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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

2nd Asian BioManufacturing Conference 2007

The conference will address scientific / technical matters such as expression systems, upstream and downstream processing, bio-product characterisation, formulation, fill & finishing of biologics and other key drivers, ancillary and supporting issues which are important for the biomanufacturing industry.

Venue: Sheraton Imperial Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Date: 3 - 4 December 2007
Tel: +606-799 6661
Fax: +606-799 7615

Please visit the website for more information

PC FAIR 2007 - Malaysia Largest ICT Fair

Malaysia Largest ICT Fair is back with even more irresistible gadgets !

The place to find your most-wanted tech products and great deals in town.

Call PIKOM at 03-7955 2922 or email for updates.

See you there!
Admission: FREE
Time: 11am - 9pm
Date: 30 Nov - 2 Dec 2007
> Penang International Sports Arena (PISA), Penang Island
>Sabah Trade Centre, Kota Kinabalu
>Terminal One, Seremban
>Berjaya Megamall, Kuantan

Date: 7 - 9 Dec 2007
> KL Convention Centre @KLCC
> Mahkota Parade, Melaka
> Central Square, Sungai Petani

Date: 14 -16 Dec 2007
> Persada Johor International Convention Centre, Johor Bahru
> Kemaman Centre Point, Kemaman
> Dewan 2020, Kangar
> Dewan Suarah Bintulu, Sarawak
*New Dates*

Please check the website before any changes, thank you

Central Malaysian Properties embarks on RM 2.7 billion project in IDR

It will rehabilitate Lido Beach and give JB a facelift

JOHOR BARU: Central Malaysian Properties Sdn Bhd (CMP) will develop Lido Boulevard, a RM 2.7 billion integrated waterfront city, in the Iskandar Development Region (IDR).

Managing Director Datuk Chan Tien Ghee said work on the project, located on a 49.37ha beach front site, would start in March and was expected to be completed by 2016.

The project, to be developed in phases, will stretch 2.4km along Lido Beach - from the now defunct Lot 1 shopping mall to the Harbour Master office.

"Lido Boulevard will completely rehabilitate Lido Beach and give Johor Baru a facelift," Chan said at the launch of the project by Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman yesterday.

The flagship project by CMP, a company linked to Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun, is a joint venture between CMP, the State Secretary and landowner Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor.

Touted as the "Garden City of the South", the project will include landscaped gardens, water fountains and park-like facilities.

Chan said the project would be financed via shareholders' funds and internal funding and the company would start sales early next year.

The development will consist of four main components - luxury condominiums, waterfront office suites, a hotel and a shopping mall.

There will be eight blocks of high-end condominiums of between 18 and 26 floors each, offering 914 units on a 1,052ha site.

Another eight blocks of waterfront office suites of between six and eight floors each, a 296-room hotel-cum-service residences and a three-storey waterfront retail complex are also in the plan.

Incorporated within the mall will be an international-sized ice skating rink and 32-lane bowling alley.

"One of the main attractions will be the 4,645.15 sq m Indoor Snow Park with activities like ice sliders, tobogganing and many more," Chan said.

He said RM150mil would be spent to upgrade Jalan Abu Bakar, fronting the seafront project, including widening the existing roads with flyovers and pedestrian bridges.

He said CMP would start a RM1mil trust fund, which would be administered by an independent board of trustees that would address social and environmental issues arising from the development.

By The Star (by Zazali Musa)

Another developer to be taken private?

PETALING JAYA: Trading in WCT Engineering Bhd and WCT Land Bhd shares was suspended yesterday pending an announcement, which WCT Engineering said would involve a major transaction with its 66%-owned listed property arm WCT Land.

According to analysts, WCT Engineering could be looking to privatise WCT Land or sell a stake to a group of Middle Eastern investors.

If this is a privatisation exercise, WCT Land would be the third listed property firm to be taken private this year, after Petaling Garden Bhd, which was de-listed on June 26 and Island & Peninsular Bhd, which was de-listed on July 13. Both were taken private by Government investment arm Permodalan Nasional Bhd.

Another property company, Sime UEP Properties Bhd, a listed subsidiary of Sime Darby Bhd, was injected into Synergy Drive Bhd, which is due to list on Friday.

WCT Land shares were last traded at RM2.01 and WCT Engineering shares at RM7.95.

