Friday, 15 November 2019

(The Star) Packed with lovely products

Penangnites now have a new spot to buy their groceries and quality produce with the opening of Mercato in Gurney Plaza.

Located at the plaza’s basement level where Cold Storage used to be, the supermarket promises to bring quality, value and a wholesome retail experience to its customers.

Dairy Farm Group store operations director (Malaysia and Singapore) Mark Scates said the store has some 2,000 new products including an extensive range of wine, spirits and foodstuff among others.

“Also new is the fresh ice-cream stall (made on the spot) featuring various types of fruits. There is also a stall where shoppers can pick the type of nuts and have them grinded into nut butter.

Mercato employees all raring to serve customers.

“These stalls are the first of its kind and not available anywhere else. In addition to imported meats such as Japanese Wagyu A5, OBE organic beef and Dorper lamb, there is also a ready-to-cook range of marinated beef, lamb and poultry, ” he said, adding that Mercato Gurney’s opening on Wednesday is the third after two earlier ones in Kuala Lumpur.

Scates said Mercato has always put customers first and strived to understand their preferences which has led to the findings that premium supermarkets have become increasingly popular among middle-class Malaysians demanding a variety of imported products.

“As a result, Mercato has chosen to answer the need to continuously innovate and serve the customers’ needs in Penang with the launch of Mercato Gurney which will also complement Cold Storage in nearby Tanjong Tokong.

“This store sports a fresh new ambience with appealing decor and wider aisles. We also have unique selections like air-flown fresh flowers, fresh herb pots, an unbeatable cheese selection and a live seafood tank, ” he said.

(From left) Chan, Scates and Ng checking out the fruits during Mercato’s opening in Gurney Plaza, George Town.

Scates added that Mercato’s ‘Ready to Eat’ selections have been curated for everyone and features a variety of healthy options such as roasted antibiotic-free pineapple chicken, overnight oats as well as a sandwich and salad range.

To celebrate the new opening, the first 100 customers daily until Sunday, with purchases of RM80 and above will get an exclusive shopping bag and a gift while those (first 100) with purchases above RM100 get a RM10 voucher.

One lucky customer daily will also stand a chance to win a RM500 voucher during this period.

Also present were CapitaLand mall management general manager Selina Ng, Gurney Plaza manager Peter Chan and Mercato Gurney manager Hartono Mohamad Rasyid.Hartono, in his opening address, said the outlet has a total of 52 employees including several who have been with the company for 45 years.

Guests at the opening were treated to samples of food, a lion dance, and a performance by musicians who used vegetables and fruits as their instruments.

Musicians making sweet music using vegetables and fruits.

Scates added that GCH Retail (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (a Dairy Farm International subsidiary, which is the operator of the Giant Hypermarket and Supermarket chain, Cold Storage, Mercato and Jason’s Food Hall), will be opening another Mercato in the Klang Valley soon.

“We are also looking to expand in the northern region. Since May this year, we have ‘refreshed’ 32 of our stores so that our customers will have a better shopping experience.”

Keeping abreast with the latest market trends, GCH Retail continues to deliver on modern retail experiences and avails Malaysian customers to a wide range of products and produce.

GCH Retail’s latest industry accolades includes being Asia Pacific’s Top 500 Gold Winner as Malaysia’s No 1 retailer with stores in Peninsular Malaysia and in Sabah and Sarawak.

(The Star) Promoting nature’s treasures

Not many know that besides the heritage beauty and great food in Penang, there is a pocket of pure, undisturbed realm of Mother Nature.

Located in the northwest corner of the island in Teluk Bahang and about 20km from George Town, Penang National Park might be the smallest national park in Malaysia, but is among the easiest to access and spend time at.

About 20 participants consisting of bloggers, ‘YouTubers’ and representatives from travel agencies were given the opportunity to explore the serenity of Penang’s hidden gem in the Balik Pulau Nature Exploration programme organised by Tourism Malaysia northern region.

According to its director Ahmad Husni Ahmad Basri, the programme’s objective was to promote eco-tourism products that Penang has aside from the other already well-known attractions.

“Normally, we show off Penang’s beaches, food and culture. But, this time we wanted show this unique eco-tourism product to local and foreign tourists who love nature.

“This is also a reminder for us to protect our environment that is rich in flora and fauna, ” he said.

The pristine site of about 1,213ha of forest and coastline is home to more than 1,000 species of tropical rainforest trees which are generally dominated by the Dipterocarpaceae, Leguminoceae, Apocynaceae, Anacardiaceae, Euphorbiaceae and Moraceae family.

The tropical park is also often visited by researchers, nature lovers as well as scientists, who explore its natural treasures.

The 2D/1N exploration programme kicked off with a briefing session by park rangers at Penang National Park on the do’s and don’ts while at the park.

The group then visited Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies (Cemacs), located in the fringes of the jungle in Teluk Aling.

At Cemacs, participants were briefed about oceanic species such as Irrawaddy dolphins and jellyfish and toured the research centre which is also the national depository of the genetic material of studied marine specimens.

Then came a sumptuous lunch at Teluk Kampi, where the sandy beaches are a glorious sight for those who love the great outdoors.

Teluk Kampi is also a campsite but campers must first get themselves a guide before they can pitch tents there.

The exploration also included a visit to Pantai Kerachut, where the Penang Turtle Sanctuary is located. It is open to the public daily from 10am to 4.30pm.

Most of the time, there are turtle eggs being incubated at the sanctuary. They are gathered up safely from turtle nests, which are regularly found in Pantai Kerachut.

Fisheries rangers will care for the hatchlings till they are larger and then release them just before nightfall so that predators such as eagles have gone to roost; and when the tide is most gentle to make it easier for the baby turtles to swim far and spread out.

As night fell, participants were given the choice of either visiting Batu Ferringhi night market or remain in Teluk Bahang for some night fishing.

The second day of the exploration programme saw participants entering yet another whole new nature setting: mangrove forests.

They were ferried by boat to Kuala Sungai Pinang on the western side of Penang island.

They also went on a 10km ride on all-terrain vehicles (ATV) along a narrow trail between sprawling padi fields and the coastal mangrove forest in Pantai Malindo.

One of the participants, tourist guide Mirza Banoon Md Shahar, lauded the effort by Tourism Malaysia and described the programme as an efficient way to promote nature in Penang.

