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Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ninety per cent of One Jelatek units sold in two hours

Offering the right product to the right people at the right place has led to One Jelatek's success

The overwhelming response to Tan & Tan Development Bhd's (TTDB) recently launched One Jelatek condominium project in Ampang suggests that there may be a new rush to buy properties on the periphery of the Kuala Lumpur City Centre.

With prices in the KLCC area skyrocketing to almost RM2,000psf in recent times, projects such as One Jelatek, located just minutes away on Jalan Jelatek and offering units at RM420psf, are generating strong appeal among buyers.

According to TTDB group marketing general manager Kevin Kuok, 90 per cent of the 90 units offered in the 20-storey low-density project were snapped up in an unprecedented record time of just two hours of its launch last week. The remaining 10 per cent are Bumiputera units.

"The Jelatek area, we believe, will be the next focal area for the city ... being not only close to KLCC, but also to Great Eastern Mall, The AmpWalk and the Gleneagles Medical Centre," he said, adding that the vicinity is also well-connected to the rest of the Klang Valley via Jalan Ampang, the Ampang Elevated Highway and two nearby Putra LRT stations.

"This area is, in fact, currently undervalued. Rising values in the city centre are bound to cause a boom there as buyers are constantly on the lookout for intelligent investment opportunities."

However, Kuok asserts that it was more than just location that led to One Jelatek's success, adding that it was the combination of providing "the right product to the right people in the right place" that made the project popular.

Offering one-, two- and threebedroom units in sizes starting from 1,327sq ft, the project targets young urbanites from the "Y generation" who have been growing in affluence and buying power.

"This is a growing market that's worth targeting... a young and affluent crowd of executives, many of whom are involved in the financial sector or are based overseas and earning in foreign currency, and they're eager to make a mark in society.

"With One Jelatek, we aim to give them a chic address, a place that reflects their identity and ambitions as well as help boost their image."

Among the condominium's unique and modern features are sky corridors and a sky deck leisure area that hosts an infinity-edge pool and glass gym, offering a bird's eye view of downtown KL.

By New Straits Times

Redefining urban culture

As developers manoeuvre for prominence in an increasingly competitive marketplace, one of the most striking plays for recognition is taking shape in housing concepts.

Areas that were shunned by developers only a decade ago have now become attractive for development as vibrant commercial enclaves with sophisticated designs, aimed at meeting the growing demand for unique neighbourhoods.

The upbeat economic environment has been instrumental in building an aspiring middle class as well as expanding the number of wealthy individuals. Builders are increasingly aware that homebuyers - even those who have never left their hometowns - are very much in tune with developments elsewhere, giving them a heightened expectation for units to suit their enhanced economic status.

Centrio's lush landscaped gardens add to its allure as a place to work, live and play

A new generation of homeowners - both locals and expatriate workers - are expressing their own ideas of what constitutes a high-quality residence that is also redefining urban culture. They seek connections to the community irrespective of their dwelling, whether it is a compact apartment or an opulent penthouse.

Emerging urban hot spots

Consequently, many developments in emerging urban hot spots are mixed-use projects integrating residential, office, retail, and leisure space within plazas, parks, and promenades.

A high quality life is increasingly associated with a natural environment in the form of access to light, idyllic views, and free flow of breeze.

The iconic design of the d7 boutique offices at Sentul East has captivated those in creative fields as well as professionals such as architects and lawyers.

The attractiveness of this lifestyle is evident in the overwhelming response to YTL Land & Development Bhd's (YTL Land) d7 boutique offices in Sentul East: 100 units were sold within 60 minutes of its pre-launch on Sept 8, 2007. Within three hours all units were gone!

The iconic design of the d7offices has captivated those in creative fields as well as professionals such as architects and lawyers who prefer them to the standard conventional shop-office property.

Set against a backdrop of cosmopolitan urban environment, the d7 commercial precinct integrates its offices with retail and food & beverage outlets nestled within a lavishly landscaped environment complete with water features and artistic sculptures.

With sizes ranging between 870sq ft and 1,500sq ft, the boutique offices are broadband- enabled, enjoy lift access, and are assured of 24-hour security. Prices start from RM380psf.

Modern downtown living

Sentul East forms part of the 294-acre urban renewal project in Sentul that has long been known as a 100- year-old former railway town. Today, the area is thriving spearheaded by YTL Land's condominium developments The Tamarind (completed in 2005) and the Saffron (due for completion in January 2008) that have attracted a new demography of young and upwardly mobile cohorts.

While Sentul East sets the pace for modern downtown living with its eclectic mix of businesses and urban housing, Sentul West is a greenery haven dotted with exclusive homes that will be served by its own precinct of shops and offices that fringe a 35-acre private gated park.

Prior to the debut of d7 in Kuala Lumpur's downtown scene, YTL Land had already tested the Small office-Home office (SoHo) living concept with its launch of Centrio at Pantai Hillpark last November. Eighty units of the SoHo suites were sold in two days, and by end of the first, 179 units or 75 per cent of the total 238 units launched. (To date, 80 per cent have been taken up.)

