the development plan to meet changing consumer trends. It's going to be an iconic tower and it will change the city skyline," said a source familiar with the plan.

"We have been approached by several fund management companies who want to buy the building en bloc. The shareholders of Venus Assets are keeping their options open," he told Business Times.


(BUSINESS TIMES) 'KL set to woo more Japanese, HK investors'

KUALA LUMPUR: Developed and emerging countries are practising an open door policy to compete for foreign funds to invest in their property developments amid an uncertain global economic and political environment.

As a result, there will be a shift in the flow of funds towards those countries that offer the best returns, says Gavin Tee, founder of Swhengtee International Real Estate Investors Club.

Speaking at the "Changing Face of the Real Estate World" seminar recently, Tee said funds has slowly moved towards the southern part of the globe since 2009.

"In the coming years, we will see sweeping changes in the real estate world. Currently, emerging markets such as Myanmar, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam are high on the radar of many global funds but now even developed nations such as Germany, China, Australia and Singapore are on the market for such funds," he said.

Tee said within Asia, Southeast Asia, especially Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, will start to boom with more investments from Japan and Hong Kong.

On his outlook for the real estate sector this year, Tee said the global market would see more tightening of financing and possible tax increases.

"This will benefit the bigger players who have more leverage in a challenging environment. One of the consequences would be more emphasis by investors on how to handle taxes payable," Tee said.

Tee also said the secondary market in most parts of the world may face a challenging time this year due to the stricter financing measures put in place in most countries.

"Singapore recently made it harder while more cooling measures are expected in China. In some jurisdictions, loan margins for second house onwards have dropped to below 50 per cent. In Malaysia, it is a lot harder now to get loans.

"Despite that, I am bullish about prospects for investors. This decade will be the 'Golden 10 Years' for Malaysian property investors and there will be unprecedented growth in the sector, domestically," he said.

Tee also listed his picks of property hotspots in Malaysia, the Klang Valley and internationally for 2013.

Locally, Tee's Top 10 picks are Iskandar Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Kota Kinabalu, Penang (Bayan Lepas and mainland), Cyberjaya, Kuching, Tebrau, Johor Baru, Pangkor Island, KLIA region and Malacca.

His top Klang Valley hotspots are Kuala Lumpur City South (Jalan Cochrane area, Imbi, Tun Razak Exchange), Jalan Cochrane, Jalan Duta/Mont Kiara, Mid Valley/Bangsar South Belt, Taman Desa/Seputeh, Cyberjaya, Petaling Jaya town centre (Section 14), Shah Alam-Subang belt, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport region and the Kuala Lumpur City Centre.

On the international front, Tee's picks are London, Dubai, Moscow, New York, Madrid, Miami, Jakarta, Wuxi, Iskandar (Johor) and Gold Coast in Australia.


(BUSINESS TIMES) Investors make a beeline for Medini

Global Capital and Development Sdn Bhd (GCD), one of the development managers for the multi-billion ringgit Medini Iskandar Malaysia project in Johor, is poised to announce a substantial investment for the first phase of Medini's Media Village.

GCD chief executive officer Keith Martin said the impending investment will represent a built-up development value in the region of RM1.5 billion over the next three to five years.

In an e-mail interview with the Business Times recently, he said GCD is seeing more investors coming in offering to buy segments of Medini within its three development zones, namely Medini Business, Medini Living and Medini Lifestyle, totalling 658ha.

The 142ha Medini Business zone will be the site for Media@Medini media village, business parks and mixed commercial buildings, he said.

(Media@Medini media village is a development to support Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios as well as the TV and film industry in Asia).

Martin said talks with potential developers and business park operators on opportunities to fund these investments are underway and response has been positive.

"There is a clear demand driver from small and medium enterprises (SMEs), particularly from Singapore, to seek more affordable space in Medini with close proximity to Singapore," he said.

He added that such responses are not only a positive driver for development at Medini, but also a positive contributor to the Singapore growth story.

He noted that to date, GCD has secured a sizeable amount of committed investment in Medini which included a RM745 million Sunway Bhd deal announced late last year and a RM500 million landmark deal in 2010 with Malaysia's leading healthcare provider Pantai Group.

A milestone agreement was also signed with Platinum Meadow Sdn Bhd for a RM688 million commercial development in the Medini Business zone.

"Together, they represent a total development value in the region of RM1.2 billion and we are confident of the continued investor interest in Medini," said Martin.

He said Medini's development together with the greater Iskandar region have been identified as one of the catalyst developments to spur the growth of the Malaysian economy and help transform the country into a high-income nation in the future.

