Friday, 31 May 2013

(The Edge) Low Yat banks on Latar interchange

RAWANG: Low Yat Group will invest RM100 million in building an interchange linked to the Latar Expressway to improve connectivity to its township, Bandar Tasik Puteri.

The expressway connects Kuala Selangor to Shah Alam, Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur.

A new interchange, which will be constructed 12.9km (west) of the Latar Expressway, is expected to be a catalyst for growth for the 2,670-acre (1,068ha) township.

“It is expected that with this interchange, property prices will appreciate by at least 30% upon completion based on the impact of previous new highways on existing townships. Additional benefits will include higher capital appreciation for properties at Bandar Tasik Puteri and spur further development in the area,” said Low Yat Group executive director Low Gee Soon.

The project involves the construction of a semi-clover leaf junction, a four-way dual carriageway, two lanes for loops and a two-lane road into the expressway from Bandar Tasik Puteri. Upon the expressway’s completion, the estimated travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Bandar Tasik Puteri will be about 25 minutes.

“Now the concessionaire is just doing the preliminary works like soil investigation. We hope to commence construction before the end of this year to meet the deadline,” Low said.

The interchange is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2015 (3Q15).

Low said the company will launch new projects in Bandar Tasik Puteri as there will be more interest in the area due to the better connectivity.

“We will be looking to expand the product mix as well as look into greater forms of commercial development that will take advantage of this interchange,” he said.

Low Yat Group project and construction management director Lee Kok Wah said the group will be launching 1,400 residential units comprising apartments, terraced and cluster homes within the next three years. It is also looking at developing more commercial products within Bandar Tasik Puteri.

To date, Low Yat has developed 1,200 acres in the township. The remaining 1,500 acres are expected to keep the group busy for 15 years. So far, RM2.5 billion worth of properties have been launched in Bandar Tasik Puteri and there are plans for RM5 billion of residential units and RM3 billion of commercial units in the pipeline.

“This will take us the next 15 years to deliver, but hopefully by that time, the gross development value [GDV] will increase with the appreciation of prices,” Lee said.

Low Yat plans to launch the third phase of Garden Heights in Bandar Tasik Puteri next month. The first and second phase were 100% and 90% sold respectively.

Phase 3 will comprise 114 2-storey terraced houses on 7.64 acres of leasehold land with a GDV of RM50 million. Built-ups are between 2,146 and 2,863 sq ft and the units are priced from RM414,363 to RM778,201 each. It is expected to be completed in 4Q15.

Phase 2 has 123 2-storey terraced units while phase 1 offers 100 2-storey terraced houses. The group is planning to launch phase 4 with 163 units of the same type.

Garden Heights will have eight phases consisting of six phases of 2-storey terraced houses and two phases of semi-detached and cluster homes.

“We hope to progressively launch till the end of 2013 but this depends on the demand and take-up rate,” said Low.

Low Yat Group started in the 1940s as a construction company and has become the largest privately owned group in Malaysia with diversified interests in property investment, hotels, construction, plantations, development, management and trading.

The group’s developments include Rivercity Condominium in Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur; myHabitat Serviced Residences in Jalan Aman, Kuala Lumpur; and Penang Island Bay Resort.

(The Edge) S P Setia wins fifth global Fiabci award

TAICHUNG: S P Setia Bhd took home its fifth award in seven years in the Fiabci Prix d’Excellence Awards 2013.

At a presentation ceremony held in Taichung, Taiwan, on Monday, the developer received the top prize in the Best Master Plan category for its flagship development, Setia Alam, in Shah Alam, Selangor. It is the only Malaysian developer with five Fiabci Prix d’Excellence awards to its name.

Fiabci is the French acronym for the International Real Estate Federation. It has been organising the awards annually since 1992, recognising property projects which best embody excellence in all real estate disciplines.

The gold award for Best Master Plan is S P Setia’s third following Setia Eco Gardens (Johor Baru) in 2009 and Setia Eco Park (Shah Alam) in 2007. Apart from the three Fiabci Prix d’Excellence Awards for Best Master Plan, S P Setia has also been recognised in the Specialised Project (Purpose-Built) category for Setia Eco Gardens in 2012 and Best Residential (Low-Rise) Development 2011 for Setia Eco Park.

“This award is the accumulation of all the efforts of everyone in the Setia Team. The 2,525-acre [1,021ha] Setia Alam is a testament to our commitment to creating value and giving value to our customers. We saw the potential in what had been dismissed by others as a no man’s land and transformed this oil palm plantation into one of the most successful townships in Malaysia,” said S P Setia president and CEO Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, who accepted the award for Setia Alam.

“We accomplished this by creating and executing a visionary development master plan that provided not just affordable housing for a broad demographic spectrum but also economic opportunities. At the same time, we set new benchmarks for quality and sustainability,” he said.

Setia Alam is part of the freehold 4,000-acre former plantation land, North Hummock Estate, S P Setia acquired in 2002. Of the 4,000 acres, about 605 acres were sold to Selangor State Development Corp and Setia Eco Park took up the remaining tract.

Setia Alam, which is expected to be completed in about 10 years, consists of 14 precincts. Around 10% of the township is gazetted for green space.

“We have come full circle in living up to our development philosophy of Live Learn Work Play. The township of Setia Alam truly embodies this master plan DNA which has proven successful in all our developments in the country and now overseas,” said Liew.

Other gold winners this year were Tujuan Gemilang Sdn Bhd’s PJ Trade Centre in the Office category and YTL Land & Development Bhd’s Sandy Island waterfront villas in Singapore in the Best Residential (Low-Rise) Development category.

The silver winners were Quill Group’s Quill 6 in Lebuh Ampang, Kuala Lumpur in the Office category and Selangor Dredging Bhd’s 20Trees in Taman Melawati, Ulu Kelang, Selangor in the Best Residential (Low-Rise) category.

The Fiabci Prix d’Excellence Awards 2013 saw a record entry of 81 projects from 12 countries vying for top honours in 14 categories. The event was officiated by Lee Hong Yuan, Taiwan’s Minister of Interior.