By The Star

Mah Sing sells two properties for RM560 million

KUALA LUMPUR: Mah Sing Group Bhd has sold its two new commercial properties in Kuala Lumpur for RM560.6mil to Prompt Symphony Sdn Bhd, a 80:20 special purpose vehicle set up by Kuwait Finance House and Autron Corp Ltd to acquire the properties.

The sale of The Icon Jalan Tun Razak (East Wing) and The Icon Mont' Kiara, via wholly owned subsidiaries Star Residence Sdn Bhd and Maxim Heights Sdn Bhd, was for about RM237mil and RM285.4mil respectively, a company statement said yesterday.

The group has also signed a “put and call agreement” to sell not less than 301 parking bays in The Icon Jalan Tun Razak for RM18.15mil and 637 bays in The Icon Mont' Kiara for RM19.9mil.

“This is the first direct en bloc purchase by Kuwait Finance House in Malaysia,” the statement said.

Group managing director Datuk Seri Leong Hoy Kum said the sale was an endorsement of Mah Sing and a stamp of approval for the group's achievements in property development.

Datuk Seri Leong Hoy Kum (left) and Autron CEO Eric Lim Kheng

“In view of our branding and track record for on-time delivery, investors also have confidence in the potential and prospects that we offer in developing high value, high quality projects in strategic growth areas.

“These are the second and third sales within four months, boosting the group's commercial en bloc sales to RM734.9mil,” he said.

In July, Mah Sing sold The Icon Jalan Tun Razak (West Wing) to Koperasi Permodalan Felda for RM174.4mil.

The group's remaining gross development value (GDV) of RM3.04bil and unbilled sales of RM1.08bil represented a total GDV of RM4.12bil that will ensure earnings visibility for seven years.

Leong said Mah Sing would seek further opportunities to sell en bloc its two other commercial projects – Southgate Commercial Centre in Kuala Lumpur and Southbay City @ Southbay, Batu Maung, in Penang.

The two projects, with GDV of RM256mil and RM911mil respectively, will be launched in the first half next year.

An analyst at SJ Securities said the latest sale would bring in substantial “quick cash” to Mah Sing as Prompt Symphony would be paying 80% of the purchase price upon the signing of the sale and purchase agreement, compared with the usual payment of 10%.

He said the cash would provide working capital to the group for its expansion overseas, noting that the group was looking at Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in Vietnam.

In addition, the deal with Kuwait Finance House would open up other opportunities from the cash-rich group in the future, the analyst said.

CIMB Investment Bank analyst Terence Wong said the property sale would have substantial impact on the group's earnings, given the premium price.

Meanwhile, Mah Sing posted a 28.1% increase in net profit to RM61.8mil for the nine months ended Sept 30.

By The Star (by Shannen Wong)

Foreigners eye local buildings

There is strong take up in commercial property

The en bloc sale of Mah Sing Group Bhd’s two commercial buildings in Kuala Lumpur for RM560.6mil to Prompt Symphony Sdn Bhd, a special purpose vehicle set up by Kuwait Finance House and a unit of Singapore-based Autron Corp Ltd, shows strong foreign institutional investor interest in Malaysian commercial property.

The Icon Jalan Tun Razak (East Wing), a 17-storey Grade A office block with net lettable area of 263,435 sq ft, was sold for RM237mil, or RM969 per sq ft, while The Icon Mont’ Kiara with 27 levels of offices and a retail podium totalling 380,510 sq ft, was priced at RM285.4mil, or RM802 per sq ft.

Kuwait Finance House is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) with assets totalling 6.314 billion dinar as of Dec 31, 2006. Autron is listed on the stock exchanges of Singapore and Australia.

Before this, there had been several major transactions in the country involving foreign investors. Landmark office transactions included Macquarie Global’s purchase of Empire Tower, Crown Princess Hotel and City Square Shopping Centre in Kuala Lumpur for RM680mil, Injaz Mena Investment’s purchase of Menara ING at RM495 per sq ft and Injaz AsiaEquity’s purchase of Kenanga International at RM555 per sq ft.

Kuwait Finance House (M) Bhd (KFH) is also believed to be actively scouting for real estate investment opportunities in Malaysia. In early November, the group said it would team up with Prestige Scale Sdn Bhd to fund the RM577mil en bloc purchase of Glomac Tower in Kuala Lumpur.

