Wednesday, 28 February 2018

(The Edge Financial Daily) UEM Sunrise plans for next Mont Kiara

(Subtitle) With an estimated RM205 million GDV, project will comprise residential, office and retail components


KUALA LUMPUR: Property developer UEM Sunrise Bhd is set to launch projects worth RM1 billion in gross development value (GDV) this year, with plans for a new township similar to its Mont Kiara development to be located within the central region.

Its managing director and chief executive officer Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib said the group is looking to develop the next Mont Kiara, but at more affordable prices.

The project, with an estimated GDV of RM205 million, will be a mixed development comprising residential, office and retail components.

“We want to be able to give people the lifestyle and quality of Mont Kiara at a more affordable range, so we are leveraging on what we have learned in developing Mont Kiara for the new township,” he told a media conference to update on the group’s financial results for 2017 yesterday.

Anwar said the products to be offered will be priced between RM500,000 and RM1 million per unit.

“That’s a big range, but we believe that is the affordable range for KL-ites. Either way, we need to be very careful with the products that we bring into the market,” he added.

Anwar declined to elaborate, but said the development will be done on a big plot of land somewhere in the central region, featuring a core development that will bind the project together.

Other launches in the pipeline for the central region include the Kiara Kasih apartments (RM217.5 million GDV), the MK27 high-rise development (RM249.9 million) and two-storey terrace houses at Serene Heights (RM53 million).

In the southern region, UEM Sunrise will be launching Phase 1A and 1B of Serimbun (RM139.3 million) and Phase 3 and 4 of Iris (RM137.3 million).

Currently, the group has about 20 to 30 acres (12.14ha) of land here, bringing its total land bank in the Klang Valley to about 500 acres. It also has about 10,000 acres of land in Johor.

“We do have a lot of land in Johor, but we don’t have enough in the central region. We believe that the market in the central region will always be strong for the right products and we are looking for opportunities to acquire more land,” said Anwar.

“We don’t want to have too many small plots of land. We prefer to build communities and townships which require a sizeable tract,” he added.

He said the group’s ongoing disposal of its non-core assets is an avenue for it to raise cash without borrowings, which will be used to acquire new plots of land.

Anwar said the group will continue to sell off some of its assets on a selective basis and is likely to dispose of some of the pockets of land it owns in Johor. However, it is unlikely to dispose of its overseas assets, considering that its land bank overseas is already limited, he added.

While some developers are shying away from luxury projects amid concerns over subdued demand for high-end properties, UEM Sunrise is maintaining its focus on the high-end market.

“We like to sell more of the luxury projects because of the higher GDV, margins and profits. But we have to be very careful of the product mix. We can only launch products that we think the market can take.

“Meanwhile, for the affordable homes, we may sell a lot of units but the GDV is only so much,” said Anwar.

“And we don’t want a dilution of UEM Sunrise’s brand either. That’s why we see the RM500,000 to RM1 million [price tag] as our affordable range as we feel that it is affordable within the context of UEM Sunrise.

(The Edge Financial Daily) SunCon appointed project delivery partner for RM274m Penang project


KUALA LUMPUR: Sunway Construction Group Bhd’s (SunCon) unit has been appointed the project delivery partner for the expansion of a nine-storey commercial development to the existing Sunway Carnival Mall in Seberang Jaya, Penang.

SunCon said Sunway Construction Sdn Bhd (SCSB) was awarded the RM274 million contract by SA Architects Sdn Bhd, on behalf of Sunway REIT Management Sdn Bhd, the manager for Sunway Real Estate Investment Trust (Sunway REIT).

SCSB is tasked with planning and building the development within 32 months from March, SunCon said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia.

SunCon said with this project, its outstanding order book as at to date amounts to RM6.7 billion, and is expected to contribute positively to its earnings from the financial year ending Dec 31, 2018 onwards.

The project is a related party transaction due to SunCon and Sunway REIT’s common major shareholders and unitholders.


(The Edge Financial Daily) Subdued performance expected for Padini moving forward

Padini Holdings Bhd (Feb 27, RM5.13)

Maintain hold with a target price (TP) of RM5.30: Padini Holdings Bhd’s second quarter of financial year 2018 (2QFY18) revenue grew 7.9% year-on-year (y-o-y) on positive growth from new stores. All brands registered higher sales y-o-y except for Miki House (-2% y-o-y). Both core net profit (CNP) and earnings before interest and taxes decreased by 0.4% and 3.4%, mainly due to a lower gross profit margin from 41.8% to 39.2%.

Selling and distribution expenses increased by 9.4% and attributed to the costs of closing and opening of new stores. This may be negated in the future with possibility of growing economies of scale, that could reduce the cost in the long term. From a quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) perspective, 2QFY18 shows an increase of 46.1% in revenue, and 85.7% in CNP from 1QFY18, due to the Christmas holiday/year-end sales. The higher revenue growth can be explained by the higher costs.

Management gave assurance that restructuring in other brands post-Vincci will be done to manage cost issues. A third interim dividend of 2.5 sen was declared, making up a total of 7.5 sen so far for FY18. We expect that another 7.5 sen will be paid which will amount to 15 sen for FY18, implying a 50% dividend payout ratio.

