Friday, 31 May 2019

(NST) Matrix Concepts breaches RM1 billion revenue mark

KUALA LUMPUR: Leading Negri Sembilan township developer Matrix Concepts Holdings Bhd ended its year ended March 2019 on a high note, with an annual revenue reaching a record-high of RM1 billion mark for the first time.

Matrix chairman Datuk Mohamad Haslah Mohamad Amin said its net profit for the fourth quarter surged 50 per cent to RM65.9 million from RM43.9 million a year ago, riding on its new property launches.

Net profit for the full-year climbed marginally to RM217.5 million from RM213.2 million in 2018.

"Overall, Matrix delivered its best ever revenue of RM1.05 billion in 2019, which represented a 28 per cent growth from RM818.5 million in 2018,” Mohamad Haslah said.

The improved performance was mainly due to higher revenue recognition from residential developments at the Bandar Sri Sendayan township in Seremban, as well as from commercial and investment properties.

Mohamad Haslah said there was still immense potential in the property development sector, as long as homebuyers needs for affordability, quality and locality are met.

The company has lined up another RM1.3 billion worth of new properties to be launched in 2020 comprising a carefully-tailored mix of affordable and premium range products.

“We are positive on our prospects for 2020 and are confident that these launches will help us sustain our financial performance and returns to shareholders,” he said.

Matrix declared a fourth interim single tier dividend of 3 sen and special dividend of 0.25 sen per share in respect of 2019.

Together with earlier paid interim dividends in respect of 2019, total dividends to date amount to 12.75 sen per share with estimated payout of RM97.1 million, making up 44.6 per cent of 2019 net profit.

(The Star) I-Bhd first quarter earnings fall to RM6.43mil

PETALING JAYA: I-Bhd, which posted a net profit RM6.43mil in the first quarter ended March 31 against RM22.73mil in the same period a year ago, expects the property market to remain challenging in 2019.

The developer saw its revenue dipped to RM41.06mil from RM159.3mil in the same quarter last year.

“Performance for the current quarter had been impacted by lower unbilled sales as there were no new launches in 2018.

“Hence, revenue for the current quarter is mainly from the sales of the remaining completed units. In the corresponding financial quarter last year, the Hyde, Liberty and Parisien developments in i-City were still ongoing,” the company said in a statement.

“The property market, in particular the residential and commercial sub-sectors, is expected to remain soft in 2019 due to the continued weak market and consumer sentiment,” said executive chairman Tan Sri Lim Kim Hong (pic). “Nevertheless, the group is highly encouraged by the good response to the opening of the Central i-City Mall in March this year. The mall is an important component in the group’s investment property programme, one in which will see RM1bil invested in the shopping mall, data centre, car parks and offices so as to provide a strong recurring income stream,” he added.

As at end-March, the group, inclusive of its 40% share of the mall, has invested RM620mil for the various investment properties. I-Bhd noted that many of these properties only came on stream over the past six months and have yet to make any significant contribution to the performance of the group.

“At the same time, we also have a number of on-going developments of other investment properties such as the Double Tree by Hilton hotel, the corporate office tower and second convention centre that will contribute steady recurring income streams in the near future,” it said.

“Notwithstanding the cyclical nature of the property development segment, we are confident that our investment property portfolio will mitigate potential and/or prolonged downturns with recurring income streams, and see overall group performance a lot steadier in the (near) future.”

(The Star) Mah Sing posts RM55mil profit in Q1

PETALING JAYA: Mah Sing Group Bhd has recorded a net profit of RM55.01mil in its first quarter ended March 31 compared with RM64.20mil in the previous corresponding period, while revenue came in at RM450.33mil compared with RM584.76mil a year earlier.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, the property developer said the group’s balance sheet remained healthy, with cash and bank balances of RM1.28bil as at March 31, 2019.

On the performance of its property development division, Mah Sing said revenue in the first quarter stood at RM355.5mil compared with RM501mil in the previous year’s corresponding quarter, while operating profit was RM68.9mil as compared with RM77mil before.

“This is mainly attributable to a higher proportion of new sales secured from new projects, where contribution to revenue is expected to pick up once past the initial stages of construction. The festive season and its traditionally longer holiday breaks also contributed to comparatively slower work progress in the current quarter.

“However, demand and sales take-up continue to remain strong for affordable products, especially M Centura and M Vertica. Higher revenue and profit contribution are expected from these projects when construction momentum starts to pick up.”

Mah Sing said the group achieved property sales of approximately RM300.5mil for the period ended March 31, 2019.

Separately in a statement, the developer said it was eyeing more land in the Klang Valley to continue its focus on affordable housing.

“This comes after its acquisition of a 4.63-acre tract of prime freehold land in Kuala Lumpur in March, which brought its remaining landbank to 2,099 acres. This total remaining landbank would yield a remaining gross development value and unbilled sales of approximately RM25.1bil, providing steady earnings visibility for the group.”

(The Star) MRCB Q1 income slides to RM4.1mil

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) has posted a net profit of RM4.13mil in the first quarter ended March 31, (1Q19) from RM21.52mil in the same period last year, but expects the pace of recognition from the third light rail transit (LRT3) project joint venture (JV) to pick up.

Pre-tax profit came in at RM8.4mil for the three-month period.

MRCB’s 50%-owned LRT3 project JV contributed a profit after tax of only RM500,000 compared with RM9mil a year ago, the construction and property company told Bursa Malaysia. However, as work on this project has restarted, the pace of profit recognition from the project will increase. As at March 31, 2019, the engineering, construction and environment division’s external client order book stood at RM22.6bil.

MRCB said in 1Q19, group revenue was at RM234.10mil due to newer property development projects still being at the early stages of construction when revenue and profit recognition is minimal, as well as the completion of several large property projects in 2018.

Pre-tax profit was further impacted by income from the LRT3 project being deferred, as a result of it being remodelled from a project delivery partner to a fixed-price turnkey project.

The company said its property development and investment division recorded a revenue of RM85.1mil and an operating profit of RM3mil. It explained that the lower revenue and operating profits were due to the construction completion of two significant property projects, namely, VIVO in 9 Seputeh and Kalista Park Homes in Bukit Rahman Putra, which resulted in revenue from these two key projects no longer being progressively recognised.