The 40-storey Class A office block will be developed by Glomac Al Batha Sdn Bhd, a 51:49 joint venture between Glomac Bhd and Al Batha Group from the United Arab Emirates.

According to Zerin Properties chief executive officer Previn Singhe, foreign property funds, private equity funds and pension funds considered themselves “under exposed” to South-East Asian real estate and were looking to expand their investment exposure.

“Malaysia, with its transparent land and real estate laws, good value proposition and upside potential, stands out as a strong candidate to attract foreign funds. Many foreign investors are attracted to the country as a highly lucrative option for its well-priced property, strong economy for sustainable growth and good yields over the medium- to long-term,” Previn said.

Interest is also picking up for good retail developments, hotels and high-end residential projects, especially luxury condominiums.

International investment in the property sector is expected to grow at unprecedented levels following the Government’s liberalisation of foreign investment committee guidelines for foreign purchasers and the joint public-private sector initiatives to market Malaysia’s real estate globally.

By The Star (by Angie Ng)

E&O to merge with property arm

E&O Property minority shareholders have three options

Eastern & Oriental Bhd (E&O) has proposed to merge with its 63%-owned subsidiary E&O Property Development Bhd (E&O Prop) in a share-swap deal valued at RM609mil.

“The streamlining of E&O and E&O Prop into a single listed entity, as opposed to current two-tier listing, will provide a strengthened base for sustainable value creation and long-term growth for the entire group,'' the company said in a statement to Bursa Malaysia yesterday.

Under the scheme of arrangement submitted by AmInvestment Bank Bhd yesterday, E&O will offer E&O Prop's minority shareholders 1,100 E&O shares for every 1,000 shares held in E&O Prop.

The new E&O shares will be issued for about RM2.27 each, involving the issuance of 268.2 million new shares.

Trading in the shares in both E&O and its unit was suspended yesterday at RM2.40 and RM2.45 respectively.

The latest proposal by E&O is the Penang-based investment holding and hotel operator's second attempt in less than three years to delist its property development arm.

In May 2005, E&O made a voluntary general offer for E&O Prop, but the plan to de-list the company was rejected by minority shareholders later that year.

Other than the share-swap proposal, E&O Prop's minority shareholders are also given two other options that involve cash payments for their holdings.

“The company will make available/source for a cash pool of approximately RM213mil,'' and for the purpose “a notional amount of RM2,500 per 1,000 E&O Prop shares will be used,” E&O said.

E&O Prop's minority shareholders can also elect to receive a combination of cash and shares for their E&O Prop holding, on the basis of 715 E&O shares and RM875 cash for every 1,000 E&O Prop shares.

The total cash payment, assuming full acceptance via this method, would amount to RM213.34mil.

Full cash settlement would be offered to E&O Prop minority shareholder from the “excess cash” available after the two options, and the final amount “will be determined by the board as it may in its absolute discretion think expedient and in the best interest of the company”.

The E&O board, however, was of the view that the share-exchange offer was in the best interest of E&O Prop shareholders as it would allow the enlarged group to have a cash reserve of “over RM200mil” which it could use to expand its real estate business.

E&O Prop has appointed OSK Investment Bank as independent adviser for its minority shareholders for the proposed share swap.

Meanwhile, E&O and its property arm said in separate announcements yesterday that they had recorded improved performance for their second quarter ended Sept 30.

E&O's net profit for the three months swelled 49% to RM14.72mil against RM9.9mil a year earlier, while revenue rose to RM168.5mil from RM121.5mil.

Its net profit for the six months was RM30mil versus RM20mil previously. E&O Prop's net profit climbed 19% for the second quarter to RM24.5mil against RM20.6mil a year earlier.

The half-year net earnings shot to up RM60mil, or 9.14 sen per share, compared with RM40.9mil, or seven sen per share, in the previous corresponding period.

By The Star (By Izwan Idris)

YTL buying Singapore apartments en bloc

PETALING JAYA: YTL Corp Bhd has entered into the largest residential collective sale transaction in Singapore since the new en bloc legislations came into force on Oct 4.

According to a statement, YTL Corp was awarded the tender for the en bloc purchase of Westwood Apartments, located on Singapore's famed Orchard Boulevard, for S$435mil cash.

Group managing director Tan Sri Francis Yeoh Sock Ping said the property acquisition was YTL Corp's third in the city-state in two years.

