KUALA LUMPUR: United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand) will stay focused on its business expansion including diversifying into new areas, despite being taken private by its major shareholders.
Tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary and Singaporean Datuk Ng Eng Tee, who each owns 28.1 per cent and 35.76 per cent stake in UMLand, are buying out the company at RM2.50 per share.
They are buying the shares from Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd, which has a 20.75 per cent UMLand stake held via CapitaLand Ltd.
According to UMLand group chief executive officer Charlie Chia Lui Meng, the privatisation deal will be completed within the next two to three months.
Trading in the shares of UMLand has been suspended with effect from September 5 2012 and the company will be delisted from Bursa Malaysia.
"Business will be as usual for UMLand. I do not foresee any changes after it has been taken private," Chia told Business Times in a recent interview.
Chia said UMLand is diversifying its revenue stream with the setting up of an investment portfolio, which will comprise a series of hotels.
"There is a lack of hotel rooms in Johor Bahru and this is a good business area to go to as there will be demand with spillover from Singapore, thanks to the Iskandar Malaysia development," Chia said.
UMLand is one of the largest property developers in Iskandar, with a total landbank of over 900 hectares.
The Iskandar land represents 90 per cent of its undeveloped landbank.
The company has several new projects coming up in Iskandar in the next two years and there are plans to build up to five four-star hotels, Chia said.
Chia added that the hotels will be managed by UMLand, in partnership with several hotel operators.
UMLand has also set up a leasing arm to operate serviced apartments, retail malls and offices.
"When we build, we will retain some properties for rental yield. And when we sell, there will be an option to lease back the properties. As a property developer, we need to diversify at one point and look at recurring income," Chia said.
In February, UMLand launched Sommerset Puteri Harbour in Iskandar comprising 204 serviced apartments worth a combined RM220 million.
The units, sold under a leaseback arrangement, will be operated by The Ascott Group of Singapore.
By Business Times