(The Edge) Mitraland to launch Vina Versatile Homes

KUALA LUMPUR: More than half of Mitraland Group’s latest condominium project Vina Versatile Homes @ Cheras will be green and landscaped spaces.

The project, which is expected to be launched on June 8, will be built on a 7.5- acre (3.03ha) freehold residential site in Jalan Seri Taming in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur. It has a gross development value (GDV) of about RM300 million.

The development offers 474 units housed in three towers — Block A (17 storeys), Block B (26 storeys) and Block C (12 storeys). Built-ups are between 1,250 and 2,887 sq ft with a price tag from RM500 psf onwards.

According to Mitraland Group chairman Datuk Johan Ariffin, 60% of the land has been allocated for greenery and landscape. The condo offers a dual key concept for the 1,550 sq ft units.

Facilities consist of a forest walk with a 610m jungle-themed jogging track, gymnasium, tennis court, half basketball court, badminton court and play area. The development will also have a 50m resort pool with central floating deck and it is the first project in Cheras with an aqua gym.

Johan said based on public response, Mitraland is very optimistic about the sale of the development.

Since its preview last month, Vina has received over 1,200 registrations with 70% of Block B booked.

“The demand for property in Cheras is expected to rise, especially for high-rise developments due to the recent increase in land costs and property prices, the ageing of existing landed properties, the demand for gated and guarded residential projects, the new generation seeking better lifestyle living and more modern facilities as well as the rapid development of infrastructure,” he said.

Mitraland is also busy with the upcoming launch of phase 2 of its 16 Quartz project in Taman Melawati, Ulu Kelang in Selangor, on June 15 and 16.

Phase 3 will be launched at a later date. Phase 2 consists of 26 zero lot villas, and phase 3 offers 36 low-rise condominium units.

The two new phases have a combined GDV of RM110 million. Phase 1 was launched on Sept 29 and 30 last year with a take-up of 75% so far.

Mitraland Group was established in 1998 and has grown its portfolio to a value of more than RM650 million worth of projects. Its existing projects include Kiara 1888 in Mont’Kiara, The Oasis in Cheras and Sejati Hill Villa in Bandar Sungai Long, Kajang in Selangor.

(The Edge) Tropicana Corp to develop RM6.3 billion GDV Tropicana Metropark

SUBANG JAYA: Property developer, Tropicana Corp Bhd, is developing a 35.6ha land here into a mixed development project, namely Tropicana Metropark, with a gross development value of RM6.3 billion, spanning over 12 years.

Group Chief Executive Officer Datuk Yau Kok Seng said the project, with a net floor area of about 743,000 square metres, will be offering a fusion of residential, office space, retail, shopping mall, a four to five-star hotel, entertainment hub and learning and medical centres.

"Tropicana Metropark is the company's launch pad to build its momentum this year," he told reporters at the project ground-breaking by Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) President Datuk Asmawi Kasbi.

To enhance accesibility of its development, Yau said, the company will build a RM150 million flyover which will directly link the project to the Federal Highway.

"Work on the flyover will commence next year and is expected to be completed by 2016," he said.

Meanwhile, Asmawi said MPSJ was talking to Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd to relocate the nearby Batu Tiga commuter station into the Metropark area to improve connectivity of the development.

In conjunction with the ground-breaking, Tropicana also launched the Pandora service residences, with a gross development value of RM360 million. The two residential towers offered 627 apartment units with three designs -- studio, two and three-bedroom, with built-up areas from 600 to 1,200 square feet, priced at RM840 per square foot.

"Since the preview two months ago, over 70 per cent of the total units were snapped up, signifying high demand and buyers' confidence for the development," Yau added.

(The Edge) KUB says not cause of delay

KUALA LUMPUR: KUB Bhd, tasked with building the runway and taxiways for KLIA2, said it was not one of the contractors that had caused the delay of the low-cost carrier terminal.

“Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has announced that some contractors have been causing delays. I am proud to say KUB is not one of these contractors,” said CEO Datuk Wan Mohd Nor Wan Ahmad.

“The runways and taxiways are 85% completed and we are on track to deliver our packages on time,” he told reporters yesterday after the signing of a memorandum of understanding between KUB and Datacom Systems (Asia) Sdn Bhd.

KUB is building the 4km runway for klia2 as well as the taxiways that link the runway to the aircraft stands, a job worth RM260 million.

On Wednesday, MAHB announced that it would be seeking compensation from contractors that had caused the delay in the opening of klia2, which was scheduled for June 28.

However, the airport operator did not reveal the contractors that it would bill to for the delay.

Wan Mohd Nor refuted earlier reports that the delays had been caused by soil settlement issues due to the relocation of the airport to peat swamp land with notoriously soft soil.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar and DAP national publicity chief Tony Pua had earlier condemned MAHB for moving the location of klia2 from the north to the west where the soil consists of saturated mineral clay with an overlay of peat material.

They highlighted that the soil conditions are not suitable for the construction of the airport without undertaking significant engineering measures to improve the load-bearing capacity.

The construction of an airport’s runway is most problematic with the soil settlement as the runway covers a wide area and must be durable to very heavy loads, said industry players.

WCT Bhd and Gadang Holdings Bhd, which laid the earthworks, managed to deliver their packages on time for the project.

(The Edge) IGB: RM1.5b cash pile to generate recurring income

KUALA LUMPUR: With a cash pile of RM1.5 billion, IGB Corp Bhd plans to build properties, such as office buildings and malls that will generate recurring future income.

Speaking after the company AGM yesterday, managing director Robert Tan said the company would be taking more time to evaluate and acquire potential land as it is adopting a “build to keep” and not a “build to sell” concept.

IGB Corp has a listed real estate investment trust, IGB REIT, which owns assets built by the group. Currently, it has Mid Valley Megamall and The Gardens Mall in Kuala Lumpur in its asset portfolio.

Mid Valley Megamall is a one-stop mall for the masses, while The Gardens Mall is positioned as a premium fashion mall focused on higher income earners.