»The acquisition is in line with our wider strategy, focusing on upscale real estate in well-established markets« TAN SRI FRANCIS YEOH

The company is currently involved in the high-end Lakefront and Sandy Island residential development projects in Sentosa Cove, which will comprise exclusive, bespoke homes.

“The acquisition is in line with our wider strategy, focusing on upscale real estate in well-established markets, which enables us to employ our branding to enhance the value of these properties,” Yeoh said in the statement.

Westwood Apartments is a condominium development on the Orchard Road shopping and entertainment belt and within easy access of several stations on Singapore's Mass Rapid Transit system.

The more than 30-year-old, 50-unit condominium block is located on about 62,179 sq ft of prime freehold land.

Its address is synonymous with some of Singapore’s top luxury residences, including the St Regis Residences, The BLVD and Four Seasons Park.

YTL Corp said apart from geographical diversification and increase in its property development land-bank portfolio in Singapore, the acquisition would enable the group to enhance its earnings potential from the high sale and rental rates expected from the renewed interest in the city-state's property sector.

In the same statement, property consultancy Savills (S) Plc managing director Michael Ng said the recent sales of well-designed properties to high net-worth individuals reflected the positive sentiments in the Singapore property market.

“For example, the Ritz-Carlton Residences was recently sold for as high as S$5,000 per sq ft, a reflection that Singapore is primed for growth in the indulgent property sector,” he added.

According to an analyst at Affin Securities, the Singapore property market had good earnings potential which would bode well for YTL Corp's latest acquisition.

By The Star (by

Foreign speakers

Foreign speakers will be sharing their knowledge and experience at next year’s Malaysian Annual Real Estate Convention (MAREC 08).

Convention chairman Siva Shanker says, “As the national institute representing real estate agents in Malaysia, we are able to bring in quality speakers from abroad.

"They will be able to impart their years of knowledge and experience to our local participants.

“We are also able to identify practitioners in these countries who are also looking to spread their wings into Malaysia.

Participants will be given information on how they can take advantage of the growing regional markets. Pic shows Singapore's Sentosa Cove.

“By introducing them to local practitioners, we hope to create the seeds of future smart partnerships. By the end of the Convention, we hope to have several requests from practitioners to facilitate these partnerships.”

While the focus of the convention, themed “Regionalising the Malaysian Market – The Reality of Getting There” is on the real estate industry, there will also be some interesting related topics.

“In order to provide a balanced learning atmosphere for the two days, we have taken pains to identify non-core related topics. One of the more interesting ones is Branding Your Way To Success,” says Siva.

“A branding expert from Singapore will give us tips and guidelines on how to successfully brand our services, our companies and ourselves.

"With the world changing at such at fast pace and the market place growing more sophisticated, practitioners will find that it is getting increasingly difficult to capture and maintain their market share.

“Without successful branding, no businessman can hope to create a sustainable business that will pay him dividends, whether the market is up or down.

“With globalisation and world economic borders disappearing, the world is becoming a smaller place. Much business is being conducted across seamless borders. This phenomenon is only expected to grow further and gather steam in the future.

“With this in mind, we have enlisted the help of a marketing guru from United States to give a broad outline of International Marketing. This topic will give us an overview on how business is conducted across borders and what role the local real estate agents can play.”

After nearly three sluggish years, the property market has started to show signs of picking up in 2007.

The growth in the property market was not limited to the Malaysian market alone. All around the region, markets began to start showing signs of increased growth. Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) to the region began to increase.

South-east Asia has in the last few years become a hot bed of development and growth. Vietnam and the Indo-China region have started to awaken. Modernisation is the flavour of the day, as these countries scramble to catch up with others in the region, after years of slow growth and political problems.

According to Siva, it is with this scenario in mind that MIEA has geared next year’s convention towards the regionalisation of the local market.

“MIEA has for the past 10 years organised conventions for its members as well as for the public. These conventions focused on the globalising effects of the economy on the Malaysian property market. Participants were given insights into how to compete in an increasingly globalised world,” says Siva.

“This time around, we intend to focus on areas closer to home, which is the regional market. This includes Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

Participants will be given first hand information on how the markets in these countries are currently performing and how they can take advantage of these growing markets.

“Opportunities also exist for practitioners who wish to make contact with counterparts in these countries with the intention of creating smart partnerships.

“We have arranged for several networking opportunities that participants can take advantage of.”

There will also be a networking welcome dinner on Friday, January 11, 2008. This is a ticketed event and tickets are currently available for sale at RM100 each.