We remain cautiously optimistic about Padini’s outlook backed by its strong revenue growth. Padini has diversified brand names that appeal to customers. Key risks include weaker consumer sentiment than expected in the future and stronger competition. We expect some earnings recovery because of Chinese New Year in 3QFY18 and Hari Raya in 4QFY18 respectively. We maintain our RM5.30 TP based on a discounted cash flow methodology (weighted average cost of capital: 6.8%).

Padini’s stock has done well mainly due to its robust net cash position, along with a strong balance sheet, but we see subdued performance moving forward. — BIMB Securities Research, Feb 27

(The Edge Financial Daily) Sime Darby Property in talks with parties for Vision Valley

(Subtitle) Infrastructure work on the jointly developed project has commenced — group MD


KUALA LUMPUR: Sime Darby Property Bhd, which has set a sales target of RM2 billion for the financial year ending June 30, 2018 (FY18), said it is in talks with one or two potential parties to jointly develop the RM290 billion Malaysia Vision Valley (MVV) project in Negeri Sembilan.

Group managing director (group MD) Datuk Seri Amrin Awaluddin said an announcement will be made when details are finalised. He added that so far, infrastructure work on the project has commenced, which covers an area of over 153,000ha that encompasses Nilai, Seremban and Port Dickson.

“There is development there. Work has started on the new Nilai-Labu-Enstek expressway project, which is [being] undertaken by the federal and state governments.

There is also significant progress on the Senawang-KLIA expressway,” he told a press conference to announce the group’s financial results for the first half ended Dec 31, 2017 (1HFY18) yesterday.

In May last year, Sime Darby Property, Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan) [KWAP], and Brunsfield Development Sdn Bhd had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to lead the development of the MVV project.

Under the MoU, the three parties will explore the opportunity to develop the first phase of the development in the area comprising 11,000ha of land. Sime Darby Property currently owns 3,196 acres (1,293ha) of land within MVV and has the option to acquire another 8,793 acres from Sime Darby Bhd and Sime Darby Plantation Bhd within five years from the date of its listing on Nov 30, 2017, with an option to extend for another three years.

“We can exercise the option within five to eight years. As such, we will exercise it as and when we want to develop (the land),” said Amrin.

Amrin doesn’t see any problem digesting the land over the period, noting that the group will continuously assess the best use of each land parcel and will dispose of its non-strategic land. It will also continue to focus on its core area, namely the Klang Valley. He said the group will be selling its land in Kedah and Sabah, measuring about 1,600 acres and 300 acres, respectively. As at Dec 31, 2017, Sime Darby Property had about 20,743 acres of undeveloped land, with a gross development value (GDV) of RM100 billion.Amrin said Sime Darby Property is “cautiously optimistic” about the property market in 2018 amid strict credit approvals and loan approvals.

Its chief financial officer Datuk Tong Poh Keow said the group is confident of doing well with its product range, especially in landed properties in its townships such as City of Elmina, Bandar Bukit Raja, Serinia City and Bandar University Pagoh. She highlighted that most of its affordable housing products ranging from RM500,000 to RM800,000 are still in demand.

Some of its projects targeted for launch next month include the two-storey link houses in Elmina West and Denai Alam, as well as serviced apartments at KL East, which have a GDV of RM142.6 million, RM92.9 million and RM167.4 million respectively. As at Dec 31, 2017, Sime Darby Property achieved RM1 billion in sales, of which 89% came from the Klang Valley, followed by Negeri Sembilan (8%) and Johor (3%). For 1HFY18, the group’s net profit soared 90% to RM559.77 million from RM294.51 million a year ago, while revenue rose 33.6% to RM1.14 billion from RM853.71 million in 1HFY17.

(The Edge Financial Daily) IHH to spend RM3b on expansion drive until 2020

(Subtitles) But first focus is to address cost challenges in Hong Kong, Turkey


KUALA LUMPUR: IHH Healthcare Bhd is planning to spend RM3 billion in capital expenditure from 2018 to 2020, as it keeps one eye fixed on acquisitions and new developments in three markets — China, Turkey and Malaysia.

The immediate focus for the healthcare company, however, is to better address the cost challenges faced by its new operations in Hong Kong and Turkey last year, said group managing director Dr Tan See Leng.

Speaking during a conference call for IHH financial year 2017 (FY17) results briefing yesterday, Tan said IHH’s balance sheet — with a hefty cash balance of around RM6.08 billion at the end of December 2017 and gearing of 0.31 times — is ripe for the group to execute its expansion plans.

“We want to reinforce and consolidate our operations in our core market,” said Tan. “With the increasingly ageing population demographics, we see demand for healthcare to grow moving forward.”

In Malaysia, Tan said the healthcare group wants to beef up its presence in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia as well as in Sabah and Sarawak.

It wants to avoid the immediate vicinity of the group’s hospitals in key areas including Penang, Melaka and the Klang Valley, said Tan.

“Given where we are today, we are quite careful in terms of partnerships that we are entering into,” said Tan. “We are also aware of the cannibalisation risks.”

Tan did not name any of IHH’s acquisition targets in the other two markets in China and India as well.

It was previously reported that after IHH sold its minority stake in Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd, it wanted to acquire a controlling stake in Apollo rival Fortis Healthcare Ltd to increase its footprint in India, where greenfield projects are
more difficult to execute.