She said the experience she had gained was valuable to her as a tourist guide, as she could further promote other parts of Penang to clients.

She, however, lamented about the condition of some of the facilities at places she visited. She felt they should by upgraded or replaced as they can bring a bad image to Penang.

Blogger Ahmad Afiq Abdul Halid agreed that the programme showed off Penang’s eco-tourism offerings.

“I know Penang has its own national park but what I didn’t know is that it has such a good route for jungle trekking, ” he said.As an outdoor enthusiast, he said he felt the programme

could have been stretched, with some jungle-trekking activities.

Another blogger Jumie Shamsudin said after joining the tour, she no longer thought of Penang as an urban destination.

“Many visitors see Penang as a urban city full of history. They don’t know about nature on the other side of Penang island.”

For more details about Penang National Park and other attractions in Balik Pulau, call Tourism Malaysia northern region office at 04-261 0058.

(The Star) 4,000 more boys born in Q3 2019 than girls

PETALING JAYA: There were more boys than girls born in the third quarter of this year with 64,028 recorded male births compared to 60,122 females, the Department of Statistics revealed.

However, overall births shrunk by 3% compared to the third quarter of last year.

Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said 124,150 live births were recorded in the third quarter of this year compared with 127,956 in the same period last year.

Selangor remained the state with the most births, recording 24,246, while the lowest birth rate was recorded in Labuan with 427, he said.

In a statement, he said the country’s population was estimated to have increased by 0.6% in the third quarter of 2019 with 32.63 million people living in Malaysia compared with 32.43 million in the same period last year.

About 90.3% of the population was made up of citizens.

The statement also noted that the country’s male population increased to 16.85 million this period compared with 16.74 million in the last period while women now number about 15.78 million compared with 15.69 million last year.

However, the sex ratio remained at 107 males to 100 females.

The country is also fast becoming an ageing nation with the number of people over 65 years increasing from 2.12 million in the third quarter of 2018 to 2.21 in the same period this year.

The number of those aged between 15 and 64 also went up from 22.64 million to 22.85 million while people in the younger age bracket, aged from 0 to 14, decreased from 7.68 million to 7.57 million.

The country’s death rate also decreased by 0.9% in the third quarter of 2019 with 41,772 deaths recorded compared with 42,156 in the same period last year.

(The Star) Limited impact from CAAM downgrade on VM 2020

The downgrade of the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) to Category 2 will have limited impact on tourist arrivals in conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2020, says Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik.

The impact could be for local airlines with codeshare agreements with US-based airlines.

“I have checked with a few airlines and they informed me it doesn’t affect them unless there is codesharing, ” he said when answering a supplementary question raised by Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina (BN-Kepala Batas) at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

The regulatory body governing Malaysian skies was downgraded by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) effective Nov 11.

Muhammad Bakhtiar pointed out that about 90% of tourists visiting the country were from regional countries and not from Europe or the United States.

He added that the ministry was optimistic of getting 30 million tourist arrivals and RM100bil in tourism receipts next year.

He told lawmakers that tourist spending increased by 6.8% to RM41.69bil for the six months of this year from RM39bil in the same period last year.

He noted that 35.3% of tourist expenditure was in the retail industry.

Earlier, to a question by Yamani Hafez Musa (PH-Sipitang), Muhammad Bakhtiar said the tourism industry contributed RM220.6bil or 15.2% to the gross domestic product compared to 2017, which was RM200.4bil or 14.6%.

He added that 3.5 million jobs or 25.3% of the country’s workforce were related to the tourism industry.

(The Star) Terengganu plans to invite large cruise ships

PETALING JAYA: Terengganu aims to boost tourism by attracting large cruise ships to stop over at the state during their voyages by 2021.

Terengganu tourism, culture and information technology committee chairman Ariffin Deraman said there were talks to arrange for cruise ships to include the state as one of their stops.

Although the plans have been presented at the state exco meeting, the state government is expecting for arrangements to be ready by 2021 as talks are still ongoing.

“We have smaller cruise ships docking here, but now we are planning to arrange for cruises from Singapore to make Terengganu one of their stops.

“What we are looking at now are larger vessels, with the capacity for 3,000 passengers and 1,500 workers, ” he said.

Plans are underway, he said, to bring passengers to visit Kuala Terengganu’s iconic drawbridge, museums and other tourist attractions in the state.

He added that cultural performances would also be included in the itinerary.

Ariffin said plans were still in the early stages, and there were no issues with cruise ships that serve alcohol or have gambling on board.

“On our side, we would not serve alcohol or organise gambling and we will not be going up to the cruise ships. We will only entertain the passengers when they get off.

“These tourists would only stop by for about seven to eight hours, they will not be spending the night here, ” he said. Terengganu MCA executive advisor Datuk Toh Chin Yaw said the move was “definitely good”, but the overall policies in the state need to be tourist-friendly.

“The tourism industry is doing well in Terengganu. But we must be prepared and have the will to make the tourism boost a reality, ” he said when contacted.

(The Star) Kula: Technical, vocational skills the way of the future

PETALING JAYA: Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran told parents there will be more technical and vocational jobs in the future, and academic qualifications would no longer guarantee their children jobs.

He advised parents to consider sending their children to technical colleges to assure employment.

He said medical graduates, for example, were facing problems in getting jobs because of over production.

“Look at the medical field. It is critical now. They have to study for six years and another two years for a housemanship post.

“They are then given a two-year contract but will subsequently not be absorbed into the civil service, ” he said during the Social Security Organisation’s (Socso) Quality and Innovation awards ceremony yesterday.

He said 94% of graduates from technical institutes secured jobs as soon as they completed their studies.

“I hope parents will think carefully when sending their children for further studies. We have to understand that (technical) skills are the way for the future, ” he said.

Kulasegaran said the ministry was publishing a Critical Occupations List booklet on future jobs in the country.

He said the list has 20 jobs at risk and another 20 jobs with good prospects.

He said the list was compiled in collaboration with the World Bank and the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis.

Kulasegaran said the International Labour Organisation has warned that 15% of jobs now will not exist in the future, while another 35% will face other challenges.

Kulasegaran also said Malaysians should realise that times are changing for employment.

