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Friday, April 18, 2008

Tune-ing in to properties

PIONEER PROJECT: An artist’s impression of Harbour Place

TUNE Group, famous for popularising the budget business model, is going into properties.

Its first project is a shopping complex and office building in Klang, a town known for its ports that are the nation's trading gateway.

Tune Group will hold all its property business under Tune Properties, following a restructuring exercise that will be completed within a year.

"The Harbour Place in Klang will be our first project under Tune Properties. From there, we will expand into other types of properties," Datuk Kamarudin Meranun told Business Times in a phone interview recently.

Kamarudin and Datuk Tony Fernandes are the founders of Tune Group, which now owns Asia's biggest budget airline, low-cost hotel operator Tune Hotels, and financial services provider Tune Money, to name a few.

Kamarudin hinted that Tune Properties might have a more diverse portfolio.

The group will hire Tan Eng Wah, the former director of Tan & Tan Development Bhd, to run Tune Properties.

Tan has more than 25 years of experience in the property business, encompassing hotels, shopping complexes and even hospitals.

Strategically located along the main Klang highway connecting Klang town and Port Klang, Harbour Place will be positioned as a suburban shopping complex to serve the mushrooming Klang neighbourhoods.

It is targeted to open by the third or fourth quarter of this year.

Kamarudin currently holds 63 per cent of Chestar Properties Sdn Bhd, the owner, developer and operator of the project.

The entire project, which comprises a shopping mall and an office suite tower, has a gross development value of RM420 million.

Kamarudin said the whole idea would be in line with the philosophy of Tune Group, which is to offer affordable products and services to an underserved market.

He said Harbour Place is a classic example of such a venture.

"You find that there are hardly any quality shopping malls in Klang, while Kuala Lumpur is almost bursting with such complexes," Kamarudin said.

Other private initiatives under the Tune brand are Tune Talk, Tune Entertainment, Tune Games and Tune Media.

By New Straits Times (by Presenna Nambiar)

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