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Monday, January 28, 2008

Major projects set to push BLand ahead

BERJAYA Land Bhd (BLand), a unit of Berjaya Corp Bhd, is confident the strong performance of its local and overseas projects will propel the company into a major property force in the years to come.

Although its overseas business will contribute a large share of the company’s growth, BLand still has land bank of about 1,000 acres in Malaysia, with potential gross development value (GDV) of RM8bil over the next eight to 10 years.

According to BLand chief executive officer Datuk Francis Ng, most of the company's earnings presently were still from local operations although offshore projects had the potential to become big earnings contributor in future.

An artist’s impression of BLand’s mix development at Selangor Turf Club

“On the local front, the company has on average RM300mil worth of projects a year and we expect to see this to grow by 10% to 20% annually. Our current land bank of 1,000 acres is still bigger than most other property companies,” he told StarBiz.

Most of the projects are in the Klang Valley like Ampang, Bukit Jalil, Shah Alam and Seputeh Heights. Besides The Link at Bukit Jalil, which comprises 3 to 3 ½-storey commercial shop houses, the rest are residential developments.

Ng said besides the company's ongoing property projects, BLand was expected to launch projects worth a total GDV of RM1.2bil for the financial years ending April 30, 2008 (FY08) and FY09. Its ongoing projects with RM802mil GDV are Savanna 2 in Bukit Jalil, Berjaya Park in Shah Alam, Taman TAR in Ampang and Kuantan Perdana in Pahang.

BLand is also planning a RM4.2bil mixed development on 248 acres at the Selangor Turf Club (STC) in Jalan Sungai Besi.

The mixed development will have bungalow lots, condominiums, shop houses, office towers, serviced apartments, shopping mall and hotel. It will take 12 years to complete.

Ng said the possible conversion of the STC land title to freehold from its current leasehold status was expected to increase the land value by 30% to 50%, which would potentially increase the project's GDV to RM6.2bil from RM4.2bil originally planned.

The company is also expecting good response for its soon-to-be-launched high-end bungalow project in Seputeh Heights – Vasana 25 @ Seputeh Heights. “The RM109mil gated project will be launch around June and the 3-storey houses will cost between RM3mil and RM5mil.

“Our target buyers are the home up-graders. Some of the units will come with lifts to cater to the future needs of these buyers,” Ng said.

Sited on a freehold 4.93-acre land, the project comprises 22 link bungalows and three bungalows. With land area of between 5,000 and 7,000 sq ft and built-up of 4,000 to 5,000 sq ft, the houses will have individual pools. It will take two years to complete.

On the remaining freehold 400-acre Bukit Jalil development, the company will be launching by April the Savanna 2 @ Bukit Jalil that comprises a block of 4-storey walk-up condo villas on 1.2 acres. The project, with GDV of RM22mil, will have 32 units of 3+1 bedroom units.

With average built-up of 1,615 sq ft, each unit comes with two parking bays while several units on the top level come with private gardens and a rumpus area.

Plans are also afoot to launch a 20-storey condominium on 2.91 acres next to Savanna 2 by April. With a GDV of RM125.7mil, the project offers 308 units of 3+1 bedroom residence with built-up of 1,278 to 1,404 sq ft.

BLand had last year signed a memorandum of understanding with South Korea's Hanju I&D Co Ltd for the sale of the entire 20-storey condominium block for RM126mil. It had earlier sold a block of 204 condominium units in its two blocks of development for RM64mil.

At Taman TAR, the project's remaining GDV of close to RM400mil is expected to increase by more than 15% once BLand resumes selling the land parcels over the next few months. BLand had earlier sold its bungalow plots in The Peak at Taman TAR at prices that were 81% to 127% higher than other residential sites in the area.

By The Star - The CEO Interview (by Angie Ng)

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