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Friday, October 26, 2007

Mah Sing plans to go green, seeks more land

By New Straits Times

PROPERTY developer Mah Sing Group Bhd plans to add energy-efficient homes into its portfolio, and buy more land to grow earnings.

Plans are also taking shape to venture into Sabah and Sarawak where Kuala Lumpur-based Mah Sing plans to replicate its existing projects.

"We would like to go green, for instance, solar energy," Mah Sing group managing director Datuk Leong Hoy Kum said after the company's shareholders meeting yesterday.

Talks are on-going between Mah Sing and Japanese solar-energy equipment makers like Hitachi and Sharp, said Leong, without specifying when the optional features will be added into its future offerings.

Early birds in the Malaysian solar-power home fraternity include SP Setia Bhd and Putrajaya Perdana Bhd.

Local real estate builders' energy-conservation efforts come at a time when global oil prices have substantially risen, thus, rendering hydrocarbon-fuel uneconomical in electricity generation.

Meanwhile, Leong said Mah Sing would like to build an estimated 200ha township within a strategic 1,200ha tract in Sungai Buloh where the Rubber Research Institute sits.

"That (200 ha) is the optimum size we can value add," said Leong. The 1,200 ha land near Petaling Jaya's Bandar Utama, and Kota Damansara enclaves, is up for sale.

In Sabah and Sarawak, it hopes to gain a foothold in Kota Kinabalu and Kuching, where the developer intends to collaborate with private landowners and local authorities.

The firm's expansion there coincides with its planned initial overseas real estate ventures, where Vietnam has been identified as its first stop.

Mah Sing, also a plastic products maker, saw its net profit rose 22 per cent to RM38.3 million, or 8.1 sen a share in the first half to June 2007, while revenue added 18 per cent to RM286.1 million.

Shares of Mah Sing dropped two per cent or four sen yesterday, valuing the firm at RM1.03 billion.

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