(The Star) Govt to bear RM10.3bil premium in LTH rescue and restructuring

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will bear a RM10.3bil premium to ensure the financial health of Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) is restored as part of the rescue and restructuring plan of the pilgrimage fund, Urusharta Jamaah Sdn Bhd (UJSB) announced.

UJSB, which is a wholly-owned unit of the Finance Ministry (MoF), completed the transfer of non-performing assets valued at RM9.63bil held by LTH in December last year, following financial mismanagement and wrongdoings by the previous management.

The transfer was done from LTH to UJSB in exchange for RM19.9bil, consisting two tranches of sukuk totalling RM19.6bil, namely RM10bil of seven-year sukuk and RM9.9bil of Islamic redeemable convertible preference shares (RCPS-i), as well as RM300mil in cash payable to LTH.

“The difference of RM10.3bil between the consideration of RM19.9bil and RM9.63bil market value of assets is to be borne by the government to ensure that the financial health of LTH is restored, ” UJSB said here yesterday.

UJSB pointed out that in the event the value of the assets depreciates further, the losses shouldered by the government will be higher than RM10.3bil.

Explaining on the assets transferred, UJSB said it consisted a mixture of listed equity holdings, properties and one unlisted plantation asset. The property assets transferred to UJSB include a 0.63ha of land at the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX).

The land was purchased by LTH for RM188.5mil or at RM2,760 psf, significantly higher than that paid for by 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), which was at only RM75 psf (or RM5.1mil for 0.63ha). UJSB then purchased the TRX land from LTH for RM400mil or RM5,856 psf, which does not reflect the actual market value of the land.

The purchase consideration was done at a significant premium (112.2%) to what LTH paid in April 2015 (RM188.5mil or RM2,760 psf), it explained.

In a recent valuation exercise conducted in March 2019, the market value of the TRX land stood at only RM205mil.

The huge difference between the market value and the purchase value of the land (95% premium over market value), together with all the other assets acquired by UJSB, was needed to ensure the successful rescue and restructuring plan of LTH.

Overall, UJSB will bear significant losses as a result of impairment charges estimated at more than RM10bil for the assets acquired from LTH. The TRX land transaction itself will result in an impairment charge of RM195mil. — Bernama

(The Star) Sarawak mulls fourth major road project linking Kalimantan

KUCHING: Sarawak, which is currently implementing three mega road network projects, is mulling to embark on a fourth - a border security road stretching more than 1,000km to link up with Kalimantan, Indonesia.

The border security road project is estimated to cost a whopping RM24bil, according to Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister and Infrastructure and Ports Development Minister Tan Sr James Masing.

He considers it crucial to construct the 1,032km border road following Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s recent announcement to relocate his country’s capital to Kalimantan from Jarkata.

Dubbed Sarawak’s third trunk road traversing into the state’s last frontiers, Masing expects the border road project to start as early as next year. Construction work could take more than 10 years to beyond 2030.

He said the border security road network project was deliberated during a mini lab conducted last month to gather feedback and input from various stakeholders, including the state economic planning unit (EPU), his ministry, State Transport Ministry, Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda) and various relevant state and federal agencies.

“Arising from the lab, an indepth study on the proposed boader security road network will be carried out with priorities given to four sections, ” said Masing when he revealed the project for the first time in the state legislative assembly on Wednesday.

The four sections are the Baleh section and feeder road, Engkilili, Lubok Antu and Batang Ai section, Serian/Tebedu road upgrading to JKR standard and the Baram section and Tinjar feeder road.

“We have to get the priority sections ready by 2024 and because of this, we will propose this road project to our state EPU for submission to the Economic Affairs Ministry for consideration under the 12th Malaysia Plan, ” he added.

The project will commence from Biawak in Lundu district to Serikin (border town with Pontianak, west Kalimantan), passing through Lubok Antu, Long Silat, Long Banga and Bario and will be connected to the Sarawak-Sabah link road.

The Sarawak-Sabah road project was announced recently by Works Minister Baru Bian. The 425km new road project is estimated to cost RM5.2bil.

With the shifting of Indonesian capital to Kalimantan in 2024, Masing expects the movement of people between Sarawak and Kalimantan to increase in the next five to six years.

“More importantly, this proposed border highway will enable us to safeguard and protect our multi-billion ringgit assets, especially the Sarawak-Sabah gas pipeline and the four hydroelectric dam (Bakun, Murum, Batang Ai and Baleh) which are situated adjacent to our international boundary, ” he said.

Once built, the border road network would provide the connectivity to the highland regions along the Sarawak-Kalimantan border in northern Sarawak. The state’s three ongoing mega road network projects are the Pan Borneo Highway costing over RM14bil, the billion ringgit Sarawak Coastal Road and the Second Trunk Road.

(The Star) GDB unit bags RM20.6mil job from Hua Yang

PETALING JAYA: Construction services company GDB Holdings Bhd’s subsidiary has secured a RM20.67mil contract from Hua Yang Bhd’s unit to carry out piling and substructure work for the latter’s serviced apartment project in Puchong.

GDB Holdings said its 70%-owned GDB Geotechnics Sdn Bhd had secured the contract from Bison Holdings Sdn Bhd for the Aviary Residence@Puchong Horizon project.

The contract entails bored piling and pile caps for two blocks of serviced apartments comprising the 36-storey, 565-unit tower one and 37-storey, 337-unit tower two.

The development will also include a common facilities podium, as well as a six-storey car park.

“The overall duration of the contract is for 21 months from the date of possession of site on Nov 18 and it is expected to contribute positively to the group for the duration of the contract, ” it said in a filing with the stock exchange.

GDB Holdings group managing director Cheah Ham Cheia said: “To win this contract in less than two months since GDB Holdings’ completion of the acquisition showcases the strong value proposition of being an enlarged group that is capable of offering integrated construction service.”

Cheah said the group’s new wins amounted to RM885.97mil in the current year to date.

He said the group was positive on securing more substructure jobs, as it continues to leverage on GDB Geotechnics’ track-record and position in the high-rise construction space.

(The Star) Caring Pharmacy targets second and third-tier cities

PETALING JAYA: Caring Pharmacy Group Bhd is targeting to expand its outlets in second and third-tier cities in Malaysia next year, including Kota Baru and Kuantan.

Managing director Chong Yeow Siang said the group planned to open its outlets in shopping malls in such cities.