Tan said IGB REIT, 51% owned by the IGB Corp, is confident of achieving a double digit rental income as 54% of its net lettable area (NLA) at The Gardens Mall is coming up for renewal this year.

“The (rental) environment is challenging and we will try our best to enhance our rates,” Tan said, adding that the company has managed to charge higher rental rates by bringing in new tenants in place of old ones who have moved elsewhere within the mall.

The company has also increased the NLA for the third floor of Mid Valley Megamall by 30,000 sq ft after revamping the old food court. This resulted in its net property income increasing by threefold.

IGB REIT CEO Antony Barragry said the company expects to see year-on-year increase in tenant growth at The Gardens Mall and Mid Valley Megamall.

IGB Corp is also building the RM6 billion Southkey Megamall in Johor Baru, which offers 1.5 million sq ft of NLA. The project is still at the preliminary stage.

Also in the pipeline is its Three28 Tun Razak project, with a GDV of RM96 million, and the Park Manor project with a GDV of RM97 million. Both projects are slated for completion in the third quarter of this year.

The group has spent RM500 million year-to-date, mainly on the construction of the last phase of a building at Mid Valley City in Kuala Lumpur called Southpoint — a mixed office and retail development slated to be completed in 2015.

IGB Corp reported a 16.3% fall in net profit to RM48.1 million for the first quarter (1Q) ended March 31 due to higher operating expenses.

However, the group posted higher revenue of RM243 million against RM222.9 million a year earlier. The increase in the group’s revenue was due to higher contributions from its property investment and hotel divisions.

(BUSINESS TIMES) IGB: Business picking up after quiet first qtr

KUALA LUMPUR: IGB Corp Bhd, which owns the retail space in Mid Valley City, has started to see business beginning to pick up since the second quarter after a rather quiet first quarter, managing director Robert Tan said.

He said May and June will be the peak season for shoppers and the company will continue with its various marketing campaigns to boost tenants' revenues.

He said some RM5 million will be spent this year to upgrade some parts of the mall to improve the quality of visitors' shopping experience.

Mid Valley Megamall continues to be a key shopping destination in the Klang Valley. Last year, over 38 million people visited the Mid Valley Megamall which has a high occupancy rate at 99 per cent.

The adjacent mall, the Gardens Mall also had a 99.5 per cent occupancy rate last year.

Last year, total revenue from these two retail assets, Mid Valley Megamall and The Gardens Mall stood at RM79.8 million and RM35.5 million respectively.

Tan spoke to reporters after the company's IGB REIT annual general meeting's here yesterday.

He said the company will be launching two new properties in the Klang Valley this September with a total gross development value of RM165 million.

The projects are a condominium development in Jalan Tun Razak called Three28 Tun Razak with a gross development value (GDV) of RM69 million and a bungalow development project called Park Manor in Sierramas with a GDV of RM96 million.

The company is also in the design process of a Mid Valley-like mall in Johor called Southkey Mall, a mixed commercial development and has an estimated GDV of about RM6 billion.

"We want to attract Singaporean investors to this development," said Tan.

Asked if it has plans to invest in more properties here and abroad, he said the company is always on the lookout but will only reveal details if things are finalised.

He said IGB is in talks with some parties on a few land deals.

On IGB REIT's outlook for this year, Tan said he expects the performance to be maintained as long as interest rates remain unchanged.

IGB REIT was listed in September last year and its proceeds are being used to fund the group's expansion activities.

Tan said the five-year-old Gardens Mall should act as a growth driver for IGB REIT as 54.2 per cent of its occupied bet lettable area is expiring end of this year and the second round of rental adjustment will give the mall the opportunity for an upward rental revision.

(NST) BrandLaureate award for JPO

SHOPPER’S PARADISE: Johor Premium Outlets is the Best Brands in Retail — Outlet Shopping Destinations

JOHOR BARU: JOHOR Premium Outlets (JPO) was recently awarded the Best Brands in Retail -- Outlet Shopping Destinations at The BrandLaureate Awards Gala Dinner at The Majestic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

The award was presented by BrandLaureate president, Dr K.K. Johan to Genting Simon director Alex Phang.

The award is one of the most prestigious awards presented to brands that have stamped their mark in the industry.

The category awarded to JPO was a special award given to the outlet's centre, an honour to the unique, distinctive and rewarding shopping experience that JPO offers.

JPO general manager Jean Marie Pin Harry said that JPO was honoured to receive this award as it marks a huge milestone for the company.

"It is indeed a testament to the variety of leading designer and quality brands at JPO, offering impressive savings, and it endorses our position as the outlet's shopping destination in Malaysia and in the region," said Jean Marie.

As the first Premium Outlet Centre in Southeast Asia, JPO has welcomed millions of shoppers from around the world since its official opening in December 2011.

Genting Simon, the joint-venture that owns the centre, announced its plans for the second phase which is scheduled to open to the public in the fourth-quarter of 2013, extending the existing concept and enhancing the outlet's shopping experience.

There are currently 77 Premium Outlet centres around the world, including 63 in the United States, one in Puerto Rico, nine in Japan, two in Korea, one in Malaysia and one in Mexico.

Premium Outlets is a portfolio of shopping centres which brings together the finest brands in unique outdoor settings and offers impressive savings of between 25 and 65 per cent every day.

The BrandLaureate BestBrands Awards was organised by The Asia Pacific Brands Foundation (APBF), a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion and improvement of branding standards in Malaysia and the Asia Pacific.

Honouring brand excellence among the best of brands in Malaysia and the world, The BrandLaureate Award is a testimony to the brand's success.


PETALING JAYA: Famous Japanese restaurant Kampachi recently held the soft opening for its latest restaurant in Plaza33, an extension of the highly-successful Jaya 33, here.

At the event, guests were treated to a delectable buffet, from a variety of cold cuts and assorted tempura to Japanese desserts like mochi.

Kampachi Restaurants Sdn Bhd general manager Chiharu Yabe said the new Kampachi will raise the bar for Japanese fine-dining in Petaling Jaya.

"I am confident the debut of the new Kampachi will be welcomed by those working and residing in Petaling Jaya and its vicinity," she said.