(The Star) Aeon to spend RM500mil on capex

KUALA LUMPUR: Retail group Aeon Co (M) Bhd is planning to spend about RM500mil on capital expenditure (capex) to refurbish some of its outlets as well as Daiso stores.

Managing director Shinobu Washizawa said the allocation was lower than the group’s capex last year, as it expects a challenging year ahead due to the higher cost of living, cost of doing business and uncertainties from the trade war conflict.

He pointed out that the group would be focusing on its outlets’ operating efficiency and expanding its delica or ready-to-eat Aeon product segment such as the bakery, sushi, cafe, pizza and drinks, which generate higher margins.

“Delica or ready-to-eat products have been doing well and have contributed higher margins to the group. It is the fastest-growing segment for the group and we are allocating more floor space.

“At the moment, the ready-to-eat products contribute half of Aeon supermarket sales compared to 30% last year,” Washizawa told reporters after the group’s AGM yesterday.

He said the capex would be used to renovate Aeon Taman Maluri Mall in Kuala Lumpur, opening its new AEON mall in Nilai, Negri Sembilan, and upgrading some of its Daiso and Wellnesss pharmacy stores.

Notably, Aeon Malaysia manages 28 Aeon malls and 34 Aeon outlets across the country. The company also manages one MaxValu and four MaxValu Prime Supermarkets.

For the financial year ended Dec 31, 2018, Aeon saw a flat net profit growth at RM105.1mil, on the back of a 5.6% year-on-year revenue growth to RM4.35bil driven by new stores, shopping malls and newly renovated stores.

Washizawa expects 2019 to be a challenging year for the group due to the weak market sentiment and consumers being conscious about their spending.

“It would be a challenging year, but we are working on controlling our costs and increasing operational efficiencies,” he said.

He said the government had requested the company to control its product prices from increasing too fast and absorb some of the cost.

“Retailers have been asked to look for ways to control prices, which include absorbing the cost of the sales and service tax and working with our suppliers on the pricing,” Washizawa explained.

To boost sales, he said, Aeon would further expand its online shopping presence and is looking for more partners in this segment.

Last year, Aeon had partnered with online concierge and delivery service Honestbee to tap into the growing demand for home grocery delivery and launch its first Click and Collect service with drive-through lanes at selected Aeon outlets.

“We have seen strong demand in the online segment since we rolled out in 2018. As of now, we have 15 outlets that are participating in the e-commerce segment and we are targeting for more outlets to participate this year,” Washizawa said.

He said Aeon preferred to collaborate with existing e-commerce platform providers instead of setting up its own delivery services and platform.

Shares of Aeon have been on a decline since mid-2018. Yesterday, the stock closed five sen higher at RM1.52.

(The Star) QIA and Lim to take part in mall project

KUALA LUMPUR: Malton Bhd has announced the participation of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and controlling shareholder Tan Sri Desmond Lim Siew Choon in the development and ownership of the iconic Pavilion Bukit Jalil Mall, one of the largest regional shopping malls in the country.

Malton’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Khuan Choo Realty Sdn Bhd, QIA’s wholly-owned subsidiary Q PBJ Sdn Bhd, and Lim’s private vehicle, Jelang Tegas Sdn Bhd, inked a subscription agreement on May 28, 2019 with Regal Path Sdn Bhd to partake in the development of the Pavilion Bukit Jalil Mall, it said in a statement here. — Bernama

“With an estimated net lettable area of 1.8 million square feet, the Pavilion Bukit Jalil Mall will be one of the country’s largest regional shopping hubs and will rejuvenate Bukit Jalil into a vibrant destination for business, the best shopping experiences, dining, leisure, as well as an entertainment hub for locals and tourists alike,” it added. - BERNAMA

(The Star) ARB wins RM60mil IOT project from Prinsiptek

PETALING JAYA: ARB Bhd’s wholly owned subsidiary, Arbiot Sdn Bhd, has received and accepted a letter of award (LoA) from Prinsiptek Corp Bhd to carry out an Internet-of-Things (IoT) contract for the systems, engineering, procurement, commissioning and management of a proposed residential development in Shah Alam, Selangor for RM60.43mil.

This is the second consecutive IoT contract garnered by ARB, the company formerly known as Aturmaju Resources Bhd. The day before, it had secured a RM18mil contract for a proposed residential development in Perak.

For the latest RM60.43mil contract, the proposed residential development comprises one block of 13-storey serviced apartments of 260 units, including six levels of carpark.

The duration of the contract will be for 18 months from the date of the LoA.

Arbiot will act as the sole project consultant to handle all resources, scope, cost and risk of the project. It will also design and execute all the pre-commissioning and commissioning activities and testing of the IoT systems, including the wire installation and wireless and mechatronic works required.

ARB was up four sen to 46.5 sen on a volume of 14.39 million shares yesterday.

On Wednesday, ARB announced that it had garnered a contract worth RM18mil to provide IoT system and engineering, procurement, commissioning and management services for a proposed residential development in Perak.

In a filing, ARB said Arbiot and IJV Ventures Sdn Bhd had inked a business contract to carry out the project.

The development comprises 130 units of single-storey terraced houses to be developed into an IoT technology lifestyle residential development project.

Yesterday, RHB Research also released a trading note on ARB. It has a fair value of 59 sen on the stock based on an ex-cash 2019 price earnings ratio of 24 times.

This is premised on ARB’s emphasis on recurring enterprise resource planning and solar projects, apart from its recent venture into the IoT business.

“We think the market has yet to appreciate its transformation from a loss-making, timber-related company to a profit-generating business.”

(The Star) Govt to study merits of RTS project

TOKYO: A six-month study will be carried out on the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link (RTS) project to determine if it is beneficial to the country, says the Prime Minister.

“The previous government has entered into some kind of agreement on several projects in Malaysia.

“We felt that the contracts were overpriced and there was some evidence of corruption, (besides) we decided long before we became the government to do away with the projects.

“However, doing away with the projects or cancelling them would involve very high compensation,” Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan here yesterday.

He said the present government decided to reduce the cost of the projects and renegotiate with the contractors, such as the East Coast Rail Link, which the government managed to slash RM21bil from the original cost.

“Now, we also have other projects which we may have to either delay or reduce the scope or the cost. This is what we are doing, but we are doing through negotiations,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said among others, Malaysia would need two years to decide on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail project.

