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Friday, December 28, 2007

Kombinasi Bijak plans niche project in Klang

PETALING JAYA: Kombinasi Bijak Sdn Bhd is planning a themed commercial development on a 4.6-acre leasehold tract in Jalan Kim Chuan, Klang.

Its general manager Sip Mun Yee said, although still in the initial stages, the group is exploring ideas of creating either a shopping centre, F&B outlet or an IT hub for the project. “Along Jalan Kim Chuan, there are already many existing shoplots and we feel we need to come up with something unique and different in order to sell,” he told PropertyPlus.

Although there is plenty of commercial supply in the area, Sip believes there is strong residential support and catchment in the surrounding developments such as Pandamaran and Bandar Bukit Tinggi.

“Our project is going to be small, niche and specialised to cater to a specific market as we do not want to compete with other commercial developments in the area,” he said.

Instead of completely selling the whole project, the developer also plans to hold some units back for leasing. “As this is a themed development, we would need to maintain some stake in it and be selective with our buyers,” Sip said, adding that the project is targeted for launching by the end of next year with prices starting below RM200 psf.

The company was incorporated in 1995 by the same group of people behind Mahumas Sdn Bhd, a property development company with projects in Rawang.

Kombinasi Bijak’s maiden project in Klang is the 7.15-acre Bukit Kuda Heights, comprising nine units of 2 ½-storey terraces, eight units of 3-storey semi-detached houses, 32 units of 3-storey bungalows and 10 units of 3-storey shop offices. All have been sold except for five bungalow units. The leasehold development was recently completed and has a gross development value (GDV) of RM36 million.

Another project is 20 units of 2-storey shoplots in Batu Lima, Jalan Kapar. The units are expected to be ready by next year with a GDV of about RM80 million and are already sold out.

An artist's impression of Kombinasi Bijak's D'anjung Teluk Pulai development

The company’s latest project is D’Anjung Teluk Pulai, which offers terraced homes with a touch of luxury to first-time homebuyers and families looking to upgrade.

The 19.22-acre leasehold development comprises 66 units of 2-storey and 94 units of 2 ½-storey terraces that are priced between RM215,000 and RM463,000 each.

Its sales manager Maria Lim said although the units in the development are priced as such, there would be no compromise in the design and living space of the homes. “There are three contemporary designs to choose from with built-ups ranging from 1,732 sq ft to 2,650 sq ft,” she said.

She added that despite the similarity in prices with other terraced developments in Klang, the developer would be offering value-added finishes to the units in the project. “For a classier look, each unit comes with upgraded 16in by 16in floor tiles for the living, dining and bedrooms, while the bathrooms have ceiling-high wall tiles. In addition, the car porch has concrete imprints and is column-free for ease of parking,” she revealed.

Launched in October last year, more than 90% of the 2-storey terraced units have been sold. The developer recently launched 23 units of 2 ½-storey terraces, with six units taken up to date. The remaining 71 units are targeted for launching by the fourth quarter of next year.

Lim said the units are popular among young couples and growing families because of their affordability and the need for additional space. “We expect the value of the properties in D’Anjung Teluk Pulai to appreciate by about 20% upon completion,” she said. The asking price for terraced units in Bukit Kuda Heights, which were sold at a developer’s price of RM300,000, is now about RM360,000 to RM380,000.

The development is accessible via major highways including the NKVE, Kesas and Federal Highway. A KTM station is also within walking distance. The project is expected to be complete in December 2008 with a gross development value (GDV) of RM50 million.

Lim said the Klang property market is currently on the rise with many developments coming up and buyers becoming more discerning in their choice of properties.

“Unlike the bigger developers, our projects are strategically located within the town centre, which gives us a huge advantage as location is often a deciding factor for property buyers,” she said.

By theSun (by Yap Yew Jin)

How are our MALLS FARING?

speaks to retail industry insiders to see how the landscape has changed with all the new malls the Klang Valley has to offer

About three months have passed since the Klang Valley welcomed new additions to the retail space — Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, The Gardens Galleria at Mid Valley City, and the revamped Sunway Pyramid. PropertyPlus visited the three malls one Friday afternoon just before Christmas to check out the festivities and witnessed a joyous Christmas mood with the decorations all around and the carols playing in the background.

However, human traffic was slow in all three malls despite the school holidays and festive seasons, except for the F&B outlets and main concourse areas, which held live performances.