The opposite is true for the China market, but Tan also reiterated the ongoing asset-light approach adopted by IHH, which will likely result in lower start-up costs than the two big hospitals it launched last year.

In the meantime, IHH’s ongoing developments in China have been developing smoothly, said Tan. Gleneagles Chengdu Hospital is on track to open in 2019, with development of Gleneagles Shanghai Hospital slated for completion a year after.

On the financial performance, the healthcare group still has the task of further lowering start-up losses at Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital and finance costs under Acibadem Holdings in Turkey, with both factors still eating into operating profits in the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2017 (4QFY17).

While start-up costs for the two hospitals are not expected to spill over to next year, contributions from its Turkey operations may still be subdued by the weakening Turkish lira against the US dollar, which has resulted in finance costs rising
15.45% to RM528.02 million in FY17.

The good news is that revenue from that market has grown 12.19% year-on-year, and Tan has guided that inpatient revenue and revenue per patient have both grown across all key markets in 2017 to support the overall group performance.

In line with IHH’s strategies to push the two higher, the company will also invest in advanced medical technologies such as imaging equipment, operating rooms, and advanced laboratory facilities to allow for better case mix.

The push will be focused more on mature hospitals, said Tan. “Complex operations can then be done in the locations itself,” he added.

Other strategies in the pipeline include riding on the booming medical tourism industry in Malaysia, said Tan, who pointed to the growing number of both local and foreign patients in Gleneagles Kota Kinabalu as an example.

Another recently launched initiative is the “Global Liver Programme” aimed at helping to facilitate clients seeking treatment and transplants in India, which is IHH’s key market with the expertise.

IHH reported a net profit of RM101.26 million for 4QFY17, versus a net loss of RM42.51 million in 4QFY16, as revenue rose 9.64% to RM2.89 billion from RM2.631 billion.

Full FY17 net profit rose to RM969.95 million, from RM612.35 million the year before — but excluding exceptional items, group profit after tax and minority interests dropped 31% to RM595.3 million, from RM865.95 million, dragged down by incremental depreciation, amortisation and finance costs with the opening of the two new hospitals in March 2017.

(The Star) Prized residences on the mainland

Sophisticated, minimalistic yet detailed, the newly opened GEM Sales Gallery in Jalan Baru, Prai, will make you feel right at home.

With three meticulously furnished show units in the gallery, visitors will also be flooded with ideas on how to decorate their future homes.

At the launch of the showroom on the second day of Chinese New Year was Hong Kong actor and singer Ruco Chan, who praised the modern concept of the development and its affordability.

“In Hong Kong, property is expensive and difficult to buy. Here, I see a chance for us to own property.

“I am looking forward to encouraging my co-stars to invest in this project,” he said.

A joint endeavour between Belleview Group and LTC Corporation Limited, GEM Residences is a new freehold condominium along Jalan Baru next to GEM Megamall, touted to be the largest shopping mall in the northern region.

Belleview Group managing director Datuk Sonny Ho said the project was affordable for the masses, with units sold at between RM350,000 and slightly over RM800,000.

“With an average selling price of RM500 per sq ft, GEM Residences is one of the most attractively priced residential projects.

“It has become difficult to buy landed property and condominiums are a convenient alternative especially for the younger generation,” he said.

On the sales gallery, he said it is one of their best showrooms to date.

Comprising four 38-storey towers, GEM Residences will have a total of 978 units with six layout ranging from 441sq ft to 1,445sq ft.

The condominiums will feature private landscape decks, an extensive range of facilities and a three-tier security system.

Named after gemstones — Coral, Ruby, Sapphire and Diamond — each level on the four towers have eight or nine units each.

The shopping mall covering 11.32 acres will consist of six levels of retail floors featuring about 450 shops, an Olympic-sized skating rink and a 20-screen cinema.

GEM Residences and GEM Megamall are slated to be completed in 2021.

Currently available for purchase are units in Ruby and Coral comprising 259 and 230 units respectively.

Visit the sales gallery from 9am to 9pm on weekdays and 10am to 9pm on weekends, or contact 04-3979999/ 016-4226565.

(The Star) I-Bhd charts strong financial performance

PETALING JAYA: Property developer I-Bhd posted a set of strong financial results for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2017 and for the fourth quarter while recording unbilled sales of RM274mil at end-2017.

In FY17, its net profit rose 13.2% to RM75.47mil compared with RM66.63mil a year ago. Its pre-tax profit was RM105.40mil, up 19.6% from RM88.17mil a year ago.

I-Bhd’s revenue increased at a stronger pace of 21.2% to RM465.08mil from RM383.57mil previously.

I-Bhd executive chairman Tan Sri Lim Kim Hong said in terms of segment performance, property development accounted for 89% of group revenue at RM413.7mil.

As of end-2017, only 24% of the approved gross floor area (GFA) of i-City has been completed, suggesting that property development will continue to be a key contributor to the group.

As for the fourth quarter, I-Bhd’s net profit climbed 24.8% to RM17.66mil from RM14.15mil a year ago. Its revenue increased by 25.5% to RM129.10mil from RM102.86mil. Earnings per share came in at 1.66 sen.