“These are being settled amicably between the government and the contractors of the previous government,” he said. — Bernama

Thursday, 30 May 2019

(NST) MRCB posts lower net profit in Q1

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) posted lower net profit of RM4.14 million in the first quarter (Q1) ended March 31, 2019 from RM21.53 million recorded a year ago.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia today, MRCB said this was due to lower revenue recognised during the period as well as the deferment and re-timing of income recognition from the light rail transit 3 (LRT 3) project.

As a result, the group’s 50 per cent-owned LRT 3 project joint venture company MRCB George Kent Sdn Bhd contributed a net profit of RM500,000, compared with RM9.0 million previously.

“This is considerably lower than previously budgeted due to the deferment of progress billings resulting from the re-modelling of the project from a PDP (project delivery partner) to a fixed price turnkey project by the government,” it said.

Its revenue dropped 45.3 per cent to RM234.05 million from RM427.59 million, mainly due to the lower revenue contribution from both the property development and investment, and engineering, construction and environment divisions.

MRCB said its property development and investment division would continue to focus its marketing efforts on its residential development projects, namely Sentral Suites in KL Sentral, with a total gross development value (GDV) of RM1.53 billion, 1060 Carnegie in Melbourne (GDV: RM275 million) and Kalista Park Homes in Bukit Rahman Putra (GDV: RM102 million), as well as the remaining unsold units in the Sentral Residences and VIVO in 9 Seputeh, which has historically achieved good sale.

The opening of the new link bridge connecting the Old Klang Road with the New Pantai Expressway had improved connectivity considerably to the 9 Seputeh development and should help spur further sales within this development, it added.

It said revenue and operating profit in the property development and investment division would continue to be progressively recognised in line with construction progress in 2019.

Sentral Suites and the two office towers sold in PJ Sentral Garden City will continue to contribute revenue and operating profit until their physical completion, while TRIA should commence contributing this year.

It said in Melbourne, 1060 Carnegie will only contribute to revenue and operating profit upon physical completion and the handover of units to purchasers, anticipated in 2020.

It said overall, the group had total cumulative unbilled sales in its property development and investment division which are expected to deliver RM1.62 billion in revenue to be booked over the development lifespan of its projects, approximately 88 per cent of which are residential and 12 per cent commercial.

“Wth interests in 282 acres of urban land, the group has a sustainable supply of future projects with a total GDV of RM31 billion,” it said.

(NST) UEM Sunrise Q1 net profit at RM30m, sales at RM215m

KUALA LUMPUR: UEM Sunrise Bhd’s net profit increased 19 per cent to RM30.09 million in the first quarter (Q1) ended March 31, 2019 from RM25.29 million on account of the strong revenue growth and gains from cost savings initiative.

Revenue increased 45.7 per cent to RM419.26 million from RM287.74 million in view of the recognition of ongoing local developments as well as the completion and settlement of the company’s developments in Melbourne, Australia – the majority of which is from Conservatory.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia today, UEM Sunrise said property development sales for the quarter was RM215.2 million.

Total sales was 54 per cent contributed by the Central region mainly from Symphony Hills, Residensi Astrea and Serene Heights Bangi, followed by 38 per cent from Southern largely from the recently launched mid-market residences Aspira ParkHomes in Gerbang Nusajaya, Almas@Puteri Harbour and Denai Nusantara, while the remaining eight per cent was from Conservatory.

To date, the company has launched projects with a total gross development value of RM160.0 million.

UEM Sunrise managing director and chief executive officer Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib said the company’s revenue for the quarter has improved compared to last year’s and the composition is a good mixture of both local and international projects including a small portion generated from Hyatt House Kuala Lumpur, Mont’Kiara, which commenced operations in December last year.

“Our inventory monetisation campaigns continue to aid the efforts as slightly more than half of the local property development revenue was from completed properties like Symphony Hills, Denai Nusantara and Almas@Puteri Harbour.

“As for the other ongoing local developments, progress completion is on track.

“Internationally, the bulk of our property development revenue is from Conservatory. We have completed the entire 446 units and achieved a settlement rate of 73 per cent for all units sold to-date. Its financing has also been settled via the settlement proceeds,” he said in a statement.

Anwar said moving forward, the company remains prudent in its sales target of RM1.2 billion this year.

“In January 2019, we launched Aspira ParkHomes in Gerbang Nusajaya at a GDV of RM101.8 million. The take up including bookings to-date is 66 per cent. The second phase is targeted for launching in June.

“On May 11, we launched Dahlia 2 of Serene Heights Bangi, 74 double-storey terrace homes priced from RM621,000 per unit after considering amongst others, the incentives we have made available under the Home Ownership Campaign 2019 initiated by the Government in early March. Dahlia 2 has a GDV of RM58.0 million.

“Serene Heights Bangi’s Eugenia 2 is intended for launch in June,” he said.

Anwar said for the second half of the year, the company plans to launch other similar mid-market products in both Iskandar Puteri as well as the Central region including the much-awaited development in Kepong, towards the end of this year.

The company will also be launching a new commercial development in Gerbang Nusajaya.

“Notwithstanding our plans, we are mindful of the challenging market environment and remain pragmatic on our RM1.2 billion GDV target. Additional launches depend on market conditions and demand,” he said.

(NST) AEON Co lowers capex, expects subdued 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Japanese retailer AEON Co. (M) Bhd is allocating RM500 million capital expenditure (capex) this year, slightly lower allocation, as there be no new malls launch this year.

"We usually allocate between RM600 million to RM700 million in capex for new malls. But for this year, we are only opening one mall which is AEON Mall Nilai. We have also refurbished and reopened AEON Taman Maluri Shopping Centre," executive director Poh Ying Loo said after the company's annual general meeting here earlier today.

"The rest of the capex will be for the refurbishment of our existing branches although we haven't finalized which yet."

AEON currently operates 28 AEON malls, 34 AEON outlets, one MaxValu and four MaxValu Prime Supermarkets across the country.

Managing director Shinobu Washizawa said the group has experience commendable growth in its e-commerce offerings since partnering with honestbee and HappyFresh.

"We have seen strong demand within this segment since this offering was rolled out in 2018. As of now, we have 15 outlets that are participating in the e-commerce segment and we are planning to roll out to more this year," he said.

When asked, Washizawa said the company has no plans to establish its own e-commerce cum logistics company, but prefers to collaborate with existing e-commerce platforms instead.