Lifestyle flexibility

The majority of Centrio's SoHo buyers were from the creative field and entrepreneurs who were drawn to a concept that allows them to work from a home specifically designed with lifestyle flexibility in mind.

The duplex dwellings which sit atop retail and office space feature doublevolume interiors, floor-to-ceiling doors/windows, spacious rooftop gardens, skylights, and open sundecks. They are also broadband connected and Wi-Fi enabled.

Completing the new living concept is a wide array of business and leisure amenities such as a fully-equipped business centre, shared conference rooms, a 50-metre lap pool, gymnasium, and yoga studios. They also contain plenty of parking bays. Security features include a 24-hour multi-tiered security and surveillance system manned by security guards and supported by state-ofthe- art equipment.

The 306-unit Centrio is the sole commercial precinct on a 3.8-acre site within Pantai Hillpark. Priced from RM280psf, SoHo suites, which make up 238 units, have floor areas ranging from 623sq ft to 1,361sq ft.

Of the remaining, 24 units are office suites with private pantries and bathrooms with built-up areas of between 440sq ft and 2,641sq ft; 23 units are duplex boutique garden offices with built-up areas ranging from 920sq ft to 1,469sq ft; and 21 retail units between 661sq ft and 2,821sq ft.

Both d7 and Centrio reflect inventive combinations of "work, live, and play" to create enterprising places with unlimited lifestyle choices that have struck a chord with many homebuyers.

Lim Lay Ying is managing director of Research Inc (Asia), specialising in market research and consultancy for all facets of real estate development. Access past articles, and more, at Contact: 03-2092 4966.

By New Straits Times (By Lim Lay Ying)

Mida magic returns with a twist


Continuing a tradition of honouring design excelllence, this year's awards is the first organised by the country's two interior design bodies.

It will be a historic event for the fraternity of interior designers.

For the first time, the 2007 Malaysian Interior Design Awards (Mida) is being presented by the country's interior design associations, the Malaysian Society of Interior Designers (MSID) and Institut Perekabentuk Dalaman Malaysia (IPDM).


"The collaboration of MSID and IPDM makes this year's Mida very special," said MSID president Ronnie Choong, who is serving his second term. He is also concurrently council member on the International Federation of Interior Architects/ Designers (IFI).

According to Choong, the move to jointly honour winners is a positive one as it will represent a "doubling of efforts to promote designs that invariably lead to setting higher standards as more design entries are received".

"With the (MSID) Interior Design Awards (IDA) being incorporated as Mida (previously hosted by IPDM alone), we will not be hosting IDA anymore," he said, adding that Mida would set the benchmark for the best design entries for the industry at large.

This view is shared by IPDM president Hussein Hamzah, who believes events such as Mida are needed to make a success of the impending union of the two institutes to represent interior design professionals in the country.

"Rather than have the industry split in two, I'm all for unification," he said, adding that in his role as president of IPDM, he will try to finalise the details of the merger before his term is up for the year.

Hussein, who is founding president of IPDM, said the awards have become better over the years, to such an extent that "Mida has become more of a 'national award', rather than merely being reflective of an award organised by an interior design association".

Larger and grander

Past IPDM president and MIDA organising chairman Chris Yap Seng Chye said this year's theme, "Design Excellence in the 5th Decade", is to reflect the country's 50 years of independence.

IPDM and MSID are not only co-organising Mida, but will also co-host the annual dinner on Nov 7 that will demonstrate a show of unity among interior designers, he said.

Additionally, with the interior design profession being legislated from this year onwards, the combined event is being held to emphasise the significance of the profession, he added.

With the exception of the student category, Mida will only be open to MSID and IPDM members, to highlight the high level of quality demonstrated by professional interior designers, said Yap.

The Mida committee members, who include IPDM secretary Monie Mohariff, MSID council members Associate Prof Mohd Ali Yusop and Associate Prof Hilmiah Ismail, have also made an allocation for lower cost projects.

"In the past no reference was made to project cost, though higher budget projects were favoured to win... this isn't fair to lower valued projects that may also have the potential to win. So we decided to increase in terms of construction costs," he said.

Projects costing below RM120psf nett and those above this level will be judged in two separate categories Yap said, adding that it will apply to the residential, retail and exhibition cateogries.

Given that many developers have come up with impressive show units showcasing emerging lifestyle trends, the organising committee saw it fit to introduce a new category for show units.

"We thought it would only be appropriate to have this category, which also recognises the fact that developers have also assisted in the development of the interior design profession," he said.

A special category for students to showcase their work was also included.

"This will motivate them to explore interior design further while instilling confidence in their skills," added Yap.

By New Straits Times (By Yvonne Yoong)

Sunrise aligns its marque

The 50-year-old Dornbracht name is expecting an eight per cent annual growth on the back of greater worldwide appreciation for premium products, says Andreas (inset)

Dornbracht. Villeroy & Boch. Zeyko. While these names might sound alien to most of us, they certainly are not to those accustomed to fine living. And even less to owners of the high-end luxury condominiums in Kuala Lumpur's Mont' Kiara Integrated Global Village.