Pavilion Kuala Lumpur (picture above)
Visit Pavilion Kuala Lumpur Website here

Terence Ong, Pasta Mania’s general manager at Pavilion says business for the Italian casual dining outlet has been good so far as consumers are always looking to try something new. “With only Pizza Hut as our direct competition, we have been enjoying strong patronage until the food
court opened, which slightly decreased the number of visitors to our outlet,” he told PropertyPlus.

At Sunway Pyramid, the new Jaya Jusco has improved foot traffic to the mall, observes Susan Lai, manager at The Body Shop. But Lai said business for the Body Shop outlet was better at its old location in the mall. “Now that we’ve moved to the new section, our rental rates have increased but business has been slow as most of the new shops in this (new) section have yet to open,” she added.

Sunway Pyramid (picture above)
Visit Sunway Piramid Website here

At the Gardens Galleria, anchor tenant Robinsons has been enjoying a steady stream of customers since the mall opened. Robinsons Malaysia general manager Deepak Sharma said, by offering a varied mix of products, Robinsons caters to almost everyone, including expatriates and tourists, which comprise 5% to 10% of its customers.

“We chose The Gardens to open the first Robinsons in the country because of the success of Mid Valley Megamall as well as the ready catchment of clientele available in the area,” he said, adding that business is expected to pick up with the completion of the connecting bridge from Megamall to Gardens Galleria.

Gardens Galleria (picture above)
Visit The Garden's Website here

Regroup Associates Sdn Bhd managing director Allan Soo said it is still too early to gauge how well the shopping centres are performing, with retailers expecting the maturing of the malls to take a longer time from the normal gestation period of six months to one year.

“This can be attributed to the fact that there is suddenly so much for the consumers to choose from that perhaps more time is needed for things to settle down,” he told PropertyPlus.
The three malls account for approximately 3 million sq ft of the current 39 million sq ft of net lettable retail space in the Klang Valley.

Henry Butcher Retail managing director Tan Hai Hsin believes the three malls are having difficulty getting all their retailers and tenants to open at the same time, which might have affected human traffic and first impressions of target shoppers.

“Shoppers in a mall without full occupancy will not stay long and will not be making return visits in a short period of time, whereas potential visitors will also wait for all retail shops to be fully opened before making their trips there,” he said.

Getting the mix right
Sunway Pyramid senior general manager H C Chan said, maintaining the buzz in shopping malls involves innovation and creating a memorable shopping experience.
The former can come in the form of product offerings, retail-mix planning and excellent customer service, while the latter encompasses design aesthetics, comfort, music, and ambiance.

“The right delivery of this potent combination will draw crowds and profits back to the malls,”
sid Chan, who is also vice president of The Association for Shopping Complex and High Rise Management (PPK).

He added that striking a balance between leisure and retail components for a mall in a ratio of 80/20, 70/30 or 60/40 is dependent on whether it is located in an urban or suburban area, and whether it is catered to the high end or mass market. “The core product of a shopping mall is still, essentially, retail-based unless it’s a very niche boutique mall, which is very rare in the country.”

A count of selected shopping centres in the Klang Valley by Regroup Associates shows a slight drop in occupancy from 85% to 84% till September. “Suffice to say, the occupancy levels have dropped with the additional supply for the time being, but it will rise to at least 85% within another four months as more shops open in the new malls (next year),” said Regroup’s Soo.

He added that rentals in the new malls have reached a high of RM45 psf in the city and RM27 psf in the suburbs. “The highest rent in the best malls has touched about RM80 psf.”

Nonetheless, Sunway City Bhd property investment managing director Ngeow Voon Yean remained upbeat on how the expanded Sunway Pyramid has been doing since its opening. “Our current occupancy rate in the mall stands at 98% and we have been, so far, meeting the targeted 2.5 million visitors per month,” he said.

According to Ngeow, the group has been aggressively promoting the shopping centre in Asian countries such as Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and China. “Sunway Pyramid has also played host to several international, high-profile events,” he said, adding that about 2% of the mall’s turnover is usually allocated for A&P annually.

Pavilion KL has also received many visits from international delegation for workshops, conventions and familiarisation tours. “We recently hosted some 1,000 participants from Germany and Austria under The Reiseakadamie group, which is a promotional and incentive group in the travel industry for selected travel agents and Dertour’s staff,” says John Sironic, director of centre management for Kuala Lumpur Pavilion Sdn Bhd.