Going forward, AEON Co is optimistic that the government will introduce consumer-friendly initiatives that augur well for the industry despite the uncertainties in economic and business outlook.

"Disposable income has been a little bit decreasing. It means the price competition is tough in Malaysia. We are paying attention to competitors' as well as commodities prices," said Washizawa, adding that cost prices have increased by six per cent due to market environments.

"The government also requires us to control the prices, but after Sales and Service Tax is introduced, cost price is increasing. This is one of the issues."

For the financial year ended 31 December 2018, the group posted a net profit of RM105.1 million, on the back of RM4.4 billion revenue, due to new malls and stores opening.

Going forward, the firm expects a subdued 2019 because of ongoing challenges which include increasing cost of living, higher cost of doing business and rising global trade conflict that still pose challenges to the retail industry.

(NST) Kg Baru redevelopment: Settlement to boast high-rise dwellings

THE new redevelopment plan for Kampung Baru (Kg Baru) in Kuala Lumpur will have 83 million sq ft of residential and commercial floor space, says Kampung Baru Development Corp (KBDC) chief executive officer Zulkurnain Hassan.

He said 70 per cent of the floor space would comprise residential dwellings and 30 per cent would be iconic corporate towers and retail complexes.

Zulkurnain said Kg Baru would no longer have landed houses, except for a few “kampung” houses which would be duplicated in a public area in order to preserve the history of the 120-year-old settlement.

“It will all be high-rise dwellings as we want to subsidise the development in Kg Baru. We are looking at building apartments, serviced apartments, condominiums and serviced suites to support the commercial development within and around Kg Baru”.

The estimated gross development value (GDV), based on the new master plan currently being drafted by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) for the redevelopment of Kg Baru, is RM50 billion to RM60 billion, Zulkurnain told NST Property.

However, the GDV is subject to change based on market conditions and demand, he said.


The new master plan for Kg Baru will exclude Kampung Bharu City Centre (KBCC), the catalyst project that was planned under the old Kampung Baru Detailed Development Masterplan.

“The government at that time wanted to prioritise some areas in Kg Baru, especially around the main mosque, thus it came up with KBCC. But KBCC didn’t take off due to objections from the land owners.

“KBCC was supposed to be developed over 40 acres (16.19ha) of land which is owned by 150 to 160 individuals. Out of this number, we managed to talk to 90 per cent of the owners. The remaining 10 per cent have passed away and the title was not transferred to their beneficiaries... so that has been a challenge.

“Out of the 90 per cent, not many people agreed to KBCC. About five per cent rejected the development as they wanted the land for their own use. Half of those whom we spoke to agreed to the development if the right price was offered. Some owners were asking for more than RM2,000 per sq ft (psf). Anything less they wouldn’t sell. But we do know the land in Kg Baru doesn’t cost that much,” he said.

Zulkurnain said some of the owners maybe just too comfortable staying where they are now and enjoying the ‘kampung’ environment. “This is why we think they have come up with an unreasonable price tag for their land, because their intention is to stay and not move. So, looking at this situation, we could not guarantee that KBCC will be carried out and this is why we have decided to call off the plan.”

Last month, Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad said the government needed RM10 billion to acquire land in Kg Baru, which could be developed into a modern and integrated settlement of the Malay community in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

He said a RM10 billion fund was required if all landowners in Kg Baru agreed to accept cash for their land to be developed by the developer to be appointed by DBKL.

The minister had also reportedly said that if all the landowners want cash instead of apartments (in exchange for their land), this would probably be the worst-case scenario as the fund required would be between RM6 billion and RM10 billion.

Zulkurnain said the problem was that one plot may have 20, 50, 70 owners or more and it would be a challenge to get approval from all of them in one go.

Kg Baru has a total land area of 121.4ha administered by KBDC.

There are seven villages that come under “Malay Agriculture Settlement” status spread over 89ha, as well as Chow Kit and the PKNS flats, which combined, cover 32.4ha of area.

The land in Kg Baru (including Chow Kit and the PKNS flat area) is divided into 1,355 lots with around 5,300 registered owners. Of the total 1,355 lots, around 88 per cent, or 1,193, measure less than 11,840 sq ft, or 0.11ha each.

(The Star) UOA profit soars in Q1

PETALING JAYA: UOA Development Bhd made a net profit of RM59.86mil for the first quarter ended March 31, 2019, an increase of 82.9% from the RM32.27mil posted in the same period a year ago. This came mainly due to the progressive recognition of the group’s on-going development projects.

Revenue for the first quarter increased 42.3% to RM244.67mil from RM171.98mil previously.

Its earnings per share stood at 3.25 sen versus 1.86 sen.

No dividend was declared.

In a press release, the property developer said new property sales for the quarter ended March 31 was approximately RM171.23mil.

This was contributed mainly from projects such as South Link Lifestyle Apartments, Sentul Point Suite Apartments, United Point Residence and other sale of inventories.

Unbilled sales stood at about RM1.40bil as at that period.

(The Star) Tourist expenditure expands 16.9% in first quarter

PETALING JAYA: The tourism industry recorded positive growth in the first quarter of 2019 with tourist expenditure registering an increase of 16.9% to reach RM21.4bil compared to RM18.3bil in 2018.

Per capita expenditure showed a hike of 13.8% from RM2,813.1 in 2018 to RM3,201.8 in 2019.

Tourist arrivals to Malaysia recorded an increase of 2.7% in the first quarter of 2019 with a total of 6.7mil tourists compared to 6.52mil tourists in the same period of 2018, a statement by Tourism Malaysia said.

Based on monthly arrivals, Malaysia welcomed a total of 2,195,684 tourists in January followed by 2,165,933 tourists in February and 2,334,613 tourists in March.

The short-haul market, comprising Asean, maintained its lead as the biggest contributor of international tourist arrivals to Malaysia with a share of 68.3%, reflecting a 1.9% increase to 4,576,636 tourists in the first quarter of 2019. The increase was fuelled by positive arrival growth from markets such as Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The share for the medium-haul market during the first quarter of 2019 was 21.9% with a 8.6% increase of arrivals to 1,466,993 tourists, driven mainly by China, South Korea, Japan, India and Pakistan growth.

