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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Dubai World to sell property in Britain, US and buy in Asia

SINGAPORE: Dubai World, the investment holding company of the Dubai government, plans to sell some of its properties in London and New York next year and re-deploy some of that capital to real estate in Asia.

The group, which has about US$20bil in real estate assets around the world outside of Dubai, wanted to rebalance its portfolio to better weather the global effects of the US subprime crisis, a top executive told Reuters.

“Currently, we are slightly too heavily weighted in the (United) States and in Europe. We want to balance the portfolio slightly more towards Asia,” Yu Lai Boon, the group's chief investment officer, said on the sidelines of a briefing in Singapore yesterday.

Yu said Asia was “slightly more robust” in terms of withstanding a weakening in global property sentiment.

Dubai World, which has a multi-billion global portfolio that ranges from British port operator P&O to New York luxury retailer Barneys, owns office buildings such as 280 Park Avenue in New York and London's One Trafalgar Square.

“Prices in New York and London haven't fallen and there are still investors interested in the prime properties we own,” Yu said. “I'm not proactively looking for a buyer but if someone comes knocking, I'd be more than willing to entertain them.”

Yu said Dubai World was in talks with Chinese officials for possible investments in China but declined to give more details.

By Reuters

Leong Hup buys Wisma Westcourt

Leong Hup Holdings Bhd (LHH), together with its wholly-owned Leong Hup Poultry Farm Sdn Bhd (LHPF), has agreed to buy a seven-storey commercial property known as Wisma Westcourt in Kuala Lumpur from Leong Hup Management Sdn Bhd (LHM) for RM18 million. The purchase would help to reduce and offset outstanding debt owed by LHM to LHH. LHH and LHPF also agreed to sell two pieces of leasehold land which house its hatchery plant in Gopeng, Perak, to Sri Medan Duck Farm Sdn Bhd (SMDF) for RM6 million cash. The group intends to merge and consolidate its two hatchery operations into a single plant to be located in Bidor, Perak

By The Star

Brem has big plans overseas

KUALA LUMPUR: Low-profile Brem Holding Bhd is going on an aggressive drive to capture the
overseas property market and has slated several projects for launch in China, Thailand, India and Vietnam next year.

Its managing director Khoo Chai Kaa told theSun in an interview that negotiations are currently
underway with landowners in all four countries and project launch dates would be announced by the first quarter of 2008.

“We’ve been a local player for quite a while and it is now time for us to move into a new realm, which is the global market,” says Khoo.

“In China, we missed out opportunities to develop properties in the main first-tier cities due to high entry costs and expensive land prices.

“So we immediately scouted for land in second-tier cities such as Guang Dong, Zhuhai, Chung Zheng and Zheng Tao and commenced negotiations with landowners,” he said.

“Our concentration in China and Vietnam will be mainly on mixeddevelopment projects, including medium- and medium-low cost residential units to cater for the masses.

“But in Thailand and India, we are going for high-rise condominium projects to cater for a niche market segment,” Khoo added.

In Thailand, Khoo said his company is planning to launch a luxury serviced apartment project in downtown Bangkok.

“We are having talks with two land owners in Bangkok and hope to decide on one of their offers soon.

“Our project in Bangkok is set to be the highlight of our overseas ventures as it will be an iconic high-rise structure that will be clearly visible on the city’s skyline.

In India, it is planning a highend condominium project in the ITcity of Bangalore and the southern hub of Chennai. “They will cater for the rising number of wealthy individuals who require luxury homes,” said Khoo.

He stated that profit margins for developing in mega cities such as Bangkok, Bangalore and Chennai are higher than in Kuala Lumpur due to the fact that premium locations command a higher price per sq ft than in Kuala Lumpur.

“Luxury properties in India are being snapped up fast as the stock market boom has created many high net-worth individuals.

“Bangkok is also a favourite destination for international property investors and we can capitalise on the strength of these cities and their socio-economic growth to sell our products,” Khoo said.

Brem Holding is looking at a gross development value (GDV) of between RM200 and RM300
million per project for its overseas developments.

Khoo says based on initial estimates, the projects in China, Thailand, India and Vietnam are set to carry a cumulative gross development value (GDV) of RM1 billion to RM2 billion.

“We hope to chart new territories with our overseas projects and position ourselves firmly as a reputable developer with world class capabilities,” added Khoo.

On the local front, Brem Holding’s current projects include the Rosvilla condominium near Mont’Kiara, Bukit Prima Pelangi in Kuala Lumpur, Pelangi Heights in Kajang, Gambier Heights in Penang and Taman Cendana in Sungai Petani.

Brem’s landbank in the country is around 680 acres. Established in 1989, Brem Holding was listed on the Second Board of Bursa Malaysia in 1992 and transferred to the Main Board in 1997.

It has 11 subsidiary companies and seven associated companies, involved in construction, civil engineering, water concessions and property investment holding.

Property development currently contributes 30% to the group’s turnover.

By theSun (by Tim Leonard)

St Andrews timeshare tees up massive profit

ST ANDREWS (SCOTLAND): For £775,000 (RM5.3 million) it has to be one of the most expensive timeshares in the world. But for the devoted fan, the view it affords of one of golf’s most hallowed sites is worth every penny.

Five local businessmen have clubbed together to sell what has been called “Scotland’s most expensive house”– a three-storey refurbished Victorian townhouse overlooking the 18th hole of St Andrews’ world-famous Old Course.

They are looking for 12 buyers to purchase an equal share in The Residence, 9 The Links, St Andrews, which will net the sellers £9.3 million, nearly £5 million more than the previous record
for a house in Scotland and £6 million more than the price they paid for the house.

Those persuaded to part with their cash will have access to the 3,000 sq m home for four weeks of the year and, thanks to the property’s third-storey balcony, a bird’s eye view of the first and final hole of the course. The town’s equally famous Royal and Ancient Golf Club, West Sands Beach, and the Swilken Bridge are also all visible from the house’s balcony and bay windows.

At £3,100 psf and an additional £12,000 annual service charge, the property is only within reach of the super-rich and the amenities on offer bear testimony to the type of customer the property developers are hoping to attract. Aside from the lavish decor, designer kitchen and in-house Bang & Olufsen sound system, an on-site chef and butler are available to provide guests staying in the house’s five rooms with the type of pampering most of us could only dream of.

The house’s promotional website emphasises that St Andrews can be easily reached by private jet through nearby RAF Leuchars. John Coleman, of the agents Knight Frank, said: “The property is targeted unashamedly at the very top end of the second-home market and buyers used to the very best will not be disappointed.”

The idea of fractional ownership is a relatively new phenomenon in Britain but is extremely popular in the United States, where the rich often buy shares in luxury second homes. The phenomenon began to take off a decade ago in North American ski resorts after property prices rose dramatically, pricing many out of holiday home market. If all the shares of the St Andrews property sell for their asking price, the building will have become a remarkable money-maker for the businessmen who bought it.

They acquired The Residence earlier this year for just under £3 million after it was repossessed and selling it on a fractional basis will earn them considerably more than if the property was sold outright.

“This is obviously a very high-end product aimed at the luxury market, but the concept is the same for any house,” said Toby Pocock, managing director of Fractional International, which advises people how to sell their properties on the fractional market. “Buying shares of holiday homes is very popular in the States and I think it won’t be long before it catches on here.”

Shares in the St Andrew’s house are most likely to be bought by businesses looking to find an unusually exclusive place to indulge in corporate entertainment or by wealthy foreign private buyers with a penchant for golf. Did anyone say Donald Trump?

By The Independent

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