In a statement, Lim said: “What is shown today is the culmination of I-Bhd’s first five-year plan which was first unveiled in 2013, with the aim of putting the group on stronger footing towards being a full-fledged billion ringgit property-based company in terms of total equity.

“I-Bhd has grown five-fold since 2012, and to do this against a backdrop of an increasingly challenging operating environment, the achievements are an encouragement. We are only at the beginning of our exciting story.”

Lim said that with strategic partners – Hilton Worldwide Group, Central Pattana Plc – I-Bhd is laying the foundation for the group’s subsequent five-year journey.

He highlighted that the group would complete and transform the 72-acre i-City freehold development into the bustling Ultrapolis.

Lim was excited about the group’s growth prospects.

For instance, the successful launch and take-up of the higher-end Hill10 Residence @i-City development last year at benchmark prices was very encouraging despite concerns about higher-end high-rise properties.

“This reinforces the conviction that the right product in the right location will continue to sell well, ingredients of which i-City @ Shah Alam readily offers.

“Focus for this year will be moving on the balance of properties in i-City and the King of the Hill, 8Kia Peng @KLCC, the latter seeing very good traction, while also preparing for the next phase of launches in 2019 in which we expect to see the prolonged weakness in the property market having abated somewhat.”

I-Bhd’s unbilled sales as of Dec 31, 2017 were RM274mil.

It expected the fully-sold Hill10 Residence development along with the King of the Hill – 8Kia Peng@KLCC project to contribute positively towards the unbilled sales in the year or two ahead and to underpin the group’s earnings.

(The Star) Call for Govt to ease lending rules

KUALA LUMPUR: S P Setia Bhd hopes the relevant authorities and regulators will ease overly strict lending restrictions that are being imposed on the property sector.

“Hopefully the Government can consider easing some of the measures that are in place at the moment. This will help a lot,” its president and CEO Datuk Khor Chap Jen said at a briefing.

“I hope the Government can be more sympathetic, especially to the first-time home buyers. At the moment, the requirement is quite stringent.

“If the government can relax a little bit, this will help the genuine first-time home buyers. These band of people are seeking their first home. Right now, it is one standard checklist for everybody (applying for loans),” he added.

“We will adopt a strategy of launching more mid-priced landed units. This will be our focus.

“We think the market will be flat in 2018 with a slight upward bias. Hopefully there will be more catalysts to push up the market,” Khor said.

He said S P Setia planned to launch RM7.07bil of property projects, including two abroad – in Melbourne and Singapore.

“We target RM5bil sales, which is actually flat (compared to the previous year of RM4.92bil). We are quite confident we can achieve this target,” he added.

Khor said market sentiment could improve after the general election as some groups of people were holding back their purchases.

He said that from the company’s recent experience, demand is now seen in the mid-range segment with a price from RM500,000 to RM800,000.

“This is a price range that is very attractive to buyers, depending on the location. In Semenyih, this is about RM500,000. To put it simply, a price range of up to RM800,000 is the most sought after.

“Recently, we launched starter homes with smaller built-up areas in Setia Alam – 93 units were snapped up just within three hours.

“So there is still a lot of demand for this kind of starter homes. Underpinned by unbilled sales of RM7.72bil with 44 ongoing projects, we think that the group’s prospects remain positive,” Khor added.

S P Setia is putting on hold further landbanking activities this year but will still be open to any land purchase with an attractive proposition.

“We have been quite aggressive on landbanking in 2017 with the acquisition of a few pieces of land and with the completion of the acquisition of I&P Group Sdn Bhd, which added another 4,000 acres,” he said.

In a statement, the company said it had an effective remaining land bank of 9,606 acres with a gross development value of RM128.37bil as at Dec 31, 2017.

S P Setia announced that its fourth-quarter (ended Dec 31) net profit fell by 40% year-on-year to RM279.57mil while quarterly revenue fell to RM1.45bil from RM1.99bil a year ago.

It declared a final dividend of 11.5 sen per share to bring total FY17 dividend payout to 15.5 sen, or a ratio of 70.1%.

(The Star) PNB 118 tower to reach 40% completion by year-end

KUALA LUMPUR: Permodalan Nasional Bhd expects its iconic PNB 118 tower to reach 40% completion by year-end.

“All the substructure works have been completed and we have already started on the superstructure. By the end of the year, the structure will be more visible,” he told reporters after witnessing the signing ceremony between PNB and Hyatt Hotels Corp here yesterday. — Bernama

(The Star) IJM records lower Q3 earnings; secures projects in Malaysia, India

PETALING JAYA: Construction, property and plantation group IJM Corp Bhd has registered a lower net profit of RM101.36mil on a turnover of RM1.57bil in its third quarter ended Dec 31, 2017.

Last year, the group recorded RM138.54mil and RM1.6bil in net profit and turnover, respectively, in the corresponding period.

IJM Corp, a diversified construction company with extensive interest in property, plantations and toll road highways, attributed the fall in net profit by 26.7% in the quarter to lower contributions from the property and industry divisions, as well as unrealised foreign-exchange losses.

For the nine-month period, IJM Corp registered a net profit of RM378.28mil on a turnover of RM4.63bil. The profit was down 19.4% despite the turnover increasing by 5.3%.

IJM Corp, which also has operations in India, has so far secured jobs worth RM2.7bil in the financial year-to-date, making it a total order book of RM9.3bil.