The long-haul market, meanwhile, recorded a 9.7% share, down by -3.6% with arrivals of 652,032 tourists in Q1 of 2019.

The average length of stay in Malaysia for the first quarter of 2019 saw an improvement of 1.8 nights from 4.2 nights in 2018 to 6.0 nights in 2019.

(The Star) IJM Corp quarterly net profit surges more than 13 times

PETALING JAYA: Conglomerate IJM Corp Bhd’s net profit jumped by over 13 times in the fourth quarter ended March 31, marking a sharp improvement from the previous nine months of lower earnings.

The turnaround of its infrastructure and plantation business segments on a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis as well as higher profits from its construction, property development and manufacturing and quarrying segments widened the group’s bottom line to RM240.81mil in the January to March 2019 period.

In comparison, IJM Corp posted a net profit of only RM17.86mil a year earlier.

Revenue-wise, IJM Corp saw an increase of 2.9% y-o-y to RM1.39bil in the fourth quarter, up from RM1.36bil in the previous corresponding quarter.IJM told Bursa Malaysia yesterday that its higher revenue in the fourth quarter was contributed by the group’s property development, plantations and infrastructure divisions.

Earnings per share in the fourth quarter was 6.64 sen. A dividend of two sen was declared for the quarter under review.

Supported by the strong performance in the final quarter, IJM Corp’s earnings for the entire financial year of 2019 (FY19) strengthened significantly as the bottom line rose by 20.85% y-o-y to RM418.92mil.

However, its revenue for the 12-month period fell by RM309.93mil y-o-y.

“For the current year ended March 31, the group posted an operating revenue of RM5.66bil, a decrease of 5.2% over the preceding year, mainly due to lower revenue contributed by the group’s construction, manufacturing and quarrying as well as plantation divisions,” IJM Corp said in its results filing.

(The Star) Malton in mall project tie-up with Qatar authority

PETALING JAYA: Malton Bhd has announced the participation of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Malton non-executive chairman Tan Sri Desmond Lim in the development and ownership of the iconic Pavilion Bukit Jalil mall.

The company said its wholly-owned subsidiary Khuan Choo Realty Sdn Bhd (KCR), QIA’s wholly owned subsidiary Q PBJ Sdn Bhd, and Lim via his private vehicle Jelang Tegas Sdn Bhd have inked a subscription agreement on May 28 with Regal Path Sdn Bhd to partake in the development.

Regal Path is the special-purpose vehicle which will retain the ownership of Pavilion Bukit Jalil mall under the deal.

In addition, Regal Path had signed a sale and purchase agreement with the developer of the mall, Pioneer Haven Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malton, for a purchase consideration of RM1.48bil.

KCR and Jelang Tegas will also be the joint owner of Regal Path, holding 51% and 49% equity interest, respectively.

“Regal Path will issue RM830mil redeemable preference shares of which QIA, Jelang Tegas and KCR will invest RM407mil, RM207mil and RM216mil, respectively,” Malton said.

It said the Pavilion Bukit Jalil mall would be one of the largest regional shopping hubs with net lettable area of 1.8 million sq ft.

“It will rejuvenate Bukit Jalil into a vibrant destination for business, best-in-class shopping experience, dining, leisure and entertainment hub for both locals and tourists alike,” it added.

The mall will house five levels of retail space, two levels of basement parking with 4,717 car parking bays and a centralised green area measuring about 3.69 acres.

The mall is part of the 50-acre Bukit Jalil City integrated lifestyle development comprising Signature Shop Offices, The Park Sky Residence and The Park 2.

Malton said the mall is slated for completion by March 2021. Pavilion Bukit Jalil mall being the crown jewel of Bukit Jalil City is poised to be an entertainment and retail hub in the southern corridor of Klang Valley.

“We are very happy to have QIA onboard and their participation in the Pavilion Bukit Jalil mall project is indeed a testimony of QIA’s confidence not just in the projects managed under the ‘Pavilion’ brand, but Malaysia as a stable and high-potential investment destination,” Lim said.

Malton said the deal is subject to approvals of the regulatory authorities in Malaysia and the shareholders of Malton.

(NST) Rising confidence in govt initiatives?

IS the current poor market sentiment a domino effect from the various cooling measures implemented by the previous government to curb speculation and runaway inflation on property prices?

Among the measures implemented since 2010 were interest rate hikes, abolishment of Developer Interest Bearing Scheme (DIBS), raising the Real Property Price Index, raising the minimum property purchase price for foreign investors from RM500,000 to RM1 million, and introducing the maximum 70 per cent Loan-To-Value for third residential mortgage loan onwards.

Market consultants said these measures, especially the removal of DIBS and interest rate hikes, had caused a knee-jerk reaction and the market to go downhill.

DIBS was an innovative home financing scheme which aimed to help lower the cost of buying a house. Under DIBS, interest payments would be borne by the developer during the construction period. With its abolishment, buyers can’t avoid the interest costs, thus increasing the expenditure threshold needed for property speculation. As a result, houses may become less affordable to the genuine house buyer.

In the first quarter of 2013, 93 per cent of participants in the PropertyGuru Consumer Sentiment Survey expressed dissatisfaction with the housing initiatives available at the time.

This decreased to 63 per cent in the second half 2018 survey, with satisfaction rising from seven to 22 per cent over a similar timeframe.

“These movements reflect increasing confidence in public sector initiatives over the past few years, with Malaysians wanting the government to up the ante in their initiatives to provide more affordable national housing for the masses,” said PropertyGuru Malaysia country manager Sheldon Fernandez.

The survey was based on a sample group of 944 participants, responding to online questionnaires. The majority of respondents comprised 30 to 39 year olds from the PMEB (professionals, managers, executives and businessmen) working demographic and medium to high-income households in Klang Valley.

Will current government initiatives spur the property market?

According to the survey, a majority of Malaysians still feel that a more targeted approach could be taken to address the pressing gap in the property market, including issues related to affordable housing.

The sentiment comes amid widespread perceptions that property prices remain high in the country, with unfavourable market timing. Lack of capital and good financial options were also cited as challenges by property seekers.

The survey showed that actual uptake of national affordable housing programmes is low, despite demand for such initiatives.

“Only 19 per cent of survey participants applied for the 1Malaysia People’s Housing scheme, for example. Participation rates ranged from four to nine per cent for other initiatives such as Rumah Selangorku, the Federal Territories Affordable Housing Project, My First Home Scheme, 1Malaysia Civil Servants Housing and MyHome.