At this dinner, participants will be able to network with fellow practitioners as well as the speakers, both local and foreign, all of whom will be invited to attend this dinner.

MAREC 08 is scheduled for January 11, 12 and 13, 2008, at the Sime Darby Convention Centre. To take advantage of discounted rates, call the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents Secretariat at 03- 7727 7477.

By The Star

HeiTech may sell HeiTech Village building

HEITECH Padu Bhd may sell its HeiTech Village building in Subang Jaya, Selangor to Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) for RM65 million. In a statement yesterday, HeiTech Padu said PNB has given the company a letter of offer to sell and lease back HeiTech Village. "The proposed disposal of HeiTech Village will enable the group to unlock capital resources from being tied up in long-term assets and allow the company to better focus on its existing business," it said.

By New Straits Times

Glomac to sign S&P for tower project early-2008

PROPERTY developer Glomac Bhd hopes to sign the sales and purchase agreement for its yet-to-be-built Glomac Tower by early next year.

"While an offer of RM577 million was made, we are only ready to receive any offers once all the approvals are in place," said Glomac group managing director Datuk Fateh Iskandar Mohamed Mansor after the official opening of supermarket Central Mart in Glomac's Sungai Buloh township, Saujana Utama.

He said the buyer was Prestige Scale Sdn Bhd, which was affiliated to the national financial institution but declined to elaborate. "We will provide more details in a month or so," he added.

On building more Central Mart supermarkets, Fateh Iskandar said Glomac aims to have the supermarket in its Johor and Rawang townships.

"In Johor, we will try to do it within the next two years because the population of 10,000 is sufficient to support the existence of Central Mart," he said.

As for Rawang, it would be another four years before a Central Mart is developed there. The estimated cost of development for each Central Mart is RM9 million.

Fateh Iskandar added that he had tied up with Trendcell Sdn Bhd to develop Central Mart.

On overseas operations, he said Glomac will complete its due dilligence on a possible development in India and make an announcement by year-end. "We are looking at a gross development value of RM800 million for a township," he said.

He added that the company would consider selling its Australian and Thai investments if Glomac received offers with a capital appreciation of 20 per cent and above.

"We bought the building in Melbourne for A$30 million (RM89.1 million) and spent A$1 million (RM2.97 million) refurbishing it. Its present yield is eight per cent compared to six per cent before the refurbishment," he said.

"In Thailand, our 600,000 sq ft warehouse is fully tenanted with a rental yield of 13 per cent."

Glomac's overseas operations are expected to contribute 15 to 20 per cent to its revenue in three to four years.

He said that Glomac has future ongoing developments of RM3.3 billion, including a 2.83-hectare commercial development known as Glomac Damansara in Kuala Lumpur.

By New Straits Times (By Jeeva Arulampalam)

AP Land ventures into Indonesia palm oil sector

Property developer Asia Pacific Land Bhd (AP Land) is entering the oil palm sector in Indonesia.

This follows the move by its subsidiary Mount Pleasure Investments Pte Ltd (MPI) to acquire PT Tunas Prima Sejahtera (TPS) of Indonesia.

AP Land has entered into a conditional share sale and purchase and subscription of new shares agreement (CSPA) with Halim Jawan and Rubiyanto to buy 95 per cent of TPS for Rp.190 million (RM68,500) cash. It will also subscribe for new shares of 49,800 shares with a total nominal value of Rp. 49.8 billion (RM18 million).

It is expecting to complete the deal in the first quarter of 2009.

Upon completion of the proposed acquisition, MPI will hold a 95 per cent equity in TPS and Halim the remaining five per cent.

TPS intends to cultivate oil palm on a 20,000-hectare land in Desa Hambau, Loa Sakoh, Genting Kutai Kartanegara in East Kalimantan.

The total land cost is estimated at US$4.7 million (RM16 million).

By New Straits Times

YTL wins bid to buy Singapore condos en bloc for RM1 billion

BUILDER and power group YTL Corp Bhd has won a tender to buy 50 condominiums en bloc in Singapore for S$435 million (RM1.01 billion) cash.

The purchase of the Westwood Apartments condominium on Singapore's Orchard Boulevard is the largest residential collective sale since the new enbloc law came into force on October 4.

En bloc or collective sales for condominiums refers to a property developer buying all the units of a condominium to re-develop it, usually by demolishing the existing units.