“We are now in major cities but we aim to slowly expand into highly populated second and third-tier cities next year which can sustain our business, ” he said after the launch of its collaboration with Australian-listed Holista Colltech Ltd to promote the pharmacist as the frontline in diabetes care.

Currently, Caring Pharmacy has 132 outlets nationwide, including four in Sabah.

By 2024, the local pharmacy chain plans to expand its outlets to 200 in Peninsular Malaysia as well as Sabah and Sarawak.

With a strong net cash position, Chong said the expansion would be funded internally.

Besides physical outlets, he said the group would focus on its online store next year to tap into the rising trend of online shopping.

“We are taking the online stores very seriously. I believe we are not doing enough but will continue to enhance our capabilities to invest in the online department to make it more significant, ” Chong noted.

Caring Pharmacy’s online sales are contributing an average of only 1% to group revenue. He expects the consumer sector to be challenging next year, given the intense competition.

Despite tough market conditions, Chong said the group is still committed to boost earnings growth, as it has achieved internal key performance indicators in the last few quarters.

Caring Pharmacy is a specialised retail chain with a growing presence in the most populated areas in Peninsular Malaysia. The group has the principal rights to distribute some pharmaceutical and personalised healthcare products.

It undertakes retail sales of pharmaceutical, healthcare and personal care products, and is the fastest-growing pharmaceutical retail chain.

Motivasi Optima Sdn Bhd is Caring Pharmacy’s largest shareholder with a 50.35% stake.

(The Star) Pedestrian bridge 20 years in the making opens

KUALA LUMPUR: A 250m-long pedestrian linkway that has been 20 years in the making has finally opened for service.

The bridge spanning the Klang River and the Bangsar-Petaling Jaya bypass, allows commuters to walk comfortably between the Abdullah Hukum LRT and KTM Komuter stations, all the way to the shopping malls and offices in Mid Valley, while allowing full access to KL Eco City.

Mid Valley’s Megamall opened in 1999, the same year the Kelana Jaya LRT started operations. But apparently, pedestrian connectivity was the last thing on the minds of city and transport planners.

The idea for the linkway gained momentum after SP Setia Bhd started developing KL Eco City which sits between Mid Valley and the train stations.

The opening of the bridge was carried out without fanfare, with users sharing the event with friends and colleagues over social media.

A survey by The Star found many excited commuters checking out the bridge. Some of them walked over from nearby offices while others snapped pictures of the scenery and took selfies.

The bridge may transform the habits of many who work in offices around Mid Valley.

An executive named Malik said he is now seriously considering taking the LRT from Subang Jaya, where he lives, as it will be a seamless journey on the same line without needing to change trains.

His colleague, Thina, is also thinking of ditching his car to take the Komuter service from Kepong (using the Tanjung Malim-Port Klang line), where he lives.

Executive Karyn Chua, who works in the same area, is thankful for the bridge.

“Previously, those walking from the LRT to Mid Valley were exposed to serious danger, never mind the sun, rain or distance. This bridge has long been awaited.”

Given the considerable number of office workers and shoppers in the area, the linkway will cement the Kelana Jaya Line’s status as the country’s most-used urban rail line, averaging close to 330,000 users on each working day.

Ridership is projected to go up when more businesses and offices open up in the area, in addition to more commuters and shoppers ditching their cars for rail.

The linkway is open from 6am to 1am daily, well after the last LRT train for the day leaves, which is typically around 11.30pm.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

(NST) GDB secures contract following acquisition GDB Geotechnics

KUALA LUMPUR : Construction company GDB Holdings Bhd (GDB) has bagged a RM20.67 million contract to be the main contractor to undertake piling and substructure works for Aviary Residence @ Puchong Horizon.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia today, GDB said its newly acquired 70 per cent owned subsidiary, GDB Geotechnics Sdn Bhd (GGSB) had accepted the letter of award and supplementary agreement from SNA Consult Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hua Yang Bhd, on behalf of Bison Holdings Sdn Bhd.

GDB said the contract entails bored piling and pile caps for two blocks of serviced apartments comprising, a 36-storey 565-unit Tower 1 and 37-storey 337-unit Tower 2. The development will also include a common facilities podium as well as a six-storey car park.

“The overall duration of the contract is for 21 months from the date of possession of site on 18 November 2019 and expected to contribute positively to the group for the duration of the contract,” it said.

Meanwhile, GDB said barring any unforeseen circumstances, the contract is expected to contribute positively towards the future earnings of GDB for the duration of the contract and will not have any effect on the share capital and substantial shareholders' shareholdings of the group.

“The group intends to finance the contract via internally generated funds,” it added.

GDB group managing director Cheah Ham Cheia said the winning of this contract in less than two months since GDB’s completion of the acquisition has showcases the strong value proposition of being an enlarged group that is capable of offering integrated construction service.

“The Group’s new wins stands at RM885.97 million in the current year to date.

Moving forward, we are buoyant on securing more substructure jobs, as we seek to continue leveraging on GDB Geotechnics’ track-record and our leading position within the high-rise construction space,” Cheah said. 

On October 2019, GDB completed the acquisition of 70 per cent controlling stake in GDB Geotechnics, a construction contractor specialising in geotechnical and foundation engineering works, for purchase consideration of RM5.96 million.

Coupled with the Group’s outstanding order book as at 30 June 2019, GDB’s total outstanding order book stood at approximately RM1.2 billion and will provide revenue contribution till financial year ending 31 December 2022.

(NST) SDB continues to divest non-core asset, focusing on core business

KUALA LUMPUR: Sime Darby Bhd (SDB) would continue divesting its non-core assets at the right time and valuation, while focusing on its core businesses - motors and industrial divisions.

Group chief executive officer Datuk Jeffri Salim Davidson said the conglomerate is in its second year of a five-year value creation plan to focus on revenue enhancement, cost optimisation and portfolio rationalisation as well as expanding its business.

“We have about 8,800 acres land in Labu, Negri Sembilan with a market value of RM2.5 billion. 

“If the high-speed rail (HSR) construction plan comes to fruition, we will be the beneficiary as the land is located in the HSR’s current plan,” he said.

Group chief financial officer Mustamir Mohamad said SDB also signed a five plus three year first right to buy agreement with Sime Darby Property Bhd to acquire the land.