Located on the first floor, the newly-opened restaurant can accommodate 198 diners at one time.

Kampachi has won numerous accolades, including awards from Tourism Malaysia and also listed in the Miele Guide as the best Japanese restaurant, and among the top four restaurants in Malaysia for 2011/2012.

(NST) RM61m road to ease dependence on river

KUCHING: Dependence on Sungai Rajang will be significantly reduced with the completion of a 38km road from Bakun to Belaga in August.

Sarawak Infrastructure Development and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin said the road would provide an alternative mode of transportation for residents in the two areas.

"It is about 60 per cent complete and we expect it to be (fully) completed in August," he said, adding that the RM61.2 million road was constructed under the military's Jiwa Murni programme.

Manyin said another road, stretching 140km and linking Sangan in Bintulu to Kapit, would also play a significant role in reducing dependence on water transportation.

Construction on the road, however, has stalled, with only 18.2km completed because of the shortage of funds.

The complete stretch costs RM174 million.

The project, which will entail the construction of bridges, is estimated to cost a total of RM1.8 billion.

"We are waiting for more funds and when we get them, construction will continue immediately," Manyin said after launching a road safety campaign in conjunction with the Gawai festival at the Kuching Sentral bus terminal yesterday.

A peninsula-based company had been awarded the contract to build the road.

Manyin also said officers from his ministry would hold a series of dialogues with district officers, residents and regional and divisional engineers from the Public Works Department late next month to get feedback and identify areas where more roads should be built.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

(The Star) Malaysia Airports takes KLIA2 contractors to task for delay in completion

It will impose liquidated and ascertained damages on the responsible parties for the delay in completion
PETALING JAYA: The delays plaguing the completion of KLIA2 is the result of the non-delivery of parts of the project by contractors, leadingMalaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) to come out to say that it would impose liquidated and ascertained damages (LAD) on the responsible parties.
While MAHB did not reveal the amount of the LAD being sought, sources told StarBiz that it amounted to some RM4mil to RM6mil for every month of delay. KLIA2's first targeted date of completion was September 2011, but it isn't clear what period of time the LADs are being claimed for.
Sources also told StarBiz that the UEM Group was one of the contractors affected.
Failure to open the airport on June 28 would mean a fifth delay in the opening of what has been touted as Asia's biggest low-cost carrier terminal, or LCCT, that can cater to 45 million passengers.
Sources also said that while the airport was about 92% complete, the terminal building had not been fully completed by the contractor a UEM-Bina Puri joint venture.
“Some of the works cannot be finished because the terminal is not completed, and some works would coincide with the completion of the terminal,” said a source.
MAHB told Bursa Malaysia that its board had met yesterday and had decided to impose the LAD on the respective contractors and pursue any other recourse available to it under the contract.
It added that “the board had taken note of the contractors' notification that they were unable to meet their contractual obligations for the opening of KLIA2 on June 28”.
No new date has been announced and MAHB in the statement stated that the “contractors have requested for time to revert with a revised date”.
A source revealed that MAHB had committed to the June 28 opening because UEM had promised to deliver the completed terminal on May 1. However, two weeks ago, MAHB said even that deadline could not be met because the contractor was not able to complete the work on time.
Any further delay in the opening would mean that the airport can only be opened next year, leading to analysts expressing concern about the impact these delays would have on MAHB.
MAHB has been criticised by various quarters for the delays. The worry also has been that there would be significant cost overruns.
AirAsia Bhd is expected to be the anchor tenant at KLIA2 and its owner,Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, had since mid-last year warned that KLIA2 could turn out to be an expensive “black hole” due to poor decisions made by MAHB in 2009.
UEM senior officials contacted yesterday declined to comment, while Fernandes could not be reached.
The original plan was to build a terminal to cater to 20 million passengers at a cost of RM2bil, but since the growth of low-cost air traffic has been mushrooming in Asia and the fact that there had been requests made by airlines and other relevant parties for a bigger airport and facilities, MAHB decided to build an airport to cater to 45 million passengers instead at a cost of RM4bil.
Now, with the delays, talk is that the cost of building the airport could balloon to RM5bil.
“Though MAHB is seeking damages for late delivery, which is a step in the right direction, it should have also been more transparent in telling the market the issues it was facing with the contractors, and the numerous requests made by airlines that had changed parts of the plan,” commented a source, adding that in January this year, an airline had already made a request that would inevitably lead to some changes in the plan and a delay in the completion of the airport.
Earlier reports stated that a year's delay would mean MAHB having to fork out cash reserves of RM774.2mil, which could likely mean it would distribute a slightly lower dividend.
Another analyst expects the delay of KLIA2's opening to affect MAHB's earnings in the coming year.
However, other insiders reckon that the cost of KLIA2 to be borne by MAHB is “well contained within the RM4bil”, and that MAHB had adequate finances in place to fund the project.

