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Monday, January 28, 2008

Group has projects worth RM60bil in Asia-Pacific

BERJAYA Land Bhd is going full swing to internationalise its property development activities.

It has been aggressively expanding to other countries in the region over the past year, including to Vietnam, Thailand and South Korea, with property projects worth a combined gross development value (GDV) of over RM60bil.

Chief executive officer Datuk Francis Ng said going overseas was not new for BLand as the company already owned hotels in London, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Singapore, and had property projects in China and Bangkok.

BLand’s Sai Dong project in Vietnam

“We are always open for good investment opportunities, both in emerging markets as well as developed ones. If there is an opening and it can create added value to our shareholders, we will consider the option.

“The company's offshore operations are expected to contribute at least 50% or more to total earnings from 2010 onwards,” Ng said, adding that this was assuming that it received all the investment certificates for its Vietnam projects by the end of this year.

The company's mammoth property projects in Vietnam will keep it busy for the next eight to 10 years.

BLand has six projects in Vietnam – two in Hanoi and four in Ho Chi Minh City. It expects the more than RM40bil worth of mixed development projects there to contribute to its future growth. The projects will spread from 2009 to 2019.

BLand has a high probability of securing these projects, as most of the company's land bank in Vietnam are unoccupied.

“We have entered into several memorandum of understanding (MoU) and memorandum of agreement (MoA) in Vietnam. The GDV of our Vietnam projects is estimated to be in excess of RM40bil,” Ng added.

The Thach Ban New City project in Hanoi, with RM1.73bil GDV, has just commenced earthwork and the project will be launched in the first quarter this year.

BLand received the investment licence for the project within two months of the MoU signing sometime last year. It will take five years to be completed. The project will start contributing to the company's bottomline during these two financial years.

In Ho Chi Minh City, its Vietnam Financial Centre (VFC) project has an estimated GDV of RM4.17bil while the Vietnam International University Township (VIUT) is worth some RM25.7bil.

“We believe we should be given the investment licence for the VFC project by the first quarter. It will start contributing to our earnings in 2012 if we assume the lease for the entire project. However, if we decide to sell some portions of the development, the contribution could come in earlier,” Ng said.

Meanwhile, the VIUT project is expected to kick off next year and start contributing in 2010.

BLand has another project in Bien Hoa, near Ho Chi Minh City, with a GDV of RM340mil. It is expected to commence this year and start contributing to earnings in 2009.

The latest two projects signed recently are in Sai Dong A, Long Bien District in Hanoi and in Nhon Trach New City, Dong Nai Province in Ho Chi Minh City. They are planned for launch in the next one year and will take six to eight years to complete.

The GDV for the 405ha-Sai Dong project is estimated at US$2.5bil and will include townhouses, villas, low and high-rise apartments, schools, shop offices, business park, shopping mall, industrial park, as well as medical centres.

The Nhon Trach project on 600ha will have residential, commercial, financial and administrative facilities.

In South Korea, BLand has teamed up with South Korea's Jeju Free International City Development Centre (JDC) to undertake a resort-type residential and commercial complex on Jeju island. The initial investment cost for the project is expected to be US$500mil.

The proposed development will include casino hotels and residences, a spa village health care centre, town houses and villas, condominiums and apartments, and retail space and theme parks.

BLand's unit Berjaya Leisure (Cayman) Ltd (BCayman) has signed a conditional MoA with JDC for the proposed development. Both parties will set up Jeju Casino Spa Resort Ltd (JCSR), in which BCayman will hold 81% stake with JDC owning the rest. The joint-venture agreement will be inked by March.

Ng said the initial paid-up capital of JCSR would not be less than US$30mil. “We are talking to a few parties on the management of the facilities. There is a high probability that we will be working with branded international chains to promote the casinos and hotels,” Ng said.

By The Star

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