“We have more merger and acquisition plans in the pipeline. We have allocated between RM500 million and RM600 million maintenance capital expenditures in the financial year ending June 30, 2020 (FY20),” he added.

Mustamir said SDB had spent about RM900 million for acquisition of Gough Group Ltd and three car dealerships in Sydney, Australia.

Jeffri said SDB also on the lookout to dispose a 30 per cent stake in Tesco Malaysia, which is deemed as a non-core business.

“The best way is to exit but we are not in a hurry,” he said.

On the potential disposal of the Eastern and Oriental Bhd, Jeffri said the company would do so at the right value as the property segment was impacted by the current market conditions.

He said SDB also intends to expand its healthcare business through greenfield and brownfield.

“We have a good five-year joint-venture with Australia-based Ramsay Health Care Ltd as the healthcare profit has been growing during the period,” he said.

(NST) Govt to bear more than RM10.3b losses in Tabung Haji's rescue plan, if assets depreciate

KUALA LUMPUR: Urusharta Jamaah Sdn Bhd (UJSB), a wholly-owned unit of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated, highlighted if the assets transferred from Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) were to depreciate further, the government will incur losses higher than RM10.3 billion.

Among non-performaning assets transferred into UJSB include 1.568 acres at Tun Razak Exchange (TRX).

In a statement today, UJSB said the LTH rescue plan which was completed on December 28, 2018, involved a transfer of non-performing assets worth RM9.63 billion from LTH to UJSB in exchange for RM19.90 billion.

It consisted of two tranches of Sukuk totalling RM19.6 billion and RM300 million respectively in cash payable to LTH.

"The difference of RM10.3 billion between the consideration of RM19.9 billion and RM9.63 billion market value of assets is to be borne by the government to ensure that the financial health of LTH is restored," UJSB said.

It cautioned that if the value of the assets depreciates further, the government will incur losses higher than RM10.3 billion.

The assets transferred into UJSB are made up of listed equity holdings, properties and one unlisted plantation asset.

The property assets transferred to UJSB include 1.568 acres at Tun Razak Exchange (TRX).

"The land was purchased by LTH at RM188.5 million or RM2,760 per sq ft. This is significantly higher than that paid for by 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) at only RM75 per sq ft (or RM5.1 million for 1.568 acres)," the statement said.

The land was then purchased by UJSB from LTH at RM400 million (RM5,856 per sq ft), which does not reflect the actual market value of the TRX land.

The purchase was at 112.2 per cent premium to what LTH paid in April 2015 (RM188.5 million or RM2,760 per sq ft).

"In a recent valuation exercise conducted in March 2019, the market value of the said TRX land stood at only RM205 million.

"The huge difference between the market value and the purchase value of the land (95 per cent premium over market value), together with all the other assets acquired by UJSB, was needed to ensure the successful rescue and restructuring plan of LTH," UJSB said.

UJSB will bear significant losses as a result of impairment charges estimated at more than RM10 billion for the assets acquired from LTH.

It noted that the TRX land transaction itself will result in an impairment charge of RM195 million.

"With the transfer of assets now completed, UJSB will continue with its mandate and purpose, which are to carry out the rehabilitation and restructuring of assets under its care.

"We will maximise asset recovery value and redeem all monetary instruments issued by UJSB and subscribed by LTH in a timely manner," the statement said.

(NST) Three firms to develop industrial site

KLANG: Sime Darby Property Bhd (SD Property), Mitsui & Co Ltd (Mitsui) and Mitsubishi Estate Co Ltd (Mitsubishi) have formed a joint-venture (JV) company - SDMIT Development Sdn Bhd (SDMIT) to develop 39-acre industrial land in Bandar Bukit Raja.

SDMIT will invest an initial RM200 million on the project, which is expected to have RM500 million in gross development value.

MBK Real Estate, a subsidiary of Mitsui, will provide build-to-suit (BTS) solutions for facilities at the development.

Located at Bandar Bukit Raja Industrial Gateway, the facilities empower global supply chain players with competitive advantage.

Leschaco (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, logistics service provider and Sengheng Electric (KL) Sdn Bhd, consumer electronics chain stores will be the first two tenants at the industrial township.

SD Property acting group chief executive officer Datuk Wan Hashimi Albakri Wan Ahmad Amin Jaffri said the tenants have made a fine choice in selecting the township to set up their operations with a minimum of 10-year lease.

“Bandar Bukit Raja Industrial gateway benefits from being in Selangor, the country’s most industrialised and developed state, an economic and manufacturing driven area with excellent business infrastructure and accessibility, with educated and highly skilled population,” he said at the groundbreaking ceremony of Bandar Bukit Raja Industrial Gateway, here yesterday.

He said Selangor is also home to more than 10 strategic industrial parks, thriving cities and townships, helping companies to reinforce their business ecosystem and presence.

Wan Hashimi Albakri said the company is expected to finalise leasing agreement with eight potential players by next year.

“Those players are mainly involve in logistics and warehousing. We are also confident of developing industrial property segment,” he said.

He said the industrial property and logistics development business would provide long term recurring income to SD Property, as the residential and commercial property sectors’s margins are eroded.

Leschaco Malaysia managing director Lothar Lauszat said the company’s business requires very particular design features from a warehouse.

“As these requirements are fully met, the new BTS facility allows us to provide high quality logistics services to our customers and the chemical industry in Malaysia,” he said.

Sengheng Malaysia deputy managing director KC Lim said the company needs timely shipment of goods from warehouse to stores and to customers.

“The gateway’s location close to manor highways and allows us to save on time, ensuring seamless movement of goods to complete our supply chain demand,” he said.

The gateway is also strategically located within proximity to airports, sea ports, and highways, connecting businesses to major administration population and business centres.

Construction for both companies has been planned to begin simultaneously this month with a combined land area of about 10-acre.

The construction of the first two facilities are expected to be completed by third quarter of 2020 with a build-up area of about 385,000 sq ft.

The bespoke Grade A facilities are the first of its kind ready supply chain hub with ready infrastructure including water, power supply and telecommunications.

The customised facilities are expected to match customers’ business requirement to realise efficiency of operation, offering flexible spatial designs for high degree of warehouse customisation, long lease options, and equipped with the latest technology to suit technical and operational needs.