(The Star) Hap Seng may spin off property unit

Lee (left) and chairman Datuk Jorgen Bornhoft at the press conference after the EGM yesterday
Lee (left) and chairman Datuk Jorgen Bornhoft at the press conference after the EGM yesterday
KUALA LUMPUR: Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd may consider spinning off its lucrative property arm into a separate listed entity, similar to the exercise being undertaken by plantation giant IOI Corp Bhd, according to group managing director Datuk Edward Lee Ming Foo.
“That is always an option. We have not ruled it out,” he told journalists after several shareholder meetings yesterday, adding that the company is currently beefing up its landbank.
Its property development division is the group's most profitable unit, with an operating margin of 68% in the year ended Dec 31, 2012. Hap Seng Land saw its operating profit and revenue jump 115% and 89%, respectively, to RM438.9mil and RM645mil during the period.
Lee said the firm's total landbank stood at 2,550 acres, out of which 130 acres is in Peninsular Malaysia and the rest in Sabah, where it is a major township developer with projects in Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, Lahad Datu and Sandakan.
Hap Seng has unbilled sales of RM256mil.
“We intend to build mainly residences on land that is ready for development, not only in Kota Kinabalu but also the bigger towns in Sabah, as well as the Klang Valley.
“Considering the success of D'Alpinia and Horizon, we are actively looking for land. So far, we have bought land in Bangsar, a plot next to Dua Residence along Jalan Tun Razak for serviced apartments and nine acres in Balakong for a mixed project.
“We also have a significant amount of land in Tawau not far from town with medium-term potential for development,” he explained.
In addition, Hap Seng plans to tap its existing quarry sites in Johor for property development once mining activities cease, given the rising appeal of the state's Iskandar Malaysia region.
On its existing property projects in Kuala Lumpur, Lee said the firm would hold on to its 30-storey Menara Hap Seng 2, which is under construction, for recurring income. The office tower will have 330,000 sq ft of net lettable area and 10 levels of basement and elevated parking.
Hap Seng is at an advanced stage of negotiations with a possible anchor tenant for the Grade A office, while talks are ongoing with other prospects, Lee said.
Meanwhile, its luxury condominium The Horizon Residences, which borders the Royal Selangor Golf Club, is 70% sold. The buyers are a mix of some 20 nationalities, according to Lee.
On its plantation business, the fifth largest contributor to group revenue last year, Lee said he believes the current downcycle is temporary.
“Crude palm oil, like all commodities, is cyclical, and at the moment we are on the low end of the cycle,” he said, adding that demand for edible oils is set to increase in tandem with world population growth.
Asked whether Hap Seng might hive off its loss-making quarry and building materials unit, Lee replied that it would remain within the group.
“The losses in building materials were not across the board. Our quarries are profitable, but the new facilities have a gestation period. We also saw losses from the discontinuation of our tiles trading division because there was retrenchment of staff and clearing of inventory.
“As for the fertiliser business, we have owned it for more than 30 years. It is also cyclical. You cannot have a good year every year, but it is a business we believe in. In the good years we make a lot of money,” Lee said.
The group said it was spending between RM400mil and RM500mil in capital expenditure this year across its core businesses, which includes Mercedes Benz dealerships in Malaysia and Vietnam as well as lending to small to medium enterprises.

(The Star) Mah Sing to develop RM1.4bil gross development Sabah project

Together with this acquisition, Mah Sing now has 44 projects with a combined remaining GDV and unbilled sales of RM27.8bil.
Together with this acquisition, Mah Sing now has 44 projects with a combined remaining GDV and unbilled sales of RM27.8bil.
KUALA LUMPUR: Mah Sing Group Bhd will be developing Kota Kinabalu Convention City (KKCC) in Sabah with an estimated gross development (GDV) of RM1.4bil.
In a statement yesterday, Mah Sing said its 51% subsidiary, Convention City Development Sdn Bhd had acquired 9.33 acres of land in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah for the project.
“The total investment for the land at RM184.9mil is equivalent to about 13.2% of the estimated potential GDV and will be paid over a minimum of 42 months,” Mah Sing said.
It added that the development was expected to commence in 2014 and completed within five years.
Mah Sing said Convention City had signed a development agreement with Yayasan Sabah to develop 8.33 acres of prime commercial land in Kota Kinabalu for an entitlement of RM163mil.
Besides RM1mil to be paid upon execution of the development agreement, the rest shall be paid in four tranches over a minimum of 3.5 years, subject to fulfillment of landowners' obligations.
A building together with the one-acre piece of land adjacent to the project was also acquired for RM21.9mil from Sasinma Sdn Bhd.
Mah Sing is also entitled to exercise an option for 5.95 acres of adjacent land which may generate additional GDV of RM600mil, potentially bringing up the GDV of KKCC to RM2bil.
“We may exercise the option for an entitlement price of RM117mil, within two years from the issuance of the separate issue document of title. This will provide further upside for our KKCC project, and the overall entitlement price for both phases will be about 15% of the potential GDV of RM2bil to be generated should we exercise the option,” group managing director Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum said.
Together with this acquisition, Mah Sing now has 44 projects with a combined remaining GDV and unbilled sales of RM27.8bil.

(The Edge) Update: Mah Sing granted development right in Sabah

KUALA LUMPUR: Mah Sing Group Bhd’s unit, Convention City Development Sdn Bhd (CCD), has been granted an exclusive right by Yayasan Sabah to develop a tract in Kota Kinabalu for RM163 million cash.

In an announcement to Bursa Malaysia, Mah Sing said its unit had signed a development agreement with Yayasan Sabah for a landmark commercial development, which is called Kota Kinabalu Convention City, which has an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM1.4 billion.

The proposed development is adjacent to the upcoming Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. It measures 8.33 acres (3.3ha).

CCD was also granted an exclusive option to develop two parcels of adjacent land with a total land area of 5.95 acres for RM117 million.

Additionally, CCD has also entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Sasinma Sdn Bhd for the proposed acquisition of an additional one acre which shares a common border with the tract being purchased.

Currently under construction, SICC would be the main centre for convention activities and development of the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions industry in Sabah.

Kota Kinabalu Convention City, which comprises a luxury hotel, a business hotel, hotel suites and office towers, is expected to commence development in the first half (1H) of next year.

On Tuesday, Mah Sing announced two other land acquisitions in Iskandar Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur with a total GDV of RM7 billion.

The group said altogether it would have a total of 43 projects with RM26.4 billion in remaining GDV and unbilled sales. It added that this would provide significant earnings visibility for seven to eight years.

Mah Sing’s Iskandar project, Meridin@Senibong is being built on a 35.26-acre piece of freehold land. The development comprises serviced residences, hotel or serviced suites, a retail podium and a street mall.

Its development in Kuala Lumpur, the Lakeville Residence in Kepong, has an estimated GDV of RM1.15 billion and spans over 12.38 acres. The residential area is targeted for its soft launch in 1H14.

“This is one of the last pieces of development land in a mature location in Kuala Lumpur,” said Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum, group managing director cum group chief executive in a statement.

Meanwhile, Mah Sing’s Southville City@KL South has obtained approvals for a direct interchange and additional parcels of land have been added to the project, boosting the size to 424 acres from 412 acres.

