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Monday, February 11, 2008

Bandar Raya to launch RM2bil projects this year

BANDAR Raya Development Bhd (BRDB) will launch projects with gross development value (GDV) of RM2bil locally this year while keeping its eyes open for opportunities abroad.

Chief executive officer Datuk Jagan Sabapathy said the developer was actively looking at the Middle East, South-East Asia, particularly Vietnam and Indonesia, as well as India where it hoped to seal at least one deal this year.

Datuk Jagan Sabapathy

“As we are already in Pakistan, looking at India is quite easy. There is also a lot of potential in South-East Asia with the growing population,” he told StarBiz in an interview.

“As for Vietnam, there is a huge amount of money flowing in from Vietnamese living in Australia, Europe and the US. So there is a massive pool of cash to tap,” he added.

BRDB has an integrated development in Lahore, Pakistan.

Launched two years ago, the 325-acre project is Pakistan's first master-planned development featuring bungalows, semi-detached homes, condominiums and retail centre.

“We were hoping to put up the next phase in the first quarter this year but I suspect we will be pushing it back a little to allow things to settle down there,” he said.

All of the firm's future projects, Jagan said, would be high-end premium developments, which typically yield better margins.

“We are a good premium developer with over 40 years experience. We can start doing new things or we can take whatever it is that we do well and continue working on it.

“Instead of diversifying in terms of products and services, we are looking to diversify geographically,” he said.

In the Middle East, BRDB was studying potential deals in Oman and Saudi Arabia, Jagan said.

Locally, it expects to launch two upscale projects in Kenny Hills and Bangsar this year. “Both are currently at the approval stage,” he said.

CapSquare Residences II, an integrated commercial, retail and residential enclave, was expected to be launched in the second quarter 2008, he said.

Jagan said BRDB also targeted a series of launches aimed at introducing exclusive lifestyle living concept in Johor this year.

The company's high-end One Menerung in Bangsar and The Troika projects, which were launched in 2006, were doing well, with about 85% and 75% of the units sold respectively, he said.

BRDB recently expanded its land bank in the Klang Valley with the acquisition of 10.1ha freehold land fronting the Federal Highway in Subang Jaya.

The RM125.9mil purchase is for a mixed development featuring retail, office suites and apartments. The project has a potential GDV of RM1.5bil

“If all is well, this will provide another catalyst for sustainable earnings growth for BRDB post-2009,” OSK Research said.

On plans for real estate investment trust, Jagan said: “There is no reason why we won’t consider it. We will contemplate the matter but it is too early right now.”

By 2010, he said, the company would have more than one million sq ft of Grade A commercial space under its stable.

By The Star (by Yvonne Tan)

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