(The Star) SP Setia profit for nine months at RM509mil

KUALA LUMPUR: SP Setia Bhd achieved revenue of RM3.13bil and pre-tax profit of RM508.8mil in the January-to-September period, mainly contributed by its ongoing projects in Malaysia.

The property developer said its ongoing international projects of Battersea Power Station in London, as well as Sapphire by the Gardens and UNO in Melbourne, Australia, were recognised on completion method, hence there was no profit contribution from these projects.

In the nine months, the group secured sales totalling RM3.07bil, of which 85% or RM2.60bil comprised local projects and the remaining 15% or RM467mil were overseas projects.

SP Setia said sales from the local projects were mainly from the central region amounting to RM1.75bil while the southern and northern regions combined contributed RM854mil.

As for the overseas projects, UNO Melbourne in Australia, Daintree Residence in Singapore and Eco Xuan in Vietnam contributed RM435mi in sales.

It said the group has launched projects with combined gross development value (GDV) of RM2.71bil.

Several projects, which were mainly landed properties, registered commendable performance. The two-storey linked houses at Setia Safiro in Cyberjaya and the two-storey semi-detached houses in Setia Mayuri, Semenyih, were both fully taken up over a weekend during their launches.

Over in mainland Penang, the affordable single-storey terrace houses priced at RM330,000 onwards at Setia Fontaines recorded encouraging response as buyers were attracted to the unique development concepts, prime location and the amenities within this new township in Seberang Perai.

SP Setia president and CEO Datuk Khor Chap Jen said: “Amid the challenging landscape of a subdued property market, the strategy is to launch more mid-range landed properties in the group’s flagship townships where the underlying demands by owner-occupiers are still favourable.”

The group said another RM2.17bil worth of GDV was planned to be launched in the remaining months of this year.

It will continue to focus on the launches of landed properties in the established townships in the Klang Valley and Johor Bahru. This will bring the total launches for financial year 2019 to RM4.88bil.

Notable launches would be in existing townships of Setia Alam, Setia Eco Hill, Setia Eco Templer, Setia Eco Park, Bandar Kinrara, Alam Impian, Setia Eco Garden and Setia Tropika.

The group will also launch two-storey linked houses at Setia Warisan Tropika, its latest township in Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi, in the middle of this month.

SP Setia said due to the versatility of the planned launches, the encouraging response to the Home Ownership Campaign and initiatives introduced to promote home ownership, it would work towards achieving its sales target of RM4.55bil.

“Anchored by 46 ongoing projects with 8,984 acres of effective land bank remaining and potential GDV of RM143.82bil, prospects going forward remain positive with total unbilled sales of RM10.52bil as at Sept 30, ” it said.

(The Star) RAM Rating keeps outlook on most sectors stable

KUALA LUMPUR: RAM Rating Services Bhd has kept the outlook on most of the sectors under its coverage as stable despite challenges such as decelerating economic growth, weak commodity prices and highly uncertain global trade conditions following the protracted US-China trade spat.

Besides that, it said the Pakatan Harapan administration, mid-way through its second year in power, has set fresh policies for certain regulated industries, where affected players need to adapt to the new regulatory environment.

Head of corporate ratings Thong Mun Wai said only two out 10 of the selected sectors were kept on a negative outlook, namely the automotive and commercial property sectors. He said the outlook on the construction and oil and gas (O&G) support services sector has been revised from negative to stable, premised on improving industry fundamentals.

“The prospects of the O&G support services sector have been looking up as Petronas ramps up its capital expenditure, ” he said in a statement in RAM’s CreditPulse 2019/2020.

The credit rating agency expected competition in the automotive sector to intensify amid a saturated market and uncertain policy direction, compounded by the anticipated weakening of the ringgit, which would erode margins even further.

For the commercial property sector, it said the glut of office and retail mall space is unlikely to ease anytime soon as supply is still envisaged to outpace demand in the medium term.

RAM placed the construction sector on a negative outlook in 2018 due to the cancellation, deferral and review of mega infrastructure projects after the 14th General Election.

While construction activity is expected to remain lacklustre through the rest of 2019, RAM anticipates it to pick up next year once revived infrastructure projects such as the RM44bil East Coast Rail Link gain traction.

Meanwhile, head of research Kristina Fong said Malaysia’s gross domestic product growth is projected to come in at 4.5% for 2020, a tad lower than the 4.6% expected this year.

“Once again, domestic demand will be the key anchor of growth as external demand continues to wane.

“The use of growth-supportive policies next year will be of utmost importance towards facilitating domestic demand as the main catalyst of economic expansion, ” she said.

The credit trends of RAM-rated issuers in the selected sectors are stable.

The issuers in its rating portfolio predominantly fall into the AA category and possess features that insulate them against sectoral challenges. — Bernama

(The Star) Analysts: Third quarter GDP likely to have slowed

PETALING JAYA: Gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the third quarter is likely to have slowed due to weaknesses in supply side data and in line with a synchronised global slowdown, according to economists from two research houses.

Maybank IB Research is estimating for growth to slow to 4.3% year-on-year (y-o-y) on contractions in the mining output and construction works, as well as a moderation in the manufacturing and services indices amid a relatively stable key agriculture output of palm oil and rubber.

“A decline in the mining production index from -3.3% y-o-y in the second quarter to -4.7% in the third quarter points to a drop in the mining GDP. The lower value of construction works done from +0.8% y-o-y in the second quarter to -0.6% y-o-y in the third quarter signals a contraction in the construction GDP, ” it said.

It noted further that the manufacturing production index slowed, which should translate to a deceleration in the manufacturing GDP growth.

It also noted that the index of services growth moderated for a third straight quarter, which is an indication of slower services GDP growth.

Meanwhile, the research house said output growth of crude palm oil and crude palm kernel oil and rubber was relatively stable, which hints at the same trend in the agriculture GDP.

“Demand-side indicators point to a deceleration in domestic demand to offset the stronger expansion of net external demand growth, given the surge in trade surplus, ” Maybank Research said.

The research house is forecasting for full-year GDP growth to register at 4.4% in 2019 from 4.7% in 2018.

The third-quarter’s GDP figures will be announced on Friday.

UOB said in its report that it is seeing signs of slowing GDP growth and is expecting for GDP to grow 4.1% y-o-y in the third quarter of 2019. This was lower than a Bloomberg consensus poll, which expects 4.4% y-o-y.