In fact, since 2000, the first two aforementioned brands have been incorporated as standard specifications in their homes, used in projects such as the 230-unit Mont' Kiara Damai, 345-unit Mont' Kiara Aman and 336-unit Eleven @ Mont' Kiara.

Dornbracht is regarded as a world market leader in faucet and accessories as is Villeroy & Boch (V&B), which since 1748 has been producing sanitary ware, tableware and ceramic tiles.

To give an understanding of the prestige value and commitment to quality of both brands, their sole distributor for Malaysia, GC Building Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd (GCBT) together with developer of Mont' Kiara, publiclisted Sunrise Bhd, recently flew selected members of the media and some of its purchasers to Germany to visit their factories.

Although a worldwide brand and with a 2006 turnover of 193 million (RM930 million), the Dornbracht factory in the city of Iserlohn, some 220km north of Frankfurt, is the company's only manufacturing facility, producing taps for bathrooms and kitchens that dispense what it describes as "the spirit of water".


"All our products are 100 per cent made here in Germany," said Andreas Dornbracht, grandson of Aloys F. Dornbracht who founded the family-owned company 50 years ago.

"This is to ensure every item that carries our logo is made to the highest standards."

With 800 employees, he pointed out that the company has today moved up the ranks and is the "leader in the premium segment of the faucet and accessories industry", with an annual turnover constituting a third of the total global value.

"We're not looking to make fashion statements, but products with long-lasting aesthetics and timeless appeal," said Andreas.

"Good style never goes out of fashion."

Dornbracht's products are specified in many five- and sixstar hotels around the world including the opulent Burj Dubai Hotel, and have been garlanded with a host of accolades such as the Good Design Award in 2001 by the Chicago Athenaeum of the United States and the Asia Pacific Brand Laureatte Award in 2006.

Because Sunrise recognises that the bathroom is one space where good and lasting impressions must be made, it has also specified made-in-Germany V&B sanitary ware in some of its projects.

Based in the hamlet of Mettlach, some 340km southwest of Iserlohn, this label with a 260-year heritage manufactures some 12 full design collections comprising water closets, wash basins, bidets and bathtubs.

Of the group's 2006 turnover of 963 million (RM4.62 billion), more than 489 million (RM2.35 billion) or 50 per cent was generated by the division it calls "bathroom and wellness".

It does not fear erosion of future sales despite the opening of China, which has lowered manufacturing costs and shut down operations in many countries.

In fact, V&B said it is still seeing "high growth potential" even in China, where the company is "consistently strengthening its position".

"Our share of foreign business has risen 71 per cent during the last 10 years," it said. Lultwin Gisbert von Boch- Galthau, former chairman of V&B and direct descendant of the Villeroy-Boch family who met the Malaysian contingent at the company's Saareck Castle guesthouse, explained that the growth is coming through the company's focus on creating concepts, not products.

"Creativity is our forte," he said, adding that the success the company is enjoying is possible because of the marque's rich history, reputation, artistry and significance.

Another German label carried by GCBT that Sunrise is considering aligning itself to is Zeyko, a relatively young manufacturer of high-end kitchens.

Although still at the contemplative stage, the 37-year-old company with a turnover of 21 million (RM101 million) has attributes such as attention to detail and innovative designs that could see its kitchen systems being installed in future Sunrise projects.

Already, through GCBT, they can be found in the other super-luxury Duta Villa project in KL�s Bukit Tunku enclave.

Situated in Monchweiler in the famed German Black Forest 270km from Mettlach, the company describes itself as being different from others as it "uses a high percentage of handcraft which guarantees unique pieces of furniture and the very best finish".

Sunrise's Mont' Kiara project has evolved over the past 18 years to become a soughtafter address by both affluent locals and expatriates who collectively make up a daytime population of 15,000.

Winner of both local and international awards for its development efforts, its current mission is to build on its name in order to move to drive the brand to greater heights.

Among the ways it intends to do this is by "walking the talk" and aligning itself with internationally recognised and respected labels known for their "culture, design innovations and firm commitment to quality".

By New Straits Times (By Andrew Wong)

Oh, for the peace of Shah Alam


Getting claustrophobic about living in the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur's prime areas? Then head westward to Shah Alam for some relief: Taman Seri Kandis and Phase 4B of Bukit Bandaraya may just provide the solution.

Space and style are what the two developments by Kumpulan Lebar Daun (KLD) have to offer. Located in Section 36, Taman Seri Kandis will only have 57 double-storey terraces on 4.75 acres of freehold land.

"Buyers can get houses with bigger land areas in Shah Alam, and at a reasonable price too. We are offering units from RM269,999 for the 20ft by 103ft lots, to a maximum of RM456,999," KLD executive director Noorazhar Muhd Nurdin said at their launch recently.

The company's other project, Phase 4B of Bukit Bandaraya, will be built on 6.29 acres of leasehold land in Section U11, with 69 units of double-storey terraces called Marinha and 19 called Marica.