“In fact, 41 per cent of respondents reflected that they were not qualified to apply for such national housing initiatives.

“A large segment of home seekers is either not qualified, or unaware about existing affordable housing initiatives. That has deterred them from applying for or even considering these options,” said Fernandez.

He said another challenge is the lack of consensus on what exactly constitutes affordable housing itself.

“Baseline prices vary from location to location. That being said, the majority (nearly eight out of 10) of respondents considered properties in the RM300,000-RM500,000 range to be on the affordable spectrum.”


Some 76 per cent of Malaysians anticipate continued price increases in the next six months.

Fernandez said regardless of price movements, household income in Malaysia has failed to commensurate with living cost and this has caused many to cite unfavourable timing and market conditions as a factor in their property decisions.

At least 67 per cent of Malaysians have a budget of RM500,000 or less for property purchases.

The survey found that 51 per cent of respondents resorted to withdrawing their Employees Provident Fund savings at least once to purchase properties.

“Given income stagnation in the country, the younger generation has been particularly hard hit by property financing issues. Over 70 per cent of house seekers under 29 years of age, for example, see prevailing interest rates in Malaysia as excessively high.

“Further challenges for house buyers seeking financing include unfamiliarity with the paperwork involved, unfavourable credit histories, unstable sources of income and other outstanding debts that contribute towards high debt-service ratios in the country, such as car loans, personal loans and outstanding credit card debts,” said Fernandez.


Fernandez said Johor, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor are seen as primary contributors to transactions last year, with 75 per cent of loans approved undertaken for properties in these areas.

He said asking prices generally trended downwards or sideways in the third quarter as the market adjusted to larger economic tides.

However, the Johor, Penang and Kuala Lumpur markets registered marginal quarter-on-quarter increases of up to 0.5 per cent, in line with their role as key focuses in national development.

Location-wise, the PropertyGuru Market Index Q1 2019 report found areas of high demand for affordable properties in Klang and Shah Alam.

“This demand is catalysed by the upcoming Light Rail Transit Line 3 alignment linking these areas to the city centre,” said Fernandez.

In terms of property types, more Malaysians are looking at landed, semi-detached and mixed-use projects, with home seekers expressing fewer intentions to buy terrace, condominium, flat/apartment and bungalow properties.

Fernandez believes that government initiatives, such as the Home Ownership Campaign, could stimulate buying appetite in the short to mid term.

(NST) Kg Baru redevelopment: First draft on new master plan by August

KUALA Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) hopes to present the first draft of the new master plan for the redevelopment of Kampung Baru (Kg Baru) to all land owners by August this year, says Kampung Baru Development Corp (KBDC) chief executive officer, Zulkurnain Hassan.

“Hopefully once they have seen the new master plan they would agree to sell their land. As I have mentioned, they have an option to get cash or a new apartment in return for their land and there is no other choice.

“The redevelopment of Kg Baru is for them. Depending on the size and value of their land, they could get either an apartment, serviced apartment or condominium. The development will see to it that there is a lot of public space and green area to improve their well-being and lifestyle,” he said.


According to market consultants, the price for land fronting the main road — Jalan Raja Abdullah and Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz — is around RM650 per sq ft (psf), currently.

“Depending on where the land is located in Jalan Raja Abdullah and Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, and the type of land, whether it is flat and undeveloped, or is very strategically located, the price can go up to RM800 psf but it shouldn’t be more than that.

“The price will also be lower in the inner parts of Kg Baru, like those less developed areas with small roads. It should be nothing more than RM500 psf,” a consultant told NST Property.

The consultant said land in Kg Baru cannot be on par with that of other parts of Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle.

“The Golden Triangle is the CBD (central business district) of Kuala Lumpur... That is where you have many luxury apartments that sell at more than RM2,000 psf, five-star hotels and up-market shopping malls. There are many iconic structures in the CDB such as Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower. Kg Baru is a far cry from the Golden Triangle,” he said.


Zulkurnian said the Federal Territories Ministry has formed four committees to come up with a new concept for the master plan, handle land matters, and overlook social-economic issues and financing for the redevelopment of Kg Baru.

The master plan committee is headed by DBKL and it is coming up with a new concept and business model for Kg Baru, he said.

“The second committee is in charge of land matters. It is the one engaging with all the land owners in Kg Baru, having discussions and meetings to get them to agree to sell off their land to make way for the redevelopment.

“The third and fourth committee are in charge of financing and social economic matters. All four committees have presented their respective issues. We are not sure when the master plan will be ready but the first presentation to the land owners is expected this August,” he said.

The government intends to either acquire the land from owners based on prices by the Valuation Department, or on a willing-buyer-willing-seller basis at a price to be determined later.

Zulkurnain said the priority for the development of Kg Baru is to get consent from all the land owners.

“We will not develop too many areas in Kg Baru. Too many areas mean it will be difficult to start the development. Under the old master plan, the plan was to develop every area and that would have made the development too congested.

“We believe in open spaces and providing a lot of green areas for the residents. The new master plan for Kg Baru will focus on these two aspects,” said Zulkurnain.

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad has said the whole plan is to develop Kg Baru in a well-organised and integrated manner and according to a comprehensive plan.

“We will have more details on what the land owners want following the presentation in August. Based on their feedback, it would be easier for us to work on the next step,” said Zulkurnain.

(NST) Terengganu's drawbridge set to be key attraction

KUALA TERENGGANU: Nearly half a million vehicles are expected to ply the second East West Expressway to head for Terengganu this festive season.

Traffic congestion at exit points along the expressway is expected to be massive.

For those passing through Kuala Terengganu or heading towards Kelantan, however, a visit to the iconic drawbridge across Sungai Terengganu will soothe their tired mind and body.

Built at a cost of RM248 million, the drawbridge took five years to be completed. It undergoing final touches and is expected to divert traffic on Sultan Mahmud Bridge when it is temporarily opened to the public on June 2.

Menteri Besar Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar said not only residents but also the local authority and police expected issues to arise when motorists start using the bridge.

Samsuri, who inspected the facility on Tuesday, said the public would be allowed to travel on the drawbridge until June 17 to allow the authorities to identify problems, especially those related to safety.

“But please don’t stop anywhere along the span of the drawbridge. You will only create congestion.”