“We expect all key sectors to expand at a slower pace while construction and mining reverses to decline. Both private consumption and investment are expected to moderate. Net exports are expected to make a positive contribution to headline growth amid weaker imports, ” it said.

“Stock drawdowns will continue to subtract from overall growth, given the weak demand outlook, ” it added.

It noted that the country’s slower growth is in tandem with the muted trends in the region and synchronised global slowdown.

“Despite preliminary estimates showing growth to trough in the third quarter, we are likely to revise down full-year growth estimates when actual data is released this Friday, ” UOB said.

On the demand side, it expectednet exports to reflect a positive contribution to overall growth in the third quarter, offset by persistent inventory drawdowns.

Domestic demand will remain the key driver of growth but at a slower pace, as private consumption softens and investments remain lackluster amid lingering uncertainties and cautious business sentiment.

(The Star) No plans to increase retirement age

There is no plan to change the retirement age of 60 despite a recent proposal to increase it by five years.

Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran said the proposal to push it to 65 was suggested by the Malaysian Trade Union Congress.

“Based on the Minimum Retirement Age Act 2012, effective July 1,2013, on all employers in the private sector across the country, it states that the minimum retirement age of a worker is at 60.

“There is no need to increase it to 65 as the Act has set the minimum retirement age, ” he told Rusnah Aluai (PH-Tangga Batu) during Question Time.

(The Star) End-of-the-year extravaganza awaits

PETALING JAYA: With the year-end school holidays approaching, retailers are pushing to significantly boost sales to end the year on a high note despite the cautious consumer sentiment.

Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MCRA) president Datuk Seri Garry Chua said as consumer’s propensity to spend is a bit cautious, shopping malls have to spend money to boost festive season mood as people now tend to look for more “experiential and interactive” malls.

“If the malls can bring in more excitement and more activities, I think a lot more foot traffic will come into the malls, ” he said.

He added that retailers too have to come up with more “bargain and value-for-money shopping” as well as implement ease of payment services such as Alipay, Touch ‘n Go eWallet and Boost that would benefit not only locals but also tourists.

With less than two months to the end of the year, Chua said the government should also boost local tourism to encourage Malaysians to spend locally, adding that Malaysians still have buying power.

Chua noted that if there is a big arrival on international tourism, it can also help the retail scene tremendously as it has a “big multiplier effect”.

Sunway Shopping Malls and Theme Parks chief executive officer H.C. Chan said the last quarter of the year has always traditionally been a peak season for retailers.

“We normally anticipate higher footfall and patronage during this time.

“However, we are cautious that the protracted trade war and economic uncertainty will weigh in on consumer sentiments.

“Hence, shopping malls will need to embark on delivering additional value to shoppers to spur spending, ” he said.

Chan said for its malls, it would be adopting a festive theme that covers both Christmas and Chinese New Year celebrations where each of its retail establishment will adopt a sub-theme to suit its captive markets.

“For us, it is important that we deliver a memorable experience to shoppers, ” he said, adding that Sunway Velocity Mall and Sunway City KL will be holding New Year countdown celebrations.

However, Bumiputra Retailers Organisation president Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin found that consumers sentiment was generally positive but noted that consumers would spend on necessities rather than non-essential items.

“When it comes to the year end period, parents tend to spend money for back-to-school necessities because education is an important part for every parent, ” he said.

Ameer, who is also Mydin’s managing director, said the hypermarket would be focusing on back-to-school essentials and expects the sales growth during that period to be the same or slightly higher than last year.

IOI City Mall Putrajaya head of advertising and promotions Joyce Chew said most of its tenants have started year end promotions.

She said the mall would be holding several activities to encourage shoppers to come to their premises.

Several other malls in Klang Valley have also said they were putting up decorations and giving out “rewards” for shoppers to encourage spending this year end.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

(NST) SP Setia's net profit drops in nine months but surges nearly 70pct in Q3

KUALA LUMPUR: SP Setia Bhd’s net profit dropped to RM300.48 million for the nine months ended September 30 2019, from RM569.41 million net profit a year ago.

Group revenue, however, edged up to RM3.13 billion from RM2.57 billion previously.

For the third quarter, SP Setia’s net profit jumped 67.1 per cent to RM108.93 million from RM65.19 million a year earlier, on the back of higher property development revenue.

Revenue for the quarter declined to RM932.07 million from RM993 million previously as it had last year completed and handed over its Australian project Maison Carnegie, of which the revenue and profits were recognised on completion basis.

SP Setia, in its filing to Bursa Malaysia today, said it had secured sales of RM3.07 billion during the nine months.

Local projects contributed RM2.60 billion, or 85 per cent of the total sales while international projects contributed RM467.0 million.

“In Malaysia, sales secured were largely from entral region with RM1.75 billion while the southern and northern regions combined, contributed RM854.0 million. Of the RM2.60 billion sales achieved locally, RM1.17 billion were derived from the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC). 

“As for the international projects, UNO Melbourne in Australia, Daintree Residence in Singapore and Eco Xuan in Vietnam contributed RM435.0 million of sales,” it said.

SP Setia president and chief executive officer president and chief executive officer Datuk Khor Jap Jen said the group had been strategic with its project launches where projects with combined gross development value (GDV) of RM2.71 billion were launched.

“Amid the challenging landscape of a subdued property market, the strategy is to launch more mid-range landed properties in the group’s flagship townships where the underlying demands by owner-occupiers are still favourable,” said Khor. 

SP Setia plans to launch projects with RM2.17 billion GDV for the remaining months of its current financial year. This will bring the total launches for the year to RM4.88 billion. 

It will continue to focus on launching landed properties in the established townships of Klang Valley and Johor Bahru.

“Given the versatility of the planned launches, the encouraging response to the HOC and initiatives introduced to promote homeownership, the group remains positive and will work towards achieving the sales target of RM4.55 billion.

“Anchored by 46 ongoing projects with 8,984 acres of effective land banks remaining and potential GDV of RM143.82 billion, our prospects going forward remain positive with total unbilled sales of RM10.52 billion as at September 30 2019,” SP Setia said.

(NST) Mercato opens first store outside Klang Valley, more new stores in the pipeline

GEORGE TOWN: Mercato, an European inspired premium groceries and fresh ingredients retailer, has expanded its wings to Penang with the official launch of the Mercato Gurney here today.