With an improved masterplan for the project, the enhanced GDV is now RM5.13 billion.

(The Edge) PJI bags RM32m MRT contract

KUALA LUMPUR: PJI Holdings Bhd has bagged a RM32 million contract from Mass Rapid Transit Corp Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp).

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, PJI said the construction firm’s wholly owned subsidiary, PJ Indah Sdn Bhd, has accepted the letter of acceptance from MRT Corp to establish fire detection and protection systems for the MRT’s Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line.

“The contract will not have any significant effect on the earnings or net assets per share of the company for [2013 financial year], but is expected to contribute positively to future earnings,” said PJI.

The firm said the contract encompasses the supply, procurement, installation, testing and commissioning of fire detection and protection systems for elevated packages and the Sungai Buloh Depot and is due for completion by December 2014.

PJI said it does not foresee any exceptional risk other than normal operational risks associated with the contract.

(The Edge) Mah Sing in aggressive expansion mode

Mah Sing Group Bhd (May 29, RM3.35)

Maintain buy at RM3.21 with a revised target price of RM3.85 (from RM3.31): Net profit for the first quarter ended March of 2013 financial year (1QFY13) was in line. We are also positive on its latest land acquisitions in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor, and the Klang Valley. We have raised our realisable net asset value (RNAV) based target price to RM3.85 (+54 sen) to include the value enhancement of these two parcels. We fine-tune our FY13 net profit forecasts by -0.2%, FY14 by +0.4% and FY15 by +8.1% to factor in these acquisitions. Potentially aggressive landbanking (plans are to raise gross development value [GDV] by RM7.2 billion to RM30 billion in 2013) could provide for more upside to our RNAV.

Mah Sing’s 1Q net profit of RM69.5 million (+16% year-on-year (y-o-y), +30% quarter-on-quarter [q-o-q]) made up 23% to 24% of our and consensus full-year estimates. The underlying earnings were strengthened by record property sales in FY12 (RM2.5 billion) and better operating margins (+2.1 percentage points [pps] y-o-y, +4.7 pps q-o-q). Mah Sing is on track to achieve its FY13 sales target of RM3 billion with locked-in sales of RM749.6 million for 1Q. Unbilled sales were RM3.6 billion (two times our FY13 revenue forecast).

Mah Sing has proposed to acquire: (i) 14.3ha freehold land in Iskandar (Meridin @ Senibong) beside Senibong Cove from Kim San Investments Sdn Bhd for RM366 million cash (or RM238 per sq ft [psf]); and (ii) 5ha in Taman Wahyu in Kuala Lumpur (Lakeville Residence) from Bun Seng Hardware Sdn Bhd for RM73 million cash (RM135 psf). Land costs will be settled over six to11 months.

We are positive on the two acquisitions given their fair pricing and strategic locations. Meridin @ Senibong (mixed development; RM708 psf average selling price [ASP]; similar concept as Meridin @ Medini) should benefit from rising demand for properties in Iskandar while Lakeview Residence (serviced apartment; RM533 psf ASP) will attract demand from property upgraders in that area.

We adjusted our earnings forecasts to factor in: (i) Meridin @ Senibong (RM4.4 billion in GDV, 25% pre-tax margin, five-year development period); (ii) Lakeville Residence (RM1.2 billion in GDV, 20% pre-tax margin, four-year development period); and (iii) increase in GDV to RM5.1 billion for the Southville City project (40%).

The acquisitions will boost Mah Sing’s total landbank and remaining GDV by 4.5% to 52%. — Maybank IB Research, May 29

(The Edge) Magna Prima set to move from million ringgit to billion ringgit projects

KUALA LUMPUR: This year will be a new milestone for Magna Prima Bhd as it moves over from million to billion ringgit developments, said chief executive officer, Datuk Rahadian Mahmud Mohd Khalil.

Citing an example, he said the four-year Magna Ecocity development in Shah Alam, with a gross development value (GDV) of RM1.4 billion, will commence in the third quarter of the year.

"Next year, we will commence another project in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur with a GDV estimated to be around RM2 billion and set for completion within five years," he told Bernama after the company's annual general meeting here today.

Focused on the Klang Valley, Magna Prima is a niche developer of integrated lifestyle themed projects that attract robust take-up rates. He said the company is also casting its eyes outside the Klang Valley in looking at other states like Penang.

Rahadian Mahmud said Magna Prima is confident of recording better results for financial year 2013, following the handover of a few projects this year.

"We will most likely do better this year with some projects set for completion, namely Alam d'16 in Shah Alam, One Sierra (Selayang) and Seri Jalil (Bukit Jalil)," he added.

He said for this year, the company is not looking to acquire any more landbank, following its recent RM60 million acquisition in Sunway Mentari, Petaling Jaya, and will focus on current projects development.

The investment holding company recorded revenue of RM196.45 million for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2012, while unbilled sales reached approximately RM520 million, helped by the progress of One Sierra, Alam d'16 and U1 Shah Alam.

The Group also recently launched phase two of the Jalan Kuching Boulevard Park, a serviced apartment, which will contribute significantly to its bottom line moving forward.

(The Edge) Low Yat to build Latar Expressway interchange

KUALA LUMPUR: Low Yat Group will invest over RM100 million to build an interchange at the Latar Expressway which is expected to improve connectivity to Bandar Tasik Puteri, Rawang.

Low Yat Group Executive Director Low Gee Soon said the interchange, to be completed by the third quarter of 2015, is expected to benefit more than 55,000 residents there as well as the over 700,000 residents of Rawang and surrounding areas, besides acting as a catalyst for the township's future growth.

The interchange will allow residents of Bandar Tasik Puteri to directly access the Latar Expressway which connects Kuala Selangor to Shah Alam, Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur, and cut travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Bandar Tasik Puteri to about 25 minutes, he told reporters after a media briefing here today.

Property prices will appreciate by at least 30% upon completion of the interchange, based on the effects of previous new highways on existing townships, he said.

