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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sime moves into premium high-end properties

KUALA LUMPUR: Sime Darby Bhd has earmarked 29.14ha near Bukit Kiara to be developed into an exclusive high-end premium residential property next year.

Dubbed “Hyde Park of Kuala Lumpur”, the yet unnamed project will comprise condominiums, bungalows and villas surrounded by greenery – a forest reserve and a 36-hole golf course. A bungalow unit there would cost a staggering RM20mil or more.

President and group chief executive Datuk Ahmad Zubir Murshid told StarBiz that the four-phase project, which would take about eight years to complete, would signify Sime Darby's bold move into the very high-end residential property market.

“We still have not decided on the total gross development value of this project but it is safe to say that we will try to attain a high level to feature a truly five-star project under Sime Darby’s property division,” he said.

Zubir said Synergy Drive was also seeking approval from authorities to locate its new corporate headquarters in the area, which will blend nicely with the group’s sustainable development tagline.

The Sime Darby group has a good reputation as a township developer in the Klang Valley.

Townships completed by the group include Sime UEP Subang Jaya, Putra Heights, Ara Damansara, Bukit Jelutong, Bukit Subang and Denai Alam.

Zubir said: “The merger has provided us with potential land-bank of 37,000 acres fit for property projects.”

Given its size, he said Sime Darby had the opportunity to seriously embark on community township developments compared with just “product” developments previously.

Under property, he said: “We have outlined various strategies with teams looking at high-end exclusive property projects, townships as well as brands for the overseas market.”

On another note, Zubir said Sime Darby did not intend to fully develop its land-bank within the next 10 to 15 years.

“Not all (the land-bank) will be converted into property projects. Some will remain as oil palm plantations, given the current bullish crude palm oil prices,” he added.

Zubir said Sime Darby was adopting the US-based Wal-Mart's marketing strategy to restrategise, consolidate as well as offer better concept, products, design and branding in its property business.

“Part of Wal-Mart’s expansion and increasing drive for profits was via its famous strategy of consolidation,” he added.

According to Zubir, post-listing Sime Darby's profits in the next two to three years would be driven by its plantation and property businesses.

By The Star (by

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