IJM Corp chief executive and managing director Datuk Soam Heng Choon said that so far, it had secured quality projects in Malaysia and India.

Among the construction mandates IJM Corp has secured so far are the building of the HSBC Malaysia headquarters, Menara Prudential and foundation works for the Affin Group building at the Tun Razak Exchange.

In India, the group was awarded the RM1.5bil Solapur-Bijapur tollway concession project.

“The group’s strong balance sheet puts us in a good position to expand the capacity of our concession and investment property assets. While executing some of the biggest projects in IJM’s history, we remain focused on building capacity and growing our recurring income base,” said Soam.

Some of the concession assets within the group are the highways in Malaysia and India and a port in Kuantan.

On the outlook of the property division, Soam said that the market had stabilised and IJM’s property division was on track to achieve its sales target of RM1.6bil for the financial year ending March 31, 2018.

It said that the property division was sitting on unbilled sales of about RM1.9bil buoyed by strong response to its Bandar Rimbayu and Seremban 2 projects.

(The Star) Towards better living

PETALING JAYA: The ninth session of the World Urban Forum (WUF9) took its theme, Cities 2030, Cities for All: Implementing the New Urban Agenda (NUA), to heart.

Not only did WUF9 manage to gather the largest congregation of NUA stakeholders in the history of the WUF, it also marked the first time a declaration was made by the end of the forum’s proceedings on Feb 13.

WUF9 concluded with the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Cities 2030, which acts as a show of commitment by WUF9 participants to increase the scale and localise the implementation of the NUA so that it can help accelerate the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The declaration was presented at the closing ceremony of WUF9 in front of participants and various dignitaries.

Open spaces: Kuala Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Mohd Amin Nordin Abd Aziz (in orange) visiting the Urban Village in Medan Pasar.

Television personality and activist Ras Adiba Radzi and Youth delegation of Malay­sia Jasmin Irisha Jim Ilham presented the declaration on behalf of all the participants.

The declaration was described as “a call for the deployment of all efforts, means and resources available towards the operationalisation of the concept of cities for all, ensuring that all inhabitants, of present and future generations, without discrimination of any kind, are able to inhabit and produce just, safe, healthy, accessible, affordable, resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements to foster prosperity and quality of life for all”.

“Its adoption is supported by key enablers capable of unlocking positive transformation,” the declaration stated.

A total of 10 recommendations were made in the declaration, touching on matters such as the need for dialogues between all stakeholders involved in creating sustainable and inclusive urbanisation, the need for data collecting and monitoring to enhance the decision-making processes, and the adoption of accessibility and universal design as core principles in the implementation of the NUA.

WUF9 Urban Village

WUF9 was not confined within the grounds of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, as an Urban Village was built to showcase how design can be used in urban interventions to create a better public realm for urban residents.

The Urban Village was built within the historical Medan Pasar area, which was chosen due to its easy accessibility by pedestrians and public transport.

One of the concepts showcased in the Urban Village was micro-housing, which reimagined what a neighbourhood could be.

Smaller, eco-friendly houses were set up amidst shared spaces such as an urban garden, an outdoor theatre and a play area.

The Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry, in a statement, said the idea of communal living in urban areas was developed based on the idea of the kampung lifestyle of the past.

“It was based on the spirit of sharing and neighbourliness in a community environment, similar to the Malaysian kampung lifestyle of helping each other.

Sustainable living: A microhouse prototype set up in the Urban Village in Medan Pasar.

“Communal living offers a balance of private and common space designed specifically to encourage community interaction. Residents typically make decisions together in a collaborative process,” said the ministry.

Apart from shared communal spaces, co-working and commercial spaces can also be built into the integrated village model.

Another idea introduced along with the Urban Village was that of parklets and kerblets, referring to small seating areas or green spaces built on or alongside a pavement, often in a former roadside parking space, for public use.

In conjunction with WUF9, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) converted several street level parking spaces into parklets, while Think City converted a parklet and two kerblets in the hopes that these installations would become permanent fixtures in the city.

These installations were also in line with DBKL’s strategy of reducing the number of vehicles in the city centre and encouraging the use of public transport.

“They are designed to provide a public place for passers-by to relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the city, in places where either public open spaces are lacking or where the existing sidewalk width is not large enough to accommodate vibrant street life activities.

“A parklet is a low-cost intervention that takes over existing parking spaces on the street, turning them into small social spaces,” said the ministry.

(The Star) ‘It is foolish to spurn China’s friendship’

KUALA LUMPUR: It will be foolish for Malaysians to spurn China’s hand of friendship because the tangible economic benefits enjoyed by Malaysia from the bilateral ties with China is at its all-time high, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said the hand of friendship was first offered to China in 1974 by his father and second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein.

It was a historic event when Malaysia became the first Asean country to establish diplomatic relations with China.

“We were right then, and we are right to welcome Chinese investment now,” he said at the Malaysia-China Bilateral Cooperation Lunar New Year luncheon organised by the Malaysia-China Business Coun­cil (MCBC) here yesterday.

He said that bilateral trade between Malaysia and China last year remained strong at US$96.3bil (RM375.6bil).

Taking a jibe at a “former Malay­sian leader”, Najib said Malaysia is still a sovereign state despite hosting various foreign investments.