Since its opening, the shopping centre is currently more than 95% leased and more than 80% occupied. It has 450 retails stores over seven levels occupying a net lettable area of 1.37 million sq ft.

To continue bringing in a steady supply of visitors, Pavilion KL is holding an array of activities throughout the festive season leading into next year, with its Celestial Christmas and year-end promotions currently ongoing.

“We are already putting the finishing touches for festive events like Pavilion KL’s New Year Eve Countdown Party and Chinese New Year, and of course, the mall’s official opening on Jan 31,” Sironic said.

Sales to remain stable
According to Retail Group Malaysia, retail sales for 2008 are forecasted to grow at 8% but may be revised taking into consideration the expected rise in the cost of living starting from next year. The group is an independent local retail research company that has provided consultancy services to numerous Singaporean and Malaysian chain store retailers as well as publishing the quarterly Malaysia Retail Industry Report.

“The purchasing power of Malaysian consumers has decreased due to higher raw material prices as a result of higher oil prices, which is not compensated for proportionally by increases in salaries,” said Henry Butcher’s Tan, who is also managing director of Retail Group Malaysia.

However, he added that sales would remain stable because Malaysian consumers would still be buying retail goods. “As long as (they) continue to have jobs and receive their regular salaries, the drop in retail spending is not expected to be significant.”

Soo agreed that 2008 would be a tough year for the retail market as there is more competition and sales may drop after Visit Malaysia Year 2007. On a brighter note, he said retailers and industry players agreed that the new malls have raised standards in the industry by increasing the potential of more international brands.

“We are, at last, on par with the region’s best malls in terms of merchandising depth and breadth as well as the quality of the overall mall experience,” he said.

By theSun (by Yap Yew Jin)

Glomac set to rebound after three years of decline

PETALING JAYA: Analysts expect Glomac Bhd’s net earnings to rebound in the current financial year ending April 30, 2008, thanks to higher development profit and land sales, after three straight years of decline.

A Singapore-based brokerage said the growth was underpinned by “record unbilled sales and strong demand for its products.”

For the first six months ended Oct 30, Glomac’s new sales figure rose to RM141mil, or 24% higher compared with the previous corresponding period.

This lifted its total unbilled sales value to a record RM336mil. The amount excludes the group’s 51% stake in Glomac Tower, a grade A office tower near KLCC, which was sold for RM577mil on an en bloc basis.

Meanwhile, its Suria Stonor project, which has a take-up rate of 89%, was on track for completion in April. The company is now marketing the remaining nine condominium units at RM1,300 psf, up from RM650 psf two years ago.

The company is also targeting to launch the Glomac Damansara and Glomac Galleria in Sri Hartamas in the first quarter of next year.

The brokerage noted that Glomac’s balance sheet was healthier with the completion of a recent fund-raising exercise.

In October, Glomac sold 67.3 million new rights shares at RM1.10 each together with 67.3 million detachable free warrants to raise RM72mil.

“With the improved financial capacity, the group is actively looking at parcels of prime lands in the Klang Valley,” it said, adding that Glomac was also exploring other opportunities, such as formation of a real estate investment trust.

Glomac reported a net profit of RM21.28mil, or 9.27 sen per share, for its first half, compared with a net profit of RM8.38mil, or 3.77 sen per share, in the previous corresponding period.

Consensus estimates projected the group’s full-year net profit would be just shy of RM40mil.

In a recent update, a local investment bank said while Glomac’s first-half performance was boosted by a one-off profit from land sales, it expected the second half to be stronger on seasonal demand and rising progress billings from on-going projects.

By The Star (by Izwan Idris)

Tradewinds gets nod to sell TWS stake

KUALA LUMPUR: Tradewinds Corp Bhd has received approval at its EGM to sell its entire 53% stake in Tradewinds (M) Bhd (TWS) to shareholders.

The EGM had also approved its plan to acquire three companies with a combined landbank of 362.8ha in Bandar Nusajaya, Johor for RM145mil, it said in a statement yesterday.

It said Tradewinds shareholders would be offered 142 TWS shares for every 1,000 Tradewinds shares held.

“The offer price of RM3.80 per share is at more than 20% discount to the share price of Tradewinds, which stood at RM4.84 on Dec 24,” the statement said.

TWS is a holding company for the plantation and sugar refining operations.

Tradewinds chairman Datuk Seri Megat Najmuddin said the demerger would allow the company to focus on its property and hotel divisions and also pare down the group’s debts to RM760mil from RM2.4bil currently.