They will come in dimensions of 20ft by 70ft, with the Marinha homes featuring a built-up area of 2,139sq ft and Marica, 1,789sq ft. Both will have four bedrooms and three bathrooms.

Prices for Marinha range from RM295,000 to RM319,000 and Marica from RM362,626 to RM532,369.

Developed by KLD's wholly owned Lebar Daun Development Sdn Bhd, the RM15.9 million Taman Seri Kandis will be completed by October 2009 and the RM30 million Phase 4B of Bukit Bandaraya two months later.

Work on both projects started recently.

"We are confident of good sales," Noorazhar said, adding that 20 per cent of the units in the two projects have been taken up.

Besides several "mamak" restaurants, the other amenities available in the area include convenience stores, boutiques, food stores, banks, recreational facilities, shopping malls and hypermarkets.

KLD's other projects in Shah Alam, include the 163-acre D'Kayangan and 297-acre Bukit Bandaraya adjacent to the Bukit Seri Cahaya Agricultural Park, have a total gross development value of RM2.8 billion.

These two are mixed developments in Section 13 and Section U11, which are currently 40 per cent completed. D'Kayangan is expected to be completed by 2014 while Bukit Bandaraya in the next seven years.

KLD has a landbank of close to 1,000 acres around the Klang Valley, 60 per cent of it still unutilised. It is also planning a triple-tower business centre and a mixed development in Section U10.

By New Straits Times (By Zuhaila Sedek)

S.P. Setia's Liew is Property Man of the Year


The "Property Man of the Year 2007", presented by the Malaysian chapter of the International Real Estate Federation (Fiabci), went to S.P. Setia Bhd managing director and chief executive officer Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin.

Liew received the award from the Sultan of Selangor, His Royal Highness Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah ibni Sultan Salahuddin, who was guest-of-honour at Fiabci Malaysia's annual awards ceremony in Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya, last Saturday.

This is the 15th year of the Malaysia Property Awards, which attracted more than 50 entries in various categories this time around.

The other winners are:

- YTL Land & Development Bhd for the Sentul West and Sentul East master plan, in the Master Plan category;

- Beneton Properties Sdn Bhd for Stonor Park in the Residential Development (Highrise) category;

- Leisure Farm Corp Sdn Bhd for Pinggiran Bayou Village in the Residential Development (Lowrise) category;

- Resorts World Bhd for Genting Highlands Resort in the Resort Development category;

- Y.S. Tang Holdings Sdn Bhd for KB Mall in the Retail Development category;

- Laurent Lim Architect for the Sultan Abdul Aziz Royal Gallery under the Specialised Project category;

- Persada Johor International Convention Centre for the convention centre of the same name in Johor Baru, under the Specialised Project category; and

- YTL Corp Bhd for the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, under the Special Award for National Contribution category.

The citation for Liew said "dedicated employees and execution power were the twin driving forces" that spearheaded the transformation of S.P. Setia from a RM200 million company in 1998 into the largest developer today, with market capitalisation in excess of RM5 billion.

Malaysia Property Award winners get to vie for the prestigious Prix d'Excellence, awarded by the Paris-based Fiabci.

Four of last year's winners were recently awarded the Prix d'Excellence. They are Setia Eco Park in the Master Plan Development category; Cyberjaya in the Office/Industrial category; the Hilton Hotel for Hotel Development category and 1 Utama Shopping Centre for the Retail Development category.

By New Straits Times

ParkVilles Townhouses expected to sell well

By The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Bukit Hitam Development Sdn Bhd, the township developer of Bukit Puchong, is confident of good sales for its latest garden-themed homes, ParkVilles Townhouses.

The sales are expected to be spurred by the success of Ametis Terraces, as well as the burgeoning growth of the Puchong property scene.

General manager Lim Jee Kong said the take-up rate for the company’s Ametis Terraces had been encouraging as Bukit Hitam was moving towards high-end developments.

He attributed the achievement to the township’s location in Klang Valley’s third growth triangle – encompassing KL International Airport, WestPort and Kuala Lumpur – and discerning homeowners.

“Investing in ParkVilles Townhouses allows buyers to own a piece of reasonably priced freehold property in a thriving, well-planned integrated township, which upon completion, will be equipped with high quality finishes and full-fledged amenities of modern city living,” he said in a statement yesterday.

An artist’s impression of ParkVilles Townhouses

ParkVilles Townhouses is a 16-acre gated development comprising three-storey townhouses and a park that offers homeowners the elegance of Australasian evergreens. The developer has also appointed renowned landscape architect Yap Nga Tuan for landscaping design.

The project, which has a gross development value of RM85mil, is scheduled for completion by October 2010.

Prices for the intermediate units range from RM218,888 to RM223,888.

RM577m offer for Glomac Tower

By The Star

PETALING JAYA: Glomac Bhd’s joint venture (JV) company Glomac Al Batha Sdn Bhd received an attractive offer price of RM577mil for its 40-storey Glomac Tower next to Petronas Twin Towers, said AmResearch.

“An earnest deposit of 2% of the purchase consideration has been paid by Prestige Scale Sdn Bhd,” it said, adding that the company’s details were not disclosed.