“China’s business community is one of our partners in building the high-income, highly skilled Malaysia of the future. I make no apology for saying that,” he said.

Valued ties: Najib greeting China’s ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian during the gathering with (from left) International Trade and Industry Minister II Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, International Trade and Industry Minister I Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Ong, China’s Xiamen University president Prof Zhang Rong and China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park administrative committee executive deputy director-general Gao Pu.

Najib added that the investment-friendly and business-friendly Go­­vern­­ment welcomed investments from any country, and that many multinational companies have set up their regional offices in Kuala Lumpur.

“We have just signed an MoU to set up a partnership with SK Group, a Fortune 100 company and the se­­cond largest conglomerate by mar­­­ket capitalisation in South Korea.

“A Swiss firm has just announced it is going to be investing RM12bil in a new plant in Pahang. I could go on, but the list would be too long,” he added.

At the event, MCBC chairman Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting presented Najib with a piece of calligraphic artwork that said ma zhong yuan meng (Ma­­laysia and China Fulfilling Dreams).

In his speech, Ong said the phrase could best describe the ultimate achievements of the mutual visions – Chinese Dream and Malaysia’s Na­­tional Transformation 2050.

He said Malaysia is well poised to ride on the economic opportunities brought forth by China’s Belt and Road Initiative, with Malaysia’s strategic geographical location, multilingual talented human resource and strong bilateral ties.

He said Malaysian-owned companies and brands have performed well in China, including Sime Darby, Perfect Group, Parkson, Lei Shin Hong Auto China, Xianda’s sea water desalination plant project, LGB Group’s waste water treatment plant in Yinchuan and Genting Resort Secret Garden.

MCBC became an incorporated body in 2011 with the Prime Minister as the sole patron.

With the aim of promoting trade and investment between Malaysia and China, it is the complementing arm to Malaysian government agen­­cies and works closely with its counterpart in China – the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

(NST) Tropicana Prop buys land in Gohtong Jaya for RM78m

KUALA LUMPUR: Property developer Tropicana Corp Bhd has acquired a piece of land in Gohtong Jaya, Genting Highlands from Marivaux Holdings Sdn Bhd for RM78.3 million.

The 112 acres of land is situated at 3,000 feet above sea level in Pahang.

Tropicana is tapping on the growth potential of this land by developing a resort-type development for people who desire the resort-type lifestyle, surrounded by lots of greenery and fresh air.

This acquisition and future development in the piece of land is expected to generate sustainable income for the company.

The acquisition will be funded by cash and bank borrowings.

Tropicana’s existing healthy cash flow has been strengthened by the recent disposal of its non-core assets from land located at Jalan Sultan Ismail and Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur, and Damansara Intan in Petaling Jaya.

(NST) PNB 118 tower to reach 40pc into completion end-2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) expects its iconic tower project, PNB 118 to be 40 per cent completed by the end of this year.

Group chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar said to date, the 118-storey tower project has gone up eight floors, with expectations each level of the building could be completed every week.

"All sub-structure work has been completed and we have already started working on the main structure. By the end of this year, the structure of the whole building will be clearly visible," he said.

He was speaking at a press conference today after witnessing the signing of an agreement between PNB Merdeka Venture Sdn Bhd and Hyatt Hotels Corp.

PNB Merdeka Venture is represented by its chief executive officer Tengku Datuk Abdul Aziz Tengku Mahmud while Hyatt Hotels by ASPAC Group President David Udell.

Under the agreement, Hyatt Hotels will operate the Park Hyatt Hotel Kuala Lumpur in the tower.

The five-star luxury hotel will take up the top 17 floors of the tower and it would start operations in 2021.

Park Hyatt Kuala Lumpur is also the first tenant in the iconic tower belonging to PNB Merdeka Ventures, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PNB.

The hotel will offer 232 units of guest rooms including 28 suites and 30 service apartments as well as 20,000 square feet of conference space.

Wahid said besides Park Hyatt, PNB and and subsidiaries will take up 42 tower floors while 14 floors are for amenities, four floors will make up as observation decks and another 41 floors for office rental space.

"With PNB filling up almost half of these towers, I see no glut of office space in Kuala Lumpur or competition from other skyscrapers, such as Tower 106, at Tun Razak Exchange," he said.

The tower will be the third tallest building in the world built with a gross development cost (GDC) of RM5 billion.

Meanwhile, PNB chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Rahman Ahmad said "we chose Park Hyatt because we want a luxury global hotel because this project (PNB 118) is a world-class development project that will be an iconic landmark for Malaysia.

"So we are looking for a world-class luxury hotel operator and Park Hyatt is the industry leader. If you go to major cities around the world, whether in New York or Tokyo, you will find this brand there," he said.

(NST) SP Setia targets RM5b property sales this year

KUALA LUMPUR: SP Setia Bhd expects a slightly better outlook this year as it plans to launch projects worth RM7.07 billion and sets a sales target of RM5 billion.

This came after its net profit rose marginally last year. 

For the financial year ended December 2017, its profit rose to RM1.069 billion , higher than RM1.067 billion in 2016 but revenue eased to RM4.52 billion from RM5.71 billion in 2016.