Group managing director Tan Sri Dr Francis Yeoh Sock Ping said the deal allows the group to diversify its landbank in Singapore and earn more from high sale and rental rates.

The group will use its existing local market knowledge, expertise and resources from its high-end Lakefront and Sandy Island residential development projects in Sentosa Cove, Singapore.

"This acquisition, our third land acquisition in Singapore in the last two years, is also in line with our wider strategy of focusing on upscale real estate in well-established markets, which enables us to employ our branding to enhance the value of these properties," Yeoh said in a statement yesterday.

He said Southeast Asia has largely untapped potential to become the Mediterranean or Caribbean of the East.

By New Straits Times

WCT Engineering to announce WCT Land deal

Shares of WCT Engineering Bhd and its property subsidiary were suspended yesterday amid speculation that the parent company may rope in a strategic partner for WCT Land Bhd.

"There is a rumour going around that WCT Engineering may pare down its stake in WCT Land to facilitate entry of strategic investors," said an analyst, who declined to be named.

Currently, WCT Engineering owns 73.42 per cent of WCT Land. Their stocks were suspended from trading effective 2.30pm yesterday.

In their filings with the stock exchange, the companies said their shares will resume trading next Monday, after WCT Engineering announces a major transaction involving WCT Land.

WCT Engineering last traded at RM7.95, while WCT Land ended the morning session at RM2.01, after rising six per cent.

By New Straits Times

Mah Sing sells two more Icons for RM560 million

Property developer Mah Sing Group Bhd has sealed a deal to sell two commercial properties in Kuala Lumpur to Kuwait Finance House (KFH) and Autron Corp Ltd for RM560 million.

The two buildings are the second and third en bloc sales for Mah Sing in the last four months.

In July, it agreed to sell The Icon Jalan Tun Razak (West Wing) to Koperasi Permodalan Felda for RM174.4 million.

LEONG: Group plans launch of projects worth RM 1.17 million

Mah Sing group managing director Datuk Sri Leong Hoy Kum said the group plans to launch Southgate Commercial Centre in Kuala Lumpur and Southbay City in Penang by mid-2008.

These two projects will have a total gross development value of RM1.17 billion.

"We may consider en bloc sales for the two projects should a good opportunity arise," Leong said in a statement.

Under the latest deal, Kuwait-listed KFH and Singapore- and Australia-listed Autron have set up a special purpose vehicle, called Prompt Symphony Sdn Bhd. KFH will hold 80 per cent, while Autron will hold the rest.

Prompt Symphony will buy The Icon Jalan Tun Razak (East Wing) from Mah Sing's wholly-owned unit, Star Residence Sdn Bhd, for RM255 million.

The East Wing consists of 17 levels of offices and 301 parking bays.

It will also buy The Icon Mont' Kiara from Mah Sing's unit, Maxim Heights Sdn Bhd, for RM305.3 million. This building has 27 levels of offices, a retail podium and 637 parking bays.

It will use the funds for working capital and to finance future developments.

Mah Sing said it has a remaining gross development value (GDV) of RM4.12 billion, with unbilled sales accounting for RM1.08 billion, which will ensure earnings visibility for seven years.

It also reported a 36.1 per cent surge in its third quarter net profit on the back of new projects.

The group made a net profit of RM22.73 million in the third quarter ended September 30 2007. Revenue jumped 42 per cent to RM166.9 billion.

In the nine months ended September 30, Mah Sing recorded a net profit of RM61.77 million, up 28.1 per cent from the same period last year, on the back of RM453 million turnover.

In the 12 months to December 2006, it posted a net profit of RM65.4 million and sales of RM495.6 million.

By New Straits Times (by Sharen Kaur)

Vincent Tan investing RM2.7 billion in Johor project

Business tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan is investing RM2.7 billion in a waterfront project along the Johor Straits, the Lido Boulevard.

The project is reputably the second largest along the Johor Straits after the 552ha Danga Bay development, which will cost RM19 billion and take 15 years to develop beginning 2000.

To be developed by Central Malaysian Properties Sdn Bhd (CMP), which is linked to Tan, the 49ha Lido Boulevard is an integrated residential-cum-commercial waterfront city.

It is one of the biggest private finance initiatives to date at the Iskandar Development Region, and is set to change the skyline above Lido Beach, stretching from the Lot 1 Waterfront Shopping Centre to the Harbour Master Office.