He said the land in Bandar Nusajaya was strategically located within the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) and was earmarked for a mixed residential development with an estimated gross development value of RM2.1bil.

“Given the Government’s commitment to the IDR and the level of private interestin the area, we are confident that our proposed project in Johor will be successful,” he said.

By Bernama

Tradewinds wants to be blue chip property firm by 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: Tradewinds Corporation Bhd wants to be a blue chip property developer in five years and aims to kick-start it with its mixed development project on the 367.06ha site at Bandar Nusajaya in the Iskandar Development Region (IDR), Johor by early 2009.

The company was also looking at undertaking property projects in Kuala Lumpur and Penang as part of its plan to achieve its aim of being a blue chip property group.

“Over the next three years, after 2009, our property sector will definitely become a major contributor to our group’s earnings,” its chairman Datuk Seri Megat Najmuddin Khas told reporters after the company’s EGM yesterday.

At the EGM, shareholders approved the proposed sale of its entire 53% stake in Tradewinds (M) Bhd to the company’s shareholders, and to acquire three companies — Edisi Minda Sdn Bhd, Erat Kilauan Sdn Bhd and Simbol Arif Sdn Bhd — that have a combined landbank of 367.06ha in Bandar Nusajaya for RM145 million cash.

Tradewinds Corp’s director and advisor Poh Pai Kong said: “Currently we are reviewing and getting more value out of our acquisition because we bought the land with some development blueprint laid out. So we are looking at improving it.”

“Not only we are conducting high-end development and gated-and-guarded communities, we are also planning projects that are green in nature.”

He added that the green property development, which had not been looked into in a big way locally, would be its Nusajaya project’s selling point.

The mixed development project, which was expected to be launched by the third quarter of 2008, had an estimated gross development cost (GDC) of RM1.24 billion on the back of a gross development value (GDV) of RM2.1 billion, Poh said.

“We would start out with the first phase where our margin is lower. We are looking at 10% to 15% margin to give value to our buyers and create a loyal following.

“Once we have created our brand name and presence in the whole area, our margins will increase over the following years as the value of the surrounding lands will increase, that is our game plan,” he said.

Tradewinds Corp had a total landbank of some 1,176.46ha in Johor, including the Nusajaya land and was looking at Penang and Kuala Lumpur for its future property expansion plans, said Poh.

On its hotel division, Megat Najmuddin said it would be a major contributor to the group’s earnings over the next two years since its property division was still at its infant stage.

By The EDGE MALAYSIA (by Yantoultra Ngui Yichen)

BLand to undertake study on Vietnam’s property project

KUALA LUMPUR: Berjaya Land Bhd (BLand) will be undertaking a feasibility study on a proposed mixed residential, commercial, financial and administrative centre development, Nhon Trach New City project, on a 600ha piece of land in Dong Nai Province, Vietnam.

Announcing the proposal yesterday, BLand said it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the People’s Committee of the province for the proposed development at Nhon Trach New City.

It said in a statement that 250ha of the land would be for administration, healthcare, educational, cultural and art and financial centres, and the rest for residential and commercial projects such as apartments, commercial shops, villas and semi-detached houses.

The project is located in the heart of Nhon Trach City, Dong Nai province, which is 30km from Ho Chi Minh City and about 40km from Bien Hoa city, two major cities in southern Vietnam.

A bridge connecting Dong Nai and Ho Chi Minh City will be built, and this will reduce the travelling distance between the two places to about 20km. The project is also near Tan Son Nhat International Airport and the new International Airport of Long Thanh.

Berjaya is delighted to be given the opportunity to undertake the feasibility study and participate in the proposed development of the Nhon Trach New City Project. It is indeed an honour to be part of the development of this new city township, which is expected to cater to about one million residents,” said BLand’s chief executive officer Datuk Francis Ng.

“It reflects the Vietnamese government’s confidence in our group’s property development expertise and track record. We intend to be a major property investor and developer in Vietnam and we look forward to participating in and contributing to the growth of the Vietnamese economy,” he said.

BLand said the MoU was in line with its current objectives of expanding its business activities in Vietnam, which was one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies and the focus of multinational enterprises seeking to capitalise on the country’s booming economic potential and investment opportunities.

It said the total estimated development cost for the project would be determined upon completion of the feasibility study, and it would be financed by internal funds and/or borrowings.