The drawbridge is expected to cut travelling time between the city in the south and Sultan Mahmud Airport in Seberang Takir as well as Universiti Malaysia Terengganu on a four-lane coastal road at the northbank by about 15 minutes.

“The drawbridge is unlike the Sultan Mahmud Bridge. It is an outstanding structure unlike any other in the state,” said Anuar Hitam 58, a former field manager with a plantation company in Kemaman.

He said by day, the four 15-storey high towers and sky bridges were awesome sights for selfies, and by night the structure’s lightings were breathtaking.”

However, he said, everyone was eager to be among the first to cross it and this might create problems for the police.

Terengganu police chief Datuk Aidi Ismail warned motorists not to stop along the 638m span of the bridge to take selfies or slow down their vehicles to capture videos. He said traffic policemen would be stationed at strategic points to ensure the smooth flow of traffic.

(NST) Tourism Industry sees 16.9pct growth in first quarter

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia’s tourism industry has seen a promising start this year with growth in the first quarter, registering an increase of 16.9 per cent for tourist expenditure to reach RM21.4 billion compared with RM18.3 billion last year.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said per capita expenditure also rose by 13.8 per cent from RM2,813.1 last year to RM3,201.8 this year.

He said the highest per capita expenditure came from Saudi Arabia at RM11,069 followed by the United Kingdom (RM5,212), India (RM4,712.6) and the United States (RM4,506.2).

“The highest tourist expenditure recorded based on distance is Singapore at RM6.2 billion for the short-haul market, China at RM3.7 billion for the medium-haul markets and the UK at RM483.6 million for the long-haul market.”

Mohamaddin said this at a briefing on the Tourism Performance Report between January and March this year.

Present were ministry secretary-general Datuk Isham Ishak and Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Musa Yusof.

Tourist arrivals, Mohamaddin said, recorded an increase of 2.7 per cent in the first quarter of this year with 6,696,230 tourists compared with 6,520,218 tourists in the same period last year.

Based on monthly arrivals, he said, Malaysia had welcomed 2.195 million tourists in January followed by 2.165 million in February and 2.334 million in March.

For the short-haul market, he said, Asean maintained the lead in terms of tourist arrivals and was the biggest contributor of international tourist arrivals to Malaysia with a share of 68.3 per cent, reflecting a 1.9 per cent increase 4.576 million tourists in the first quarter of this year.

“The increase was fuelled by positive growth from markets, such as Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

“The share for the medium-haul market during the first quarter of this year was 21.9 per cent with 8.6 per cent increase of arrivals to 1.466 million tourists, driven mainly by China, (South) Korea, Japan, India and Pakistan growth.”

“The long-haul market recorded a 9.7 per cent share, down by 3.6 per cent with arrivals of 652,032 tourists in the first quarter of this year.

“The average length of stay (ALOS) in Malaysia for the first quarter of this year saw an improvement of 1.8 nights from 4.2 nights last year to 6 nights this year.”

He said Saudi Arabian tourists recorded an average stay of 10.1 nights, France (8.9), Germany (8.5), and the UK (8.5).

On the drop of tourist arrival from Singapore at 1.5 per cent from 2.667 million in the first quarter of last year to 2.626 million for the same period this year, Isham attributed it to the entry point system issue at the Johor Causeway, which was expected to be resolved by October.

“After October, things will improve and will be better by 2020.”

On the differences between Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) and AirAsia Group Bhd, Mohamaddin said it would not affect the tourism industry and described it as “internal affairs”.

In the Tourism Performance Report between January and March this year, it stated that most tourists engaged in shopping at 87.4 per cent, followed by sightseeing in the cities (87 per cent), visiting island beaches (48.7 per cent), swimming activities (41.7 per cent), visiting museums (29 per cent), visiting historical places (28.3 per cent), snorkelling (27.3 per cent), visiting villages (26.5 per cent), and visiting theme parks ( 22 per cent).

Top shopping items bought by tourists are handicrafts and souvenirs at 82.3 per cent, foodstuff (81.9 per cent), apparels (79.3 per cent), cosmetics (51.9 per cent), household goods (49.8 per cent), shoes (44.2 per cent), fragrances (34.3 per cent and chocolates (31 per cent).

It listed Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya as the most popular destinations visited by tourists followed by Johor, Melaka, Sabah, Pahang, Sarawak, Penang and Kedah.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

(NST) TTDI longhouse settlers bank on govt to expedite resettlement

PUTRAJAYA: The Pertubuhan Penduduk Perumahan Awam Bukit Kiara (PPPABK) is banking on the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to help expedite the resettlement of 98 families relocated from Bukit Kiara Estate to longhouses in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI).

The group today submitted a second memorandum to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to seek the prime minister’s assistance to expedite the fulfillment of the Master Resettlement Agreement (MRA) signed in 2015 between the longhouse settlers and Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP).

Under the agreement, the settlers were offered permanent affordable housing on land next to the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple and opposite the existing longhouses.

YWP made an offer of two affordable units for each family, the original settler getting a unit for free and a next-of-kin able to buy a unit at half the price.

PPPABK chairman Sunderam Vadiveloo today handed a memorandum to the Prime Minister’s special officer, Suwari Suno, after about 30 of the longhouse residents had gathered outside Perdana Putra.

A copy of the memorandum was also submitted to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator P. Waytha Moorthy through his private secretary, Mathavan Velayutham.

The affordable houses are part of a mega project, which involves the construction of eight blocks of between 42- and 54-storey high-end serviced apartments, with 2,277 units. The affordable housing comprises a 29-storey block with 350 affordable housing units, with 200 reserved for the relocation of the longhouse families.

However, the project has been scaled down with the revised plan comprising a 17-storey block of 204 affordable housing units for the longhouse folk, and four blocks of 41- to 45-storey condominiums, comprising 1,082 units in total.

TTDI residents are protesting against the proposed development as they fear the 10.24ha Taman Rimba Kiara Park, the “last green lung” in the area, would be in jeopardy.

“Amidst the MRA signed and a clear court decision in dismissing the suit and a stay order bought by the TTDI Residents Association on grounds of sound and fair judgment, the TTDI longhouse settlers are stuck and facing an uphill task in getting their permanent homes after waiting for over 37 years,” Sunderam told reporters after submitting the memorandum.