"In addition, we are the pioneer township developer in Rawang and will be expediting our future residential and commercial developments within Bandar Tasik Puteri. We also see strong commercial take-up and new developers sourcing for landbank in Rawang for future developments.

"The prospects for Rawang are looking very positive, it has been a pull factor amongst property developers," he said.

Low said the group has completed and delivered over RM2.5 billion worth of property developments, and has plans for over RM5 billion worth of new developments.

The recently launched phase 2 of Garden Heights, a premium two-storey semi-D residential development, is 90 per cent sold, he said, adding he is confident that demand for the upcoming phase 3 will be as successful.

(BUSINESS TIMES) Mah Sing set to develop 'KLCC' of Sabah with GDV of RM1.4b

KUALA LUMPUR: Mah Sing Group Bhd will develop Kota Kinabalu Convention City (KKCC), a waterfront integrated development with RM1.4 billion gross development value (GDV), in Kota Kinabalu.

Mah Sing group managing director Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum said the KKCC will be developed on a 3.78ha site.

Mah Sing, through subsidiary Convention City Development Sdn Bhd, has signed an agreement with Yayasan Sabah to buy 3.37ha of the 3.78ha site for RM164 million.

"The remaining 0.41ha was acquired for RM21.9 million from Sasinma Sdn Bhd, together with a building contiguous to the project," Leong said in a statement yesterday.

The total investment for the 3.78ha at RM184.9 million is equivalent to 13.2 per cent of the estimated GDV.

"KKCC will be to Kota Kinabalu what KLCC is to Kuala Lumpur, becoming a landmark that will put Sabah on the world map," Leong said.

Besides KKCC, Convention City Development is also entitled to exercise an option for 2.40ha of adjacent land.

Leong said this may generate additional GDV of RM600 million, potentially bringing up the GDV of Kota Kinabalu Convention City to RM2 billion. 

"We may exercise the option for an entitlement price of RM117 million within two years from the issuance of the separate issue document of title," he added.

(NST) Renaissance opens in Johor

MORE TO COME: The seventh hotel in the country under the Marriott banner was officially launched with great fanfare

PERMAS JAYA: The Renaissance Hotel Johor officially opened recently in a colourful event featuring lion and dragon dances and other exciting performances.

This is the seventh hotel in Malaysia under the Marriott banner. There will be four more over the next two years.

The official opening was attended by Tunku Temenggong of Johor, Tunku Idris Iskandar Sultan Ibrahim.

Marriott International chief operating officer Don Cleary said that the company was thrilled to introduce this new hotel to the dynamic Iskandar Malaysia development region.

"Renaissance Hotel is a brand known around the world for inspiring its guests to discover something wonderful and new wherever they travel and we are delighted to open our doors here," he said.

Hotel general manager Marc Cosyns said that the response to the hotel since its soft launch last month had been good.

"We saw a 28 per cent occupancy rate in the first month and we are expecting to close next month with a rate of 50 to 60 per cent," he said.

The hotel offers 345 rooms and 18 suites equipped with modern amenities.

Its restaurants, Cafe BLD and Wan Li, offer international buffets and contemporary Cantonese cuisine respectively, while customers have a choice of R-bar with its live music and The Poolside Bar to relax and have light snacks.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

(The Star) UEM Land earnings almost quadrupled in Q1

A file picture shows Nusa Bayu, a project by UEM Land in Nusajaya, Iskandar Malaysia. The company says interests from investors, particularly in its Nusajaya developments, remains strong.
A file picture shows Nusa Bayu, a project by UEM Land in Nusajaya, Iskandar Malaysia. The company says interests from investors, particularly in its Nusajaya developments, remains strong.
PETALING JAYA: UEM Land Holding Bhd's net profit for the first quarter ended March 31 almost quadrupled to RM211.1mil from RM54.2mil in the previous corresponding quarter due to windfall from the Puteri Harbour land sale.
Meanwhile, its revenue surged some 134% to RM711.5mil from RM303.7mil a year ago.
A filing with Bursa Malaysia showed that the developer pocketed about RM180mil in net profit from the two parcels of freehold land in Puteri Harbour, Nusajaya, Johor, which was sold to Liberty Bridge Sdn Bhd for RM400.75mil.
The two parcels of land with a combined gross area of 18ha was divested to the vehicle of a consortium made up of tycoons Tan Sri Surin UpatkoonTan Sri Lee Oi HianTan Sri Wan Azmi Wan Hamzah, and Wee Ee Chao.
Assuming the exclusion of the land sale gain, back-of-the-envelope calculation showed that its topline for the quarter stood at RM310.75mil while bottom line was RM31.1mil, implying that revenue added 2.32% whereas net profit fell 42.8% benchmarked against the numbers a year ago.
In a statement, the company said: “The group recorded higher revenue in the current quarter as compared to the preceding year corresponding quarter primarily due to the completion of sale of its lands in Commercial North, Puteri Harbour ... This was however offset by lower property development contribution for the current quarter.”
Analysts contacted by StarBiz said they would revise their target price upwards as they revalue the stock while maintaining their call on the counter.
They viewed the deal as a one-off gain and expected the company's property sales to pick up in the coming quarters, mainly driven by its projects in Johor.
The company said it was optimistic of its prospects in 2013 as it had a total unbilled sales of RM3.55bil as at March 31 from its ongoing projects while interests from investors, particularly in its Nusajaya developments, remained strong.
As for its new projects, it said: “The group will launch several projects such as CS1, a mixed development, and D'Estuary, a residential development in Puteri Harbour, as well as new phases in East Ledang, Nusa Idaman and Nusa Bayu this year.”
Beyond Johor, it has set its eyes on launching MK22 in Mont' Kiara as well as its Bangi township development.
To recap, the developer had in April divested another 5.06ha tract to a joint venture related to billionaire Robert Kuok for RM180mil, at a record price of RM334 per sq ft, for land sale in Nusajaya. Through this transaction, UEM Land would be able to recognise a profit of RM81mil later.
Share price of the company had been on an uptrend due to the “Iskandar theme”, as it has a sizeable land bank there.
After the general election, the share price spiked and continued to thrive upwards to close 31 sen or 9.28% higher at RM3.65 yesterday. Trading volume was close to 18 million shares.