The building, on which construction will start next year, sits on a 57,025 sq ft piece of land Glomac bought in November last year for RM1,000 per sq ft (psf), it said.

According to the report, the plot ratio obtained by Glomac was 12 times, hence using an efficiency ratio of 75%, the average selling price for Glomac Tower worked out to be circa RM1,120 psf, noting that this was a new benchmark for office space.

Analysts believe that the sale would have a positive impact on Glomac, seeing that it would free some working capital for Glomac, given the potentially high development cost, and the attractive selling price of around RM1,000 psf when there is no guarantee that the buoyant office cycle would hold up when the building is completed by 2011.

Assuming the rental cycle for prime office space in Golden Triangle holds at RM7 psf and a service charge of RM1.50 psf, the capital rate is circa 7%, said AmResearch.

Glomac Al Batha Sdn Bhd is a 51%: 49% JV between Glomac and Al Batha Group from United Arab Emirates. It was set up to jointly develop Glomac Tower, AmResearch said.

However, the research house is retaining its “hold” recommendation on Glomac with an unchanged target price of RM1.46, based on 15% discount to its net asset value estimates.

Meanwhile, another research house said the sale of Glomac Tower at RM577mil, which would be completed by year-end, is 15% higher than the research house’s projected gross development value (GDV) of RM500mil, although it was 4% lower than the management’s target GDV of RM600mil.

It added that the variance was largely due to the research house’s conservative assumptions on the project’s plot ratio of 10, compared with Glomac’s targeted 13.

The research house is maintaining its market perform rating on the stock.

Based on Bloomberg consensus, TA Securities Holdings Bhd and ECM Libra Avenue Bhd have a “buy” call on the counter, with a target price of RM2.10 and RM2.00 respectively.

The stock closed 3 sen higher at RM1.44 yesterday. - by Shannen Wong

Mah Sing: Demand for houses in JB to rise

By The Star

JOHOR BARU: Mah Sing Group Bhd sees a boost in the demand for houses here with the implementation of the Iskandar Development Region and Singapore’s Sentosa Integrated Resorts projects.

“The population in Johor Baru will definitely increase due to the rise in job opportunities within the regions,” chief operating officer Ng Heng Phai said.

In view of this, the housing developer’s third project in Johor – the Sierra Perdana – was launched early this year.

Ng Heng Phai

Sierra Perdana, located in the Tebrau-Plentong area, was an ideal place to live for those working in the region, Ng told a press conference on Thursday.

The township was 18km from Johor Baru, 12km from the North-South Expressway and 35km from Senai airport, he said, adding that the township of modern and adventure living was targeted at buyers aged between 20 and 30.

He said a safari adventure park would be constructed linearly across the township to provide more greenery.

“Statues of animals such as elephants and giraffes will be placed along the paths to create a safari-like atmosphere,” Ng said.

Located on a 261-acre site, Sierra Perdana is a medium-range mixed-residential and commercial project with an estimated gross development value of RM526mil. It will comprise at least 3,589 residential units and 1,139 commercial units when fully developed.

Ng said the first batch of buyers could expect to receive their keys by mid-2008.

He said the group would also be launching its double-storey semi-detached homes, double-storey terrace homes and double-storey shoplots next year. The houses will be priced from RM178,000 to RM340,000.

Ng said the company had also launched a nationwide reward programme – the Mah Sing Treasure Blitz – in which house buyers stand a chance to win a bungalow worth RM800,000 and a business suite in Austin Centre Point worth RM88,000.

Ng said prizes worth a total of RM2mil would be given away. - by Ng Heng Phai

Higher GDV for Indon project of Landmarks

By The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Landmarks Bhd expects the gross development value (GDV) of its proposed Bintan Treasure Bay project on Bintan Island, Indonesia to exceed its original estimate of RM4.07bil.

According to chief operating officer Lim Boon Soon, the master plan for the development, which was supposed to be announced by year's end, was being fine-tuned to ensure better yields.

“We expect the GDV to be substantially more than RM4.07bil and we will announce this by the first quarter of next year,” he told reporters after the company's EGM yesterday.

In May, Landmarks unit of Primary Gateway Sdn Bhd paid RM350.5mil for a 64.5% stake in Bintan Treasure Bay Pte Ltd (BTB). BTB is an investment holding company that owns 338ha of leasehold land via indirect subsidiary, PT Pelangi Bintan Indah.

Lim Boon Soon

The company subsequently increased its stake in BTB to 74%, paying RM53.3mil for the additional stake.

“We would like to increase the shareholding in BTB if minority shareholders are interested in selling,” Lim said.

The project, which should be fully developed in eight years, will comprise about 13 lots of estate island villas, 745 luxury island and deluxe villas with berthing facilities, 1,700 marina and hillside condominium units, 220 commercial shoplots, four hotels and one six-star resort and wellness centre.

“We are looking to increase the number of condominium units and the size of saleable land, which may be sold in parcels,” Lim said.

