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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Revamped Magna Prima on stronger footing

SECOND board construction player Magna Prima Bhd is on a much better footing from three years ago when it was making losses.

With a turnaround plan in place after a reshuffling of the top management and the board of directors, the company turned in a net profit of RM26.58mil for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2007 (FY07) compared to a net profit of RM119,000 the previous year. Revenue increased by 326% to RM344.44mil.

Magna Prima has three current projects: the 88-acre leasehold Metro Prima in Kepong, a joint venture with landowner Kuala Lumpur City Hall that is almost completed; The Avare, a freehold 41-storey luxury condominium project located in the vicinity of KLCC; and the three-acre leasehold MagnaVille in Selayang comprising three blocks of 22-storey condominiums.

It is also the turnkey contractor for Muafakat Kekal Sdn Bhd, the developer of the Dataran Automobil project in Shah Alam, a joint venture with landowner Selangor State Development Corp. Taken together, all the projects have unbilled sales of RM250mil and ongoing gross development value (GDV) of RM1.7bil.

Magna Prima chief executive officer Lim Ching Choy said the company was now in the second phase of the turnaround.

Lim Ching Choy

“The first phase involved streamlining the company's resources into three business divisions and hiring new management teams for the divisions,” he said.

In the second phase, integrated-lifestyle developments, comprising commercial and residential elements, would be the way forward as the company makes plans to transfer to the main board by 2009.

As such, two more projects had been lined up for launch this year that would provide not only greater earnings visibility for the next two to three years but also recurrent income from certain commercial properties that the company would retain, Lim told StarBiz.

The projects would be launched from land that the company acquired late last year in two locations - a 4.78-acre leasehold parcel in Section U1 of Shah Alam and two parcels of freehold land totalling 10.23 acres in Jalan Kuching, Kuala Lumpur.

Now the company is embarking on its second phase. “We don't have a large landbank and we're small compared with the likes of SP Setia Bhd and other listed property developers, so we need to find our niche,” Lim said.

He said the estimated RM135mil Shah Alam project, whose proposed name is Dataran U1 Shah Alam, would be an integrated three-in-one project comprising shops, small office home office units and serviced apartments. “This project will be launched by May and will have a two-acre landscaped park on the third floor of the retail podium,” Lim said.

He said the yet-unnamed Jalan Kuching project would be launched by August. “This will be an integrated five-in-one project comprising 3-storey shops, a 3-storey retail podium, an 8-storey office tower, two blocks of serviced apartments and a 250-room hotel with an estimated GDV of RM1.1bil,” Lim said, adding that the company was looking for a joint-venture partner for the mall, which would be retained for recurrent income.

Both projects are scheduled for completion in 2011.

“We've not gotten into any serious negotiations yet although we have three potential partners in mind, one of which is local. We hope to conclude a deal in the next six months,” Lim said.

He said the mall, with an estimated net lettable area of 1million sq ft, would be modelled along the lines of malls that had been coming up throughout the South-East Asian region in the past two to three years.

Lim said there may be another integrated project on the cards should negotiations for a project located in Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle be successful.

“Hopefully in the next one or two months we'll be able to conclude the negotiations, which will be a joint venture with a landowner,” he said, adding that the project would include a Grade A office tower among its components.

Lim said the company would continue to pursue the strategy of sourcing for projects in matured areas of the Klang Valley. “We'll continue to look for areas in which we can develop high-density projects, this is the model we'll continue to work on, and going forward we'll most likely enter into joint ventures with institutional and private landowners in order not to burden our finances,” he said.

Lim said efforts were being made to balance out the revenue stream from the various divisions in the company. “Property development currently contributes 75% of revenue, but going forward we'll like to see a more balanced revenue contribution and hope that construction will contribute at least half,” he said.

At present, most of the construction jobs were from the property development arm but in the future, as the company's brand-building exercise and quality became better known, more projects would come its way from outside. “We'll continue to concentrate on civil works for our construction arm,” he said.

By The Star (by Fintan Ng) (posted on 17th March '08)

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