Subscribe:

Pages

Monday, 21 May 2018

(The Edge Financial Daily) Vizione eyes new govt’s affordable housing projects


Group believes its expertise in the sector will enhance its competitiveness of bidding for jobs
BY SUPRIYA SURENDRAN

KUALA LUMPUR: Vizione Holdings Bhd, a niche player in the affordable housing sector, finds its business strategy to be in tandem with the new government’s promise to build one million affordable homes across the country within two terms of its administration.

Vizione managing director Datuk Ng Aun Hooi believes the group’s expertise in affordable housing development will enhance its competitiveness in bidding for housing projects under the new government.

“We believe we can remain competitive in our niche market, which is in the construction of affordable homes ... in line with the Pakatan Harapan government’s promise to build affordable homes,” Ng said in an interview with The Edge Financial Daily.

Vizione has an order book of RM3.75 billion to date, with almost half of its undertakings comprising government housing projects.

Aside from government projects, the group also has a long-standing relationship with the private sector, with clients such as Sunway Group and Gardenia Bakeries (KL) Sdn Bhd.

“As we now have a new government, they may need time to stabilise. We are lucky that we have a big order book as it may take time for government tenders to be called, and for us to replenish government housing contracts.

“For the time being, in order to [expand] our order book, we may need to secure more projects from the private sector, as well as from my own private developments,” he said.

Ng is the chairman of two private property development firms, namely Midlands Edu City Sdn Bhd and KL Northgate Sdn Bhd.

Meanwhile, Ng corrected a possible public perception that Vizione is a “government-linked stock” as most of its government housing projects were secured when Barisan Nasional was in power.

He stressed that he is “purely a businessman” and that the group’s business is apolitical.

“It is very hard for me to immediately correct that [government-linked] perception. What we do hope is the public look at the numbers that we deliver. We have an order book of RM3.75 billion that will last us until 2021,” he said.

Ng also reassured that the RM465 million Federal Territories Affordable Housing (Rumawip) project in Gombak secured by the group, which forms part of its order book, will proceed as planned.

“The Rumawip project in Gombak is already enforced and sales are 95% done, and we have completed about 35% of the foundation [works],” he said.

Ng pointed out that Vizione is not involved in the recently highlighted sale of 64 parcels of land in Kuala Lumpur to property developers from 2013 to 2018, which was done under the purview of former federal territories minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

Kepong member of parliament Lim Lip Eng lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission last week, calling for an investigation into the parties involved in the 64 land deals, which he claimed were mostly done without an open tender and at below market value. Lim said less than half of these plots of land were for public housing projects such as Rumawip, while a majority were for high-end residential projects.

“We have no issues on land subject matters; none of Vizione’s projects are on that list,” stressed Ng.

Ng, who hails from Bukit Mertajam, Penang, also has an interest in Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd, the special-purpose vehicle company which is undertaking the RM6.3 billion Penang undersea tunnel and Outer Ring Road (ORR) project.

It is understood that Vizione was in the midst of participating in one of the packages of the ORR, prior to the project being put on hold earlier this year.

“We shall await the new [Penang] chief minister and his team on the direction of the Penang ORR.

Vizione believes the project should proceed again following GE14 (14th general election), and will participate in any tender for this project,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ng said the government’s recent move to zero-rate the goods and services tax (GST) before moving into the sales and services tax (SST) regimen is a welcome move.

“The GST did impact the construction industry; the burden on businesses was much heavier compared to the SST,” he said.

As for its financials, Vizione reported a net profit of RM15.14 million for the nine-month period ended Feb 28, 2018, which was more than 36 times the RM415,000 recorded in the previous corresponding period. Revenue rose by more than ninefold to RM302.49 million.

The reason for the big rise in profit and revenue was the inclusion of earnings of Wira Syukur (M) Sdn Bhd, a construction firm which was injected into Vizione as part of a RM280 million reverse takeover exercise that was completed in October last year.

Vizione’s share price did not move as much as that of other construction counters last Monday, the first trading day after the change in government. The stock dropped to as low as 11 sen that day (15% lower than its close of 13 sen on May 8, a day before GE14) before closing at 12 sen.

At the end of trading for the week last Friday, the counter closed at 13 sen, with a market capitalisation of RM480.4 million.