In a move to free its resources and fully focus on its core operations, Landmarks – which has been divesting its core assets like Sungei Wang Plaza and its 26.6% stake in hotel operator Shangri-La Hotels (Malaysia) Bhd – intends to keep its fully-owned Andaman Resort in Langkawi.

“Given the right price, we would dispose of our 20% stake in Tenaga Perlis Consortium Sdn Bhd, which operates a 650-MW power plant in Perlis,” he said.

Asked for an update on the speculated casino development in Bintan, Lim said the company was just studying the possibility of obtaining a licence from the Indon government. - by

KSL increasing landbank outside Johor

By The Star

PETALING JAYA: KSL Holdings Bhd, a developer with projects in Johor, is beefing up its landbank outside the state, which is expected to boost its earnings next year.

TA Securities in a research report said KSL had acquired about 500 acres near Bandar Bukit Tinggi in Klang. According to sources, at RM8 to RM8.50 psf, the purchase cost is well below the market price.

The group was planning a mixed development township there to replicate its success in Johor. “Based on our experience, it would take at least nine months before the first launch, hence we can expect the maiden contribution (from the project) to be in by fourth quarter 2008 or early 2009,” said the report.

According to the research outfit, this development is set to be the company's next earnings driver in the longer term.

“KSL is also poised to benefit from the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) with its cheaply acquired sizeable landbank of more than 1,100 acres strategically located in the IDR area and the Johor Baru City Centre,” the report said.

“Based on our recent talk with the management, the gross development value of its IDR project of more than RM2.5bil is expected to keep the company busy for the next five years.” It said the company's sales and earnings for the remaining year would continue to be from its flagship developments in Johor, namely Taman Bestari Indah, Taman Nusa Bestari, Taman Kempas Indah and Maharani Rivera.

“Its long-term lease of the RM20mil mini-complex in Maharani Rivera with Giant Hypermarket (effective July) is expected to generate a stable recurring income of RM4mil per annum, offering a fairly attractive rental yield of 20%.''

TA Securities has maintained a “buy” call on the counter with a target price of RM2.75. KSL closed yesterday at RM2.17, up 8 sen, on volume of 298,900 shares. -

Magna Prima buys 4ha of KL land for development

By The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Magna Prima Bhd yesterday sealed a deal to acquire 4.09 hectares of prime land along Jalan Kuching here for a mixed development project with a gross development value of about RM730mil.

The project is anticipated to kick off and launch for sales within the next six months with completion targeted for 2010, Magna Prima said in a statement.

Magna Prima will fully undertake the project, which will feature 20 units of three-storey shops; two blocks of 200 signature offices; one block of 15-storey offices; a hypermarket on the lower ground and ground floors; five levels dedicated to retail shops, departmentstores, a cineplex and bowling centre; two blocks of 800 service apartments and three levels of underground parking with about 5,000 bays.

The total gross development floor area is estimated to be 3.187 million sq ft, excluding the parking area.

“The acquisition of this land is in line with Magna Prima’s business model, which is purchasing land with development order for fast turnaround time,” executive director and chief executive officer Lim Ching Choy said.

“This development carries numerous potential and business opportunities, especially since it is located in a high density and established area with a high population,” he said. – Bernama

City of pictures

By New Straits Times

Thousands thronged ’Canon City’, the exhibition put up by the camera company recently to showcase and educate the public on its latest products. NOEL ACHARIAM got the picture.

Lifestyle zone: visitors testing out the new SLR digital cameras

Marketing Malaysia in conjunction with its 20th anniversary launched its first expo in eight years at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) last Tuesday. It was a celebration like no other. There were door gifts, lucky draws and souvenirs. And the highlight of the celebration was the ribbon cutting ceremony by Hong Kong Superstar Simon Yam.

“We were expecting about 20,000 visitors by the end of the three-day event,” said Richard Yeow, senior director and general manager of Business Imaging Solution and Corporate Strategic Marketing divisions.

“We built “Canon City” at the exhibition to allow the public to view the technology Canon had to offer,” said Yeow.

I was amazed to find that Canon had such a huge range of products from copiers to scanners, printers and other office equipment. I only knew that Canon was a successful digital camera maker, but had no idea of the company’s scope or their R&D efforts.
“Canon not only produces great quality cameras but also other multimedia products for both the layman and the corporate sector,” said Yeow.

Thousands of visitors thronged Hall 2 of the KLCC in search of bargains and to keep up to date with the latest accessories and products. Every 1,000 visitor got the chance to win a digital camera. There were also seminars held every half hour on such subjects as how to take a great picture using a compact camera, and electronic document filing and retrieval systems.

The entrance to the expo was built to represent a garden with park benches, a water fountain and floral decorations.

Other sections at the expo were City Hall, City at Work, Lifestyle Zone, Commercial Zone, Hall of Fame, Specialist Centre, Human Capital, Canon Mall, Creative Park and Business Precinct.

The Specialist Centre were where visitors could get their cameras cleaned for free. The Human Capital area focused on marketing career opportunities with Canon. The Lifestyle Zone showcased a wide range of Canon SLR digital cameras which visitors could try out. There were also game booths at the far end of hall.