This growth, he said, is already in motion as evident from the amount of investment Medini and the Iskandar region have attracted for Malaysia.

"As more investments look to pour in, we will certainly continue adding a boost to Malaysia's economy and contributing to its healthy gross domestic product figures," he said.

Asked on the significance of having London-based Pinewood Studios in a country where its film industry is not as significant as the other major ones, Martin said while this is somewhat true, Asia on the other hand is fast becoming a key player in the global TV and film landscape.

Asia-Pacific, he said, is the second fastest growing region for entertainment and media in an outlook for the period 2010 to 2014 and China's film industry is already the world's third largest.

"This growth and the massive Asian market mean that the region will need good quality production studios and support facilities nearby," he said.

"Pinewood Malaysia Studios will be able to offer the latest integrated media production studio facilities, with a variety of city, natural and tropical filming locations conveniently accessible," he said, adding that qualified productions filmed in Malaysia will also be entitled to a rebate of 30 per cent of production costs.

Martin said the Pinewood Malaysia Studios development is currently constructing five state-of-the-art production studios for TV and film production.


(The Star) Medini Iskandar eyes RM6bil listing?

PETALING JAYA: Following in the footsteps of Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Bhd (IWH), another Iskandar-linked entity may be mulling over a flotation.
Sources told StarBiz that Iskandar Investment Bhd (IIB) subsidiary,Medini Iskandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd (MIMSB) was mulling over a listing on Bursa Malaysia, on its strength as Iskandar Malaysia's urban township.
Although still at an early stage of planning, MIMSB's planned listing follows in the same model of IWH: As the township developer of massive property projects in a part of the country that is bound to see future growth thanks partly to its proximity to land starved Singapore.
Sources indicated that the potential listing could be worth up to US$2bil (RM6.09bil), taking into account the developments in the Medini Iskandar region. As one of IIB's catalytic projects, Medini is already proving to be a world-class development with the likes of international theme park Legoland under its belt.
IIB signed a RM750mil deal with Merlin Entertainments Group Ltd to set up the 30ha Legoland Malaysia, the first of its kind in Asia.
Legoland Park first opened in September last year, with 40 rides on display. Plans for a water park and a hotel are in the midst of construction and set for opening in 2013 and 2014.
Located in the heart of Nusajaya, Medini is surrounded by other developments such as EduCity, another of IIB's catalytic projects, serving as an international education hub.
The 243ha education hub will comprise universities and higher education institutes, academia-industry action and research and development centres, student accommodations, as well as recreational and sports facilities.
Educational institutions such as Marlborough College Malaysia, Netherlands Maritime Institute of Technology and University of Southampton Malaysia Campus are located in the area.
Also in the neighbourhood is Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios, an integrated media production studio facility that has 100,000 sq ft of film stages, and 24,000 sq ft of TV studios, among other facilities. Pinewood Studios is also in the United Kingdom, Canada, Dominican Republic and Germany.
Also, a host of top name developers have bought land or entered into joint ventures with IIB for projects there.
These include WCT BhdDistinctive Group and Beijing-based Zhuoyuan Iskandar Sdn Bhd.
WCT is developing the high-rise residential project 1Medini, while Distinctive Group's projects are for a luxury condominium and a commercial centre. Zhuoyuan is developing a high-end residential condominium.
MIMSB is 75% owned by IIB while United World Infrastructure (UWI) of Dubai owns the balance 25%.
IIB is 60% owned by Khazanah Nasional Bhd. The Employees Provident Fund and Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor Bhd each hold an equal share of the remaining 40% in IIB.
IIB's role is to coordinate and invest in catalytic initiatives in the Iskandar Malaysia region. It is developing four clusters: education, leisure and tourism, healthcare and wellness, and creative development.
Medini Iskandar is a 902.4ha greenfield development which is designed as the new urban township of Iskandar Malaysia.
It has an expected gross development value (GDV) of US$20bil (RM61bil) over 15 to 20 years. The flagship development is expected to develop about 20% of the area by 2014, with a targeted population of 50,000.
The Medini township development began six years ago in 2007 with an initial capital investment of RM4.1bil. To date, RM1.84bil has been spent to complete the infrastructure works.
The master plan for the area is split into four distinct development clusters: Medini North, Medini Business, Medini Central and Medini South.
Recently, IIB president and chief executive officer Datuk Syed Mohamed Syed Ibrahim said he aimed to make Iskandar Malaysia an international metropolis by injecting more catalytic projects in the Iskandar region.
Source: The Star