The project, which occupies the beachfront just outside the Johor Baru central business district, is designed to be the garden city of the south with heavily-landscaped gardens, water fountains and park-like facilities.

This privatisation project is a joint venture between CMP and State Secretary Inc, an investment holding company of the Johor state government, which is also the landowner.

It is CMP's flagship project and will be financed through shareholder funds and other internal financial arrangements.

In launching the project yesterday, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said the development will enhance the city's profile globally and reposition Johor Baru as an international gateway to Malaysia.

The project will be developed in phases and will stretch nearly 2.4km along Lido Beach.

CMP managing director Datuk Chan Tien Ghee said the development will have four components: luxury condominiums, waterfront office suites, a hotel and a shopping mall.

By New Straits Times (by Sim Bak Heng)

E&O to take property arm private

Eastern & Oriental Bhd (E&O), a construction and property group, plans to take its property arm private in an all-share deal worth some RM609 million.

It also plans to take shares of E&O Property Development Bhd (EOPD) off the stock market.

"The E&O board is of the opinion that the streamlining of E&O and EOPD into a single listed entity, as opposed to the current two-tier listing, will provide a strengthened base for sustainable value creation and long-term growth for the entire group," it said in a statement to Bursa Malaysia yesterday.

E&O now holds 63 per cent of EOPD. It offered to swap the remaining 243.82 million shares, or 37 per cent of EOPD, with new shares of E&O.

There will be 268.2 million new E&O shares, priced at RM2.27 apiece. The exchange will be at a ratio of 1,100 new E&O shares for every 1,000 EOPD shares.

There will be two other options if minorities of EOPD do not want to subscribe to the share swap entirely.

"E&O will make available or source for a cash pool of about RM213 million and afford a fixed combination option and maximised cash option to the EOPD MIs.

To illustrate these options, E&O gave an indicative value of RM2,500 per 1,000 EOPD shares.

Under the fixed combination option, EOPD minorities will get 715 new E&O shares and RM875 cash in exchange for every 1,000 EOPD shares.

Minorities may get more cash from the maximised cash option. Under this, the cash amount may be higher and it will not be less than RM875 for every 1,000 EOPD MI shares.

By New Straits Times (by Zuraimi Abdullah)

Developers join forces to build luxurious Twins at Damansara Heights

KUALA LUMPUR: Four established property developers have teamed up to develop a luxury premier high-rise residential project known as Twins at Damansara Heights in the Damansara town area.

The four, Malaysia’s the Lion group, the real estate investment arm of American International Group Inc, Singapore-based Koh Maju, and Heeton Holdings Ltd, will form a joint-venture company, Panareno Sdn Bhd.

In a statement yesterday, Panareno said the two-tower project, which is set to be launched later this month, would be built on a 0.87ha freehold land located at Damansara Heights fronting Jalan Damanlela and adjacent to Jalan Johar.

It said the project would offer 318 units of luxury residential suites, built on twin 36-storey blocks, with 159 units in each block.

“These two spectacular “avant garde” towers with a glistening fusion of glass and metal will allow one to enjoy the view of the surrounding affluent neighbourhood and the city skyline.

“Twins at Damansara Heights offers seven different unit types, with unit sizes starting from 766sq ft to 2,078sq ft for the standard units and from 2,171sq ft to 5,261sq ft for the penthouse suites which are duplex and triplex suites,” it said.

Eric Ooi, managing director of Knight Frank Malaysia, the appointed exclusive marketing agent for the project, said Twins at Damansara Heights was well poised to be an iconic landmark in the notable Damansara area.

He said Twins at Damansara Heights was surrounded by the elite neighbourhoods of Bangsar, Sri Hartamas, Damansara Jaya, Damansara Utama, and Mont Kiara.

The project, which is expected to be completed in Nov 2010, will offer facilities including two sky gymnasiums, a studio suitable for yoga, aerobics workout and dance sessions, swimming pool, landscaped gardens, and home automation security system.

The concept architect is Axis Architects Planners of Singapore whose credentials include The Oceanfront @ Sentosa Cove, Savannah CondoPark and The Pier @ Robertson Quay; while the local architect is Veritas Architects.

Clouston Design, whose benchmark projects include Sierramas Resorts Homes, Suria Stonor and Putrajaya Waterfront, is the appointed landscape architect.