SP Setia achieved total sales of RM4.06 billion, surpassing the sales target of RM4 billion.

Local projects contributed RM2.55 billion or 63 per cent of the total sales while international projects contributed RM1.51 billion or 37 per cent of total sales.

President and chief executive officer Datuk Khor Chap Jen said it has set a sales target of RM5 billion this year, RM1 billion higher than last year's target on slightly better outlook.

The better outlook is underpinned by an unbilled sales of RM7.72 billion, 44 ongoing projects and effective remaining land bank of 384.24 hectares with a gross development value of RM128.37 billion, as at December 2017, he added.

Khor said there is a strong underlying demand for landed starter homes and mid-range properties in strategic locations with good infrastructure.

"The focus is to leverage on the group’s established townships and roll out more mid-priced landed properties where the demand for these staple products have proven to be strong.

“Hence, we will be emphasising on the launch of mid-range landed properties in Setia Alam, Salak Tinggi, Alam Impian, Temasya Glenmarie, Alam Sari, Temasya Putra, Setia EcoHill and Kota Bayuemas in 2018,” he said.

On overseas launches, the property developer plans to launch UNO Melbourne with a GDV of RM1.14 billion in the central business district of Melbourne and Daintree Residence with a GDV RM1.45 in Singapore.

(NST) I-Berhad excited about its growth prospects

KUALA LUMPUR: I-Berhad says 2018 will be the start of its exciting story, fuelled by its strategic partnerships with the likes of Hilton Worldwide Group, Central Pattana Plc.

The property developer yesterday announced a higher net profit of RM75.45 million in the year ended Dec 31 2017, from RM66.59 million previously.

Group revenue rose to RM465.08 million from RM383.57 million previously.

“What is shown today is the culmination of I-Berhad’s first five-year plan which was first unveiled in 2013, with the aim of putting the group on stronger footing towards being a full-fledged billion ringgit property-based company in terms of total equity,” I-Berhad executive chairman Tan Sri Lim Kim Hong said.

“Going into 2018 and beyond, we are excited at the Group’s growth prospects,” he added.

Lim said I-Berhad had grown five-folds since 2012, and to do this against a backdrop of an increasingly challenging operating environment was an encouragement.

“We are only at the beginning of our exciting story,” Lim said in a statement today.

“With the likes of Hilton Worldwide Group, Central Pattana Plc etc already on-board as strategic partners to-date, definitive plans are currently being laid out for the group’s subsequent five-years journey and the ensuing five years after that to complete and transform the 72-acre i-City freehold development into the bustling Ultrapolis it was envisioned and master-planned to be,” he added.

The launch and take-up of the higher-end Hill10 Residence @i-City development last year at benchmark prices gives i-City great encouragement amid choruses of doubt towards higher-end high-rise properties, Lim said.

This reinforced the conviction that the right product in the right location will continue to sell well, ingredients of which i-City @ Shah Alam (the capital city of Selangor) readily offers.

“Focus for this year will be moving on the balance properties in i-City and the King of the Hill, 8Kia Peng @KLCC, the latter seeing very good traction of late, while also preparing for the next phase of launches in 2019 in which we expect to see the prolonged weakness in the property market having abated somewhat,” he said.

In terms of segment performance, property development remained the largest contributor last year with RM413.7 million recorded, or 89 per cent of group revenue.

The leisure segment chipped in with RM44.7 million in revenue, just under 10 per cent of group revenue.

As at the end of 2017, only 24 per cent of the approved gross floor area of i-City has been completed, suggesting that property development will continue to be a key contributor to the group for the foreseeable future.

The group’s unbilled sales as at December 31 stood at RM274.0 million.

The fully-sold Hill10 Residence development along with the King of the Hill - 8Kia Peng@KLCCproject is expected to contribute positively towards the unbilled sales in the year or two ahead to underpin earnings visibility.

(The Edge Financial Daily) Sunway Pyramid saw record traffic arrival in 2017


KUALA LUMPUR: Sunway Pyramid in Petaling Jaya saw a record customer traffic last year, registering a 5% year-on-year growth in the number of cars entering the mall, amid cautious consumer sentiment, disruption in e-commerce and the opening of more new malls in the Klang Valley.

Sunway Malls chief operating officer Kevin Tan cited Sunway Group chairman and founder Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah’s foresight to take proactive steps to ease vehicular traffic congestions within Sunway City and Subang Jaya as one of the reasons for the positive increase in traffic to multiple reasons.

“Tens of millions were spent to construct a new flyover, which flows traffic from Kesas into Sunway City with ease. More millions were then spent to widen the New Pantai Expressway (NPE) roads leading to the Kewajipan roundabout, thus reducing congestion and freeing up the NPE road in front of the mall,” he said in a statement.

“The flyover and road expansion were funded by Sunway as part of its community service to visitors of Sunway City. Sunway also contributed substantially to the bus rapid transit, providing the community a cleaner alternative public transportation within Sunway City,” he said.

Tan said there is also a plan in the pipeline to ease the congestion due to weaving traffic in front of the gateway entrance to the mall.

He also attributed the higher traffic growth to the increased parking capacity with the addition of the mall’s new wing, Sunway Pyramid West. Currently, the mall has some 10,000 parking bays integrated with Sunway Resort Hotel and Spa, Sunway Pinnacle and other Sunway business units nearby.

