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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

HK property magnate key player in Land & General

HONG Kong property magnate, Tan Sri David Chiu, aims to give a lift to Malaysian property developer Land & General Bhd (L&G) in which he has emerged as a key player, executives familiar with his Malaysian flagship said yesterday.

Chiu, via his Malaysia Land (Mayland) Properties Sdn Bhd, is the single largest stakeholder in L&G, followed by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), the country's largest provident fund, with a 10 per cent stake.

Tan Sri Wan Azmi Wan Hamzah, who founded L&G, and is seen as a friendly party to Chiu, has a six per cent stake.

Mayland, which owns 12 per cent of L&G, is believed to have won a greater say in the company after Unioncity Enterprises Ltd, a company linked to corporate raider Datuk Ishak Ismail, disposed of 60.64 million L&G shares on September 30.

Business Times understands that Mayland is considering slowly increasing its stake in L&G in future.

Mayland officials, meanwhile, declined to say whether they were the buyers of Unioncity shares in L&G.

Chiu, who has substantial interest in Tokai Kanko Ltd which is a property developer listed on the Tokyo stock exchange, has helped build Mayland into one of the biggest developers of high-end real estate.

Mayland has developments in some of Kuala Lumpur's swankiest locations such as Sri Hartamas and Damansara.

Mayland - the developer of Dorsett Regency Hotel, Menara Hartamas and Ampangpuri - has a track record of hitting 98 per cent sales of almost all its developments, information obtained from its website showed.

It has some prime plots in Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru.

It is believed that some of the plots and properties owned by Mayland could be transferred to L&G.

"There is no immediate plan to inject Mayland into L&G for more shares as Mayland wants to build up its shareholding in the company first before considering other options," said one executive.

The source said Mayland in the immediate term plans to develop the 1,000ha belonging to L&G in the Damansara and Bukit Beruntung area into a mixed project.

"Mayland wants to be a genuine partner before looking at other options with L&G," added the executive.

Developing land in Kuala Lumpur is a speciality of the 20-year-old Mayland, which has some RM1.5 billion of fresh property related activities in the city this year.

By New Straits Times (By Sharen Kaur)

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