At the Creative Park, children were taught origami from Canon’s interactive website, There were also free downloads of calendars, scrapbooks, 3-D paper art, greetings and a digital photo library from the website.

The best part of the exhibition was at the game booth “Spin the Wheel”, where one got the chance to walk away with a brand new Canon A460 digital camera. Other prizes were discounts that ranged from 30 to 50 per cent for all Canon products.

The Hall of Fame was interesting too. Here you got to see the first Canon camera ever built. The Kwanon (prototype version) is Japan’s first 35mm focal plane shutter camera, built in 1934. Also on display was Canon’s first photocopier and 10-digit calculator. The Kwanon camera is now worth more than RM100,000.

“At Canon our motto is ‘Delighting you always’ and that is what we want you to feel when you walk away with any of our products,” said Yeow.

For more information, call Canon Malaysia at 03-7844-6000, fax 603-784-5050 or visit its website at


Country Heights in property sale talks

By New Straits Times

The earliest possible date to conclude the sales of Malaysia International Exhibition and Convention Centre, and the Mines Waterfront Business Park is June 2008, a source says

COUNTRY Heights Holdings Bhd (CHHB) is in talks with several local and foreign parties for the disposal of two remaining components identified for sale, to help the company bounce back to profitability.

CHHB had identified three properties to sell that will wipe out its debt - the Mines Shopping Fair, Malaysia International Exhibition and Convention Centre (MIECC) and the Mines Waterfront Business Park.

In August, the Mines Shopping Fair was sold to Singapore's CapitaLand Ltd for RM432 million, from which CHHB will make an estimated gain of RM102 million.

This single sale has helped improve gearing to 0.6 times from 1.5 times and reduced interest rate on loans by half from RM50 million annually.

"Serious efforts are being made to really bring down gearing to a minimal level," a source told Business Times.

"CHHB has been receiving enquiries and offers from time to time for the exhibition centre and the business park. The earliest possible date when the deals are likely to be concluded is June 2008," the source added.

In June, the company announced that it plans to dispose of assets with an estimated market value of RM800 million to help wipe out debts and reverse its losses for the year ending December 31 2008.

Based on a valuation done four years ago, the net book value of Mines Waterfront is RM100.68 million and MIECC RM211.57 million.

However, it is believed that CHHB is seeking at least RM250 million for the MIECC and RM100 million on the first phase of the Waterfront Business Park.

"If they are able to fetch this amount or more, they will be able to bring their gearing level to zero," the source said.

The three properties, held by East Vision Leisure Group Sdn Bhd, have been pledged as security for a RM489 million loan.

CHHB managing director Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew has said that both the shopping centre and business park are profitable but the exhibition centre is not.

Lee wants to expedite the sales as its total debt as at end of March was RM838 million or 1.5 times its shareholders' equity of RM566 million.

Over the past 10 years, CHHB has paid over RM50 million just on interest from its borrowings. Last year, it made a group net loss of RM32.69 million on the back of RM213.17 million in revenue.

For the half-year ended June 30 2007, CHHB made RM200,000 in profit on the back of RM120.32 million in revenue. This compares to a net loss of RM19.99 million and a revenue of RM98.36 million in the previous corresponding period.

Magna Prima buys land in KL for RM58m

By New Straits Times

MAGNA Prima Bhd, a property developer, has agreed to buy two pieces of land in Kuala Lumpur for some RM58 million from Muafakat Baru Sdn Bhd.

It plans to build properties worth some RM730 million on the 4.1ha of land located next to Jalan Kuching and the intersection between Jalan Kuching, Jalan Ipoh and Jalan Kepong.

It will use internal funds or borrowings to pay for the land, which already has a development order from City Hall. Magna Prima will build a shopping mall and two blocks of service apartments, among others, it said in a statement to Bursa Malaysia yesterday.

Landmarks eyes RM4b yield from Bintan project

By New Straits Times

Meanwhile, the property developer denies that it would get a gaming licence for the Bintan resorts

PROPERTY developer Landmarks Bhd expects the gross development value (GDV) to be derived from its integrated project in Bintan Island, Indonesia, to be more than RM4 billion.

Chief operating officer Lim Boon Soon said the masterplan for the project was currently being fine-tuned in order to look into the possibility of increasing yield.

"We will be finalising the numbers and the plan, hopefully by the first quarter of next year," he told reporters after the company's extraordinary meeting in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Lim said there was a slight delay in the finalisation of the plan due to the possibility of increasing the GDV.

"We are looking at all things, including the number of condominiums, the kind of property and the size of saleable land at the place," he said.

Lim denied that Landmarks would get a gaming licence for the Bintan resorts.

"It is a rumour. There is nothing on the table for us yet," he said.

The Bintan project, with a GDV of RM4.07 billion, would include a lifestyle hotel and resort, plus residential and commercial development.

Landmarks will invest RM408 million to acquire 74 per cent interest in Bintan Treasure Pte Ltd, which is developing the project.