“We see ride-hailing as another key driver that positively contributed to the increase in footfall of the mall. The popularity of ride-hailing services such as Grab and Uber is a plus factor providing alternative transportation to the mall without taking up our car park bays. It is estimated that these ride service arrivals is as high as 20% of the mall’s average car arrival,” said Tan.

The mall also had a proliferation of non-shopping offerings expanding relative to shopping offerings with the growing trend on food and beverage (F&B), and leisure spending.

“The demand for F&B over the last few years had been so significant that 25% to 30% of the today’s malls’ leaseable area is now catered to this trade category. Years ago, F&B took up less than 10% of the malls’ overall leased space.

(The Star) Miri to emulate Kuching Waterfront to lure tourists and investors

MIRI: The success of Kuching Waterfront has become an inspiration for other cities, with Miri being the first in line to use it as a model to transform its riverfront.

Sarawak Assistant Tourism Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin highlighted Kuching Riverfront’s beauty and vibrancy, adding that the ministry would adopt it as a model to develop waterfront in Miri City.

“The Kuching Waterfront has been turned into an attractive hub for business and tourism, as well as relaxation.

“It draws locals and foreigners alike on a daily basis, truly a bustling place day and night.

“We want to use the development model of the Kuching Waterfront to transform the waterfront in Miri City, too,” said Lee, who is also state assemblyman for Senadin here.

Lee said the transformation of the Kuching Waterfront where the Sarawak River runs through should be a model for riverfront developments in other cities.

Sarawak urban planners will do well by learning from this project, he added.

The Kuching Waterfront that covers an overhead bridge and the State Assembly complex among others is a popular tourist spot.

“Urban planners must allocate space for relaxation and leisure in locations along rivers and seashores.

“There is no point in creating cities full of buildings and infrastructure if the people living there do not feel happy,” he stressed.

He said planners must incorporate the aspects of healthy lifestyle and green initiatives in their projects.

The transformation of the Kuching Waterfront with the construction of the overhead bridge and floating mosque was initiated three years ago by the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem when he was the chief minister, and continued by the present chief minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg.

Under the effort, this stretch of the Sarawak River is now a sight to behold as the banks on both sides are beautifully lit for Kuching Waterfront’s commercial and leisure activities.

The overhead bridge that spans more than 300m is illuminated with modern lighting techniques.

British tourist Gerard Gilbert said he was with his tour group in Kuching enroute to the Mulu National Park in Miri.

“There are 20 of us in the hotel near the riverfront and I decided to take a walk while the rest of my friends are having dinner.

“I saw these colourful sights at the bridge and the waterfront area.

“It is very beautiful, looking a bit like The Bund in Shanghai,” he said.

The Kuching Waterfront spans about 2km, covering the golden triangle of Kuching teeming with businesses like hotels, restaurants and tourist shops.

(The Star) For a vibrant city centre

JOHOR BARU: The local authorities plan to restore some 30 buildings in efforts to rejuvenate and rehabilitate Johor Baru city centre here.

Think City Sdn Bhd, a Khazanah Nasional Bhd wholly-owned subsidiary, is hoping to work with at least 30 property owners in the city to restore the buildings back to its former glory in the second phase of the project.

Its executive director Hamdan Abdul Majeed said the first phase was a success with eight building repaired and restored with an investment of RM280,000.

“It took us about eight months to remove the paint, redo broken parts, restore some of the facades and organise the utilities, among others.

“We hope to see more businesses and building owners coming forward to make this initiative a success,” he said after the launch of the Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) Clean Zone programme and visit to the restored heritage buildings here.

Hamdan said the response from business and building owners have been positive, as they have already received about 12 applications for the second phase.

He added that Think City together with MBJB and Iskandar Regional Development Authority would first conduct an assessment with the building owners before carrying out restoration works.

“Some of them also want to improve the insides of the buildings, so depending on the owners’ capacity, we will invest together.

“It is a partnership, where Think City along with building and business owners will contribute to the cost,” he said, adding that restoration of back lanes would also be carried out in the second phase.

Meanwhile, city mayor Amran A. Rahman said a large portion of the city centre here has been designated as “Clean Zone” in line with the council’s initiative for a cleaner and sustainable city.

He said the areas identified for the second Clean Zone covered a 600m radius from the Johor Urban Transformation Centre along Jalan Trus here.

“Among the aspects looked into include a smoke-free zone, dengue-free, zero waste and zero polystyrene zone.

“We will also instal signage at several strategic locations besides promoting the cause via social and mainstream media to get traders and city dwellers to be part of our initiative,” he added.

Amran also said some RM9.8mil has been allocated for infrastructure and public amenities, including installing 350 new rubbish bins around the Clean Zone.

He added that cleanliness at the first Clean Zone in Stulang Laut, which was launched two years ago, was improving.

Johor Housing and Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Md Jais Sarday, who launched the event, said the lack of awareness on cleanliness and the public’s perception on the matter could hinder the initiative.

“We hope to turn the city centre into a clean city by next year in conjunction with MBJB’s 25th anniversary.

“However, there is no point in the council carrying out all these efforts if the people’s attitude towards keeping the city clean does not change.

“I urge all parties to work together to make this programme a success for the betterment of our city,” he said.