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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

SP Setia in maiden Sabah venture

Malaysia's most valuable property company, SP Setia Bhd, has unveiled plans for its first venture in Sabah, a RM1 billion mixed development project in Tanjung Aru.

The project is a major bet on the economy of Sabah, which is set to benefit from an 18-year development plan, estimated to attract investments of more than RM100 billion.

SP Setia group managing director and chief executive officer Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin said the project will see the state become a springboard for its stable of brands and enable the company to capitalise fully on the anticipated economic boom there.

"The expansion into East Malaysia is in line with the group's aim to diversify its geographical concentration to other high-growth states as well as international markets.

"This will be our first showcase project in Sabah to establish our credentials and earn the trust of the property-buying public in the state," Liew said in a statement released yesterday in Kuala Lumpur.

Industry executives said that Sabah would pose a major challenge because of the low purchasing power of its people and the soft property demand compared to that in Peninsular Malaysia.

"SP Setia has to come up with innovative and quality products, which can start a property trend," Irhamy and Co property valuer Sharizal Supian said.

SP Setia subsidiary Aeropod Sdn Bhd signed the deal with the Sabah state government yesterday, witnessed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Under the agreement, SP Setia will build a transport terminal and new headquarters and ancillary buildings of Jabatan Keretapi Negeri Sabah on part of 24 hectares near the Tanjung Aru township and the Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

In return, it will have the rights to develop the balance of 17ha into a mixed residential and commercial project, named Aeropod @ Tg Aru.

The project will have a shopping mall, a five-star as well as a three-star hotel, and residential condominiums, among other developments.

Aeropod @ Tg Aru will be modelled after the creative hybrid commercial projects that SP Setia has launched, such as Setia Walk and Setia Nexus 1 in the Klang Valley.

By New Straits Times (by Zaidi Isham Ismail)

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