Bintan Island is increasingly being shaped as a cheaper holiday destination than Singapore, where land price has escalated due to the building of two multi-million integrated resorts in Marina Bay and Sentosa Island. - Bernama

TAHPS property launches to breach RM200m

By New Straits Times

The developer is repositioning itself from the middle range to mid- to high-end property segments

TAHPS Group Bhd's property launches in fiscal 2008 will breach the RM200 million mark, amid an image makeover to capitalise on untapped market segments.

A real estate foray abroad is also on the cards for TAHPS, developer of the RM3 billion "Bukit Puchong" township on 516ha of freehold land in Puchong, Selangor.

It has, so far this year to March 2008, unveiled within the half-completed township, phase two of its "Nilam Puri" high-rise homes with a gross development value of RM42 million, and the RM46 million "Ametis Terraces".

Upcoming launches include the RM85 milllion first phase of the "Parkville" townhouses which will be launched today and some RM50 million worth of luxury semi-detached units, and bungalows in February 2008.

"We are repositioning ourselves from the middle range, to mid- to high-end property segments," said C.Y. Ng, marketing manager for Bukit Hitam Development Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned unit of TAHPS.

"Demand for townhouses here (Puchong) is good because it will fill a void in the market place," Ng added.

Bukit Puchong, built on a former plantation land, was initiated in 1994. It is due for completion by 2015 with a planned estimated 10,000 residential and commercial units.

Besides land in Puchong, TAHPS also has some 400ha of potential development sites in the form of yet-to-be-converted plantation tracts in Raub, Pahang.

The combined 916ha is expected to keep the home builder busy for up to the next ten years.

Main board-listed TAHPS, formerly known as The Ayer Hitam Planting Syndicate Bhd, also plans to build and run a hotel and beach resort in Cherating, Pahang, according to its filings to the bourse.

Meanwhile, Bukit Hitam general manager Lim Jee Kong said TAHPS has received overseas real estate job proposals, with potential undertakings in Vietnam and Australia.

"We are studying the proposals," said Lim. Property development constitutes 82 per cent of TAHPS revenue, he added.

Net profit in the first quarter to June 2007 dropped 30 per cent to RM3 million, or 3.96 sen a share, while revenue declined 26 per cent to RM17.9 million.

Shares of TAHPS which were untraded yesterday, last changed hands at RM3.98 onWednesday for a market capitalisation of RM297.2 million.

The stock has gained three per cent this year, underperforming the benchmark index's 27 per cent rise.

SunCity expects 50pc revenue jump from hospitality ops

By New Straits Times

For July 1 2008 to June 30 2009 period, the developer expects hospitality to bring in RM253 million in revenue

SUNWAY City Bhd (SunCity), a developer that also owns and operates hotels, expects revenue from its hospitality business to jump 50 per cent by the end of fiscal 2009 as it lures more visitors and raises rates.

It now owns and operates five Sunway hotels and manages four Allson hotels. However, the revenue growth does not take into account four new hotel management contracts that start in 2008 and 2009.

"For the July 1 2007 to June 30 2008 period, we are expecting revenue to be RM210 million and for the June 30 2009, we expect hospitality to bring in RM253 million in revenue. This is about a 19 per cent growth," managing director of Allson International Hotels & Resorts, Jean-Jacques Kiefer said.

SunCity's hospitality segment made RM166.73 million in revenue in fiscal 2007, which is about 15 per cent of the group's total.

The Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa is leader of the pack, making up half of the division' revenue. It is due to provide better quality after completing an ongoing RM80 million upgrade.

This hotel, which has an average room rate (ARR) of RM285 a night and an occupancy of 80 per cent, expects ARR to touch RM330 a night and average occupancy of 85 per cent in June 2008.

"On average, all our hotels deliver a gross operating profit (GOP) of 40 per cent," SunCity's managing director of property investment Ngeow Voon Yean said.

GOP is the cost of doing business or gross revenue (from rooms, food and beverage, laundry or business centre) minus the cost of operations (wages, electricity and amenities).

Other hotels under the group are Sunway Hotel Georgetown in Penang, Sunway Hotel Seberang Jaya in Prai, Sunway Hotel Phnom Penh in Cambodia and Sunway Hotel Vietnam.

The hotels that SunCity manages include Allson Residence Jakarta, Allson Hotel Singapore, Klana Resort Bandar Baru Nilai and Allson Klana Resort Singapore.

Meanwhile, it is likely to win two management contracts each in Malaysia and abroad in 2008 and 2009.

"In Malaysia, we are close to signing a management contract to operate a four-star hotel in Klang and Kuala Lumpur. Both are going to be built, and each of the hotels have over 200 rooms," Ngeow said, adding that the hotels will carry the Allson brand.

Similarly, it expects to take over the management contracts of two existing hotels in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Ngeow said it will start operating the existing hotels in 2008, while the two hotels in Malaysia will be ready in 2009.

"We are also looking for hotels where we already have a footing. We are looking aggressively in Cambodia and Vietnam," Ngeow said, adding that one of the negotiations is for a hotel in Vietnam.