(The Star) Mah Sing buys more land, GDV rises by RM5.5bil to RM26.4bil

PETALING JAYA: True to its aggressive stance of growing its land bank, Mah Sing Group Bhd has acquired two parcels of land, one in Senibong, Iskandar Malaysia, and the other in Taman Wahyu in Kepong, Kuala Lumpur.
The property developer was paying RM366mil and RM73mil, respectively, for these assets, which increased its gross development value (GDV) by RM5.5bil to RM26.4bil, the company said.
The land in Senibong measures 14.16ha and is priced at RM238 per sq ft (psf), while the Taman Wahyu land measures 4.86ha and is priced at RM135 psf.
Thus, to date, Mah Sing has announced three land acquisitions in 2013, including D'Sara Sentral in Sungai Buluh last month.
“We view the purchases very positively, as the combined GDV of these two strategically-located projects is RM5.5bil. Including the enhanced value of its flagship Southville township of RM1.5bil, group GDV has been boosted by a significant RM7bil,” said CIMB Research head Terence Wong.
Wong added that these purchases had provided a big uplift to Mah Sing's revised net asset value, as he believes the property player has acquired the new land at attractive prices.
“Land values in Iskandar are appreciating rapidly, and we understand that transaction values for coastal land near Johor Baru with plot ratios of five times to six times are now as high as RM1,000 psf.
“This is not unreasonable, as the prices of condos in Iskandar are converging with those of Kuala Lumpur, while land prices in the prime KLCC area can fetch RM2,000 psf to RM3,000 psf.
“Land prices even on the fringes of Kuala Lumpur are appreciating equally strongly, thanks to the MRT project,” said Wong.
An analyst with MIDF Research expects the two new developments, particularly the one in Taman Wahyu, to enjoy good take-up rates.
“The Taman Wahyu development is in an established catchment and surrounded by a lake. Marketing should be easy and they should also enjoy good pricing for this development,” said the MIDF analyst.
To address concerns that it was over-stretching itself with the new acquisitions, Mah Sing said in a statement that it had a gearing level of 0.19 times and a cash pile of RM822mil.
It stated that it was “actively looking to enhance its GDV value with strategic acquisitions in the Klang Valley, Penang, Iskandar Malaysia and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah”.
The company now has some 43 ongoing projects.
CIMB's Wong noted that Mah Sing's aggressive building of its land bank was not surprising, particularly with the help of RM350mil of proceeds from its recently completed rights issue.
“As payment for the bulk of its new land is on a staggered basis, the group can leverage up further. Gearing should climb to 0.4 times after its two land purchases,” he said.
The MIDF analyst pointed out that even a gearing level of 0.5 times was comfortable for Mah Sing because of its different business model.
“Mah Sing has a very fast turnaround time. If they start selling soon, financially they should be fine,” he said.
Results-wise, Mah Sing recorded a 16% increase in net profit to RM69.5mil on the back of a 7.57% decrease in revenue to RM423.14mil for the first three months of 2013.
Operating profit margins for the property segment improved 7.4% to 23.3% due mainly to property product mix and higher profit recognition from properties handed over.
It achieved property sales of RM749.6mil as of this period, and is on track to achieve its 2013 full-year sales target of RM3bil. The group has unbilled sales of about RM3.55bil or 2.28 times the revenue recognised from its property development division in 2012.
Mah Sing's new Iskandar land will be turned into Meridin@Senibong, which will be an integrated development with a GDV of RM4.35bil. It is located along the Straits of Johor with prime views overlooking Singapore.
It will have serviced residences, hotel or serviced suites, a retail podium and a street mall. The project, to be completed in four-to-five years, is targeted for a soft launch in the first half of 2014, with registration of interest to commence in the second half of 2013.
The Taman Wahyu land, meanwhile, will be developed into Lakeville Residence with an estimated GDV of RM1.15bil. The project, to be completed in three-to-four years, is targeted for a soft launch in the first half of 2014 with registration of interest to commence in the second half of 2013.

(The Star) Sale of JCorp prized asset Pusat Bandar Damansara to Malton to go ahead within six months

KUALA LUMPUR: Johor Corp's (JCorp) chief executive officer has announced that the deal involving the sale of its prized real estate asset Pusat Bandar Damansara (PBD) to Malton Bhd would go ahead as planned within six months, subject to conditions being met.
Datuk Kamaruzzaman Abu Kassim also replied in the affirmative when asked if he was happy with the conditions of the sale of PBD to Malton.
He reiterated that the sale was subject to terms being met within a stipulated timeframe.
“One component (of this) is that it is subject to a public listed company's approval and is (Malton) has made the announcements. Subject to these terms being met, should they be met there would be a completion (of the deal),” Kamaruzzaman told reporters on the sidelines of the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Perbadanan Hal Ehwal Bekas Angkatan Tentera to establish a training programme for ex-military servicemen to attain skills for other work opportunities post-retirement.
The PBD deal would see Malton-linked companies conducting an asset exchange deal with JCorp-linked companies by way of an RM500mil cash settlement, some office space in the redeveloped PBD and a 20-storey commercial office building at V Square@PJ City Centre.
Block 1 of the commercial office building comes with slightly more than 950 car park bays and is located along Jalan Utara, Section 14, in Petaling Jaya.
Kamaruzzaman's comments also come at a time when legal proceedings between companies linked to Malton and JCorp in an old agreement to sell the PBD building to the former are still ongoing.
Three Malton-linked companies had initiated legal action against JCorp units for the land that was supposed to have been sold some years ago. The sale was not completed and JCorp had sought to rescind the contract.
On another note, Kamaruzzaman said “there was a possibility” that some of the companies under JCorp might undertake merger and acquisition (M&A) activities to expand.
“We always plan ahead and as and when it comes to the execution of these agreements, we would make the (necessary) announcements, especially those involving public-listed companies.
“Like any corporate acquisition, expanding via normal means or via M&As,” he said.