He said the first memorandum was submitted last September.

“While the longhouse settlers are grateful and assured that the construction of new homes will finally proceed with the court’s decision in upholding the validity of the development order, sadly we do not see any site work construction progress up to now,” he said. — BERNAMA

(NST) Stronger Q4 ahead for Padini: RHB Research

KUALA LUMPUR: Padini Holdings Bhd is expected to post a stronger fourth quarter results fuelled by the Aidil Fitri festivities, RHB Research said.

The firm said Padini’s result for the nine-month ended March 31 2019 was within expectation.

“We continue to like Padini’s established brand equity, strategic presence throughout Malaysia, and sturdy balance sheet that enables regular dividend payouts.

“We also believe the stock deserves a valuation premium despite a lacklustre FY19 earnings growth, given the scarcity of sizeable shariah-compliant consumer stocks available,” RHB Research said in a report today.

Padini has brands such as Vincci, Seed, Padini Authentics, PDI, Padini, Miki Kids and Brands Outlet.

The firm said Padini’s nine-month revenue had grown 5.5 per cent to RM1.3 billion, mainly driven by new store openings.

Its gross profits eroded 1.9 percentage points to 39.3 per cent on higher inventory write-downs of RM5.8 million versus RM4.6 million a year ago, and impact from Sales and Services Tax adjustments.

“The group declared a total dividend per share of 11.5 sen in FY19, unchanged from FY18. Post results, we made no major changes to our earnings forecasts,” RHB Research said.

(NST) Malaysia remains the world's 22nd most competitive economy

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has maintained its 22nd rank, among 63 countries, in the World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) 2019 published by IMD World Competitiveness Centre, based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

With a score of 82.54 out of 100 points, Malaysia sustained its position for the second year, reflecting positive sentiments of the business community towards the new government, announced International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking.

“The report showed improvements in institutional related indicators such as bribery and corruption, transparency, bureaucracy, justice, social cohesion and public finance in terms of rankings and value scored compared to the previous year.

“All these indicators increased in value score more than 10 per cent, ranging between 10.8 per cent in public finances to 31.1 per cent in bribery and corruption,” he said in a statement.

The WCY 2019 assesses economies based on four competitiveness input factors namely economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure with each encompassing five sub-factors.

Overall, Malaysia continues to be ahead of Belgium (27th), South Korea (28th) and Japan (30th).

Malaysia was overtaken by New Zealand by one spot to be ranked 7th among the 14 Asia-Pacific economies and was second only to Singapore in Asean, outpacing other nations in the region.

Malaysia emerged second among the 28 economies with gross domestic product per capita less than US$20,000.

Darell said the challenging external environment last year had somewhat affected the competitiveness of smaller economies where Malaysia was not spared.

He said incidents, which include, the shutdown of the United States’ federal government, as well as the uncertainties in its monetary policies, the slowdown in China’s economic growth and the ongoing US-China trade tension, had also affected the global economy, and thus the nation’s economy.

However, in comparing the top 15 competitive economies on the chart with Malaysia’s overall performance, it was recorded that the country’s economic performance at 11th position was comparable with the second most competitive economy Hong Kong (10th) and had surpassed other competing economies alike Canada (12th), Switzerland (23rd) and Finland (35th), he explained.

“Malaysia needs to move from an input-driven to productivity-driven growth to achieve sustainable economic expansion, in line with the initiatives outlined in the Malaysia Productivity Blueprint.

“I believe Malaysia’s economic indicators are improving and through the implementation of key reforms Malaysia will prosper in this competitive race,” he added.

(The Star) Pulau Indah land sale gets ‘fair bit of interest’, says agent

PETALING JAYA: Property consultancy CBRE | WTW, which has been appointed the exclusive marketing agent for the sale of Pulau Indah, said it has received “a fair bit of interest” from prospects for the 318-acre land, managing director Foo Gee Jen said.

“We are looking for someone who is ready to develop it. No single end-user may be ready to take up the entire 318 acres. It may be parcelled out between one to 10 acres. We are looking at logistics and warehousing because it is right smack in the port area,” Foo said.

He said the land would provide a good source of recurring income over the long term. It has an industrial title and has been given Free Trade Zone status and will be granted a fresh 99-year lease.

It is understood that its current lease expires in 2096.

The sale of the Pulau Indah land by expression of interest is part of the government’s efforts to fill its kitty, another source said.

The land is owned by 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). In the last budget, the government highlighted that it was planning to designate 380 acres in Pulau Indah, Selangor, to support and catalyst shipping and logistics activities in Port Klang.

“This 318 acres, located next to the Port Klang Free Zone and next to the proposed Westports extension, is part of that,” the source said.

The government may be able to monetise the 318 acres at more than RM30 per sq ft, which translates to RM415.56mil, a news report said.

The sale will be done in two stages, with stage 1 closes on June 21. Parties shortlisted will then submit tenders for stage 2.

Besides the Pulau Indah land, the government is also selling a Hong Kong building which houses the Consulate-General of Malaysia’s office.

On the Hong Kong sale, a source said: “There is interest out there but they (the Malaysian government) would rather, or prefer, to carry out open bid to obtain a competitive pricing.”

Other than the Pulau Indah and the Hong Kong building, “there are potentially other parcels of land, currently under other government agencies and which are under dispute, which may be put on sale,” another source said.

A report said 1MDB had tried in September 2015 to sell the Pulau Indah land as part of its rationalisation plan.

The land is registered under Tadmax Power Sdn Bhd.Ivory Merge Sdn Bhd, a 1MDB unit, bought Tadmax Power from Tadmax Resources Bhd in 2014 for RM294.38mil.

1MDB is reported to have acquired two other land parcels in the area via direct negotiations with the government, a report said.

(The Star) UK warehouse buy to bring assured income to EPF

PETALING JAYA: The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) said the purchase of UK’s Sports Direct warehouse for £120mil or RM562mil would enable the investment to generate an assured income stream matching its risk return profile.

The EPF said the logistics property in Shirebrook was currently occupied by Sports Direct International Plc and would continue to be leased to it on a long-term basis.

Earlier yesterday, Sports Direct, the sportswear retailer owned by billionaire Mike Ashley, confirmed the sale of the freehold asset to its Shirebrook logistics centre to Kwasa Logix Sportivo for just over £120mil in cash.