Mercato Gurney is the third Mercato store in Malaysia after Mercato Pavilion and Mercato Hartamas in Kuala Lumpur.

Director of store operations, Malaysia and Singapore, Mark Scates said the supermarket retailer is planning to open up more stores across Malaysia, with one confirmed site also in the Klang Valley.

He said they had obtained the necessary approvals to begin works on the new site.

"We are also engaging in talks with various quarters on the possibility of opening up more stores around the country in the near future. This is a process which takes time," he said when met at the opening of Mercato Gurney here today.

Also present at the official opening were Mercato regional manager John Gilbert and store manager Hartono Mohamad Rasyid.

Scates said since May this year, Mercato had also refreshed 32 stores across the country, including Giant hypermarkets and supermarkets.

On Mercato Gurney, Scates said a significant amount of investment had been poured into the store to ensure its success.

He, however, could not provide specific details, saying that some works are still ongoing.

He added that over 2,000 new products have been added, and an even wider range of unique and international selections ranging from air flown fresh flowers, fresh herb pots to delicacies such as an unbeatable line-up of cheese selection, meats, live tank seafood and wines.

It also features the freshest produce from the newly-extended Japanese and Korean flavours as well as organic produce.

Shoppers can also savour the exceptional range of delicatessen along the newly curated aisles, turning their ordinary shopping trips into unique gourmet journeys.

"We, at Mercato, believe in bringing quality, value and a wholesome retail experience to customers.

"We have always put customers' first and strive to understand customers' preferences, which have led to the findings that premium supermarkets have become increasingly popular, especially among the middle-class Malaysians demanding a variety of imported products," he said.

GCH Retail (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (GCH), a subsidiary of Dairy Farm International, is the operator of Giant hypermarkets and supermarkets chain, Cold Storage, Mercato and Jasons Food Hall premium grocery stores.

(NST) Malaysians savvy about smartphones

KUALA LUMPUR: MALAYSIANS are increasingly conscious and deliberate about their smartphone research, with a recent survey by Google and Ipsos highlighting that 46 per cent of them fell under the ‘avid researcher’ consumer profile.

Google Malaysia industry head for tech and telco Su Ann Lim said this was due to the innovation in the smartphone industry and greater access to information.

‘Online research is arguably the most important part of the purchase journey and where Malaysian consumers spend the most time on. But once all the factors are weighted and considered, there is still room for retail sales to play a part,’ she told a media briefing after revealing the results of the survey.

She said Malaysians in the market for a smartphone would perform many research actions before purchasing, such as reading smartphone reviews, physically going to a store, comparing prices online and watching smartphone review videos.

When making decisions, Lim said, phone factors were becoming more important than price points, which included battery life, operating system and internal specifications.

Besides being avid researchers, the other top archetypes that made up 78 per cent of the 929 Malaysians surveyed were the ‘brand loyalist’ at 22 per cent and the ‘in-store decider’ at 10 per cent.

Lim said rural consumers were increasingly empowered by the rise of e-commerce as it helped give more choices to this segment, resulting in more rural consumers buying smartphones online compared with urban consumers.

‘One out of four smartphones is bought online today in Malaysia. According to our study, 27 per cent of rural dwellers bought their smartphones online in the past three months compared with 23 per cent of urban dwellers in the same period.’

The study also found that while the majority of Malaysians hold on to their smartphones for longer than two years, one in two Malaysians aspired to change their phones in under two years.

Ipsos, a global market research and consulting firm, is headquartered in Paris, France.-Bernama

(NST) EcoWorld celebrates topping out of West Village

ECO WORLD International Bhd (EcoWorld International) has topped out its maiden property development in Australia, the A$315 million West Village project in Parramatta, located in Sydney’s growth corridor.

The developer, which once bid for Sydney's White Bay Power Station project, said that it has sold 95 per cent of West Village.

Touted to be one of the tallest residential buildings in Parramatta, West Village will feature 398 luxury light-filled apartments with grand balconies, priced from A$630,000 (one-bedder) to over A$1.26 million (three-bedder).

EcoWorld International celebrated the topping out of West Village with an intimate onsite ceremony, attended by the group's executive vice chairman Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, it's president and CEO Datuk Teow Leong Seng, and the mayor of Parramatta, Lord Mayor Bob Dwyer.

The developer said in a statement on Tuesday that buyers were eager to capitalise on the project's enviable location to Westfield Parramatta shopping centre and the train station, as well as a wide selection of trendy restaurants, bars and boutiques cafes.

On the ground floor across three street frontages, West Village will feature vibrant retail and intimate alfresco dining precinct with delectable restaurants and cafes.

Designed by world-class architecture firm Woods Bagot and featuring landscaping by Myles Baldwin, a majority of the apartments will boast panoramic views towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Blue Mountains and the Central Business District (CBD).

At 40-levels high, West Village is one of only a handful of skyscrapers proposed for the growth corridor to reach its full height.

When completed in 2020, West Village will sit alongside already completed skyscrapers including Altitude, Skyrise and the soon to be complete 4 Parramatta Square.

EcoWorld International Australia’s chief executive officer Yap Foo Leong said that the developer has always held the view that Parramatta would be the next growth area for Sydney due to its central geographical location in New South Wales and its excellent infrastructure and amenities.

As Sydney’s second CBD, Parramatta is undergoing significant transformation with major infrastructure projects and development to cater to employment opportunities and a growing population.

"Parramatta truly suits our hallmark for rolling out quality developments in prime locations that can cater to the local needs of the residents, and the success West Village has experienced confirms the prediction that Parramatta is set to become the new CBD," said Yap.

EcoWorld International, whose major shareholders are Eco World Development Group Bhd and Singapore-listed GuocoLand Ltd, has three projects in Australia and 11 in the United Kingdom with total gross development values of AUD698 million and GBP3.9 billion respectively.

The group's entry into Australia began in 2015 with the launch of West Village. It is also developing Yarra One in Melbourne’s charming South Yarra neighbourhood. Yarra One is under construction and will top out in February 2020.

Over in the UK, the EcoWorld-Ballymore joint-venture is currently developing three prime waterside residential projects in London.

In 2018, EcoWorld London was launched giving EcoWorld an immediate presence in the highly resilient UK mid-mainstream market and the fast-growing Build-to-Rent sub-sector.