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Friday, May 9, 2008

Hap Seng to build up presence in Klang Valley

NG: The company is looking for strategic locations to build new structures as well as buy buildings that can be retrofitted with modern designs

SABAH'S largest property developer Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd plans to build and buy more commercial buildings in the Klang Valley to expand its property development and investment portfolio.

It is looking for strategic locations to build new structures as well as buy buildings that can be retrofitted with modern designs, said chief executive of its property division, Datuk Paul Ng Kee Seng.

"Our priority to own and construct buildings is in Kuala Lumpur, but they must be good investments. We also have plans to buy other (existing) buildings and refurbish them, adopting the same concept that we have with Menara Hap Seng," Ng said at the media preview of The Podium.

The company bought its first major property - Menara Hap Seng (previously known as MUI Plaza) and two adjoining parcels of land within Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle from MUI Properties Bhd for RM190 million cash in 2004.

The Podium is a unique three-storey lifestyle commercial centre, which is part of the newly refurbished 21-floor Menara Hap Seng, located on Jalan P. Ramlee.

It has a modern chic and contemporary grand office lobby and 80,000 sq ft of net lettable space where RM30 million was spent to give it an uplift from the earlier design.

Ng said 65 per cent of the floor space has been taken up by tenants, comprising eateries, retail outlets, banks and specialty stores.

It expects to achieve 100 per cent occupancy by year-end.

"We are leasing the units in the Podium for RM5 per sq ft to RM20 per sq ft, while for the office tower, which is 99 per cent occupied, the units have been rented out at RM6 per sq ft. The rate is cheap considering that it is a Grade A commercial building," Ng said.

"We expect minimal contribution this year since most of the tenants are still moving in. The bulk would flow in from next year," he added.

For the fiscal year ended January 31 2008, the group's net profit jumped eight-fold to RM809.9 million while revenue was up 29 per cent to RM2.24 billion.

"Visitors and tenants can look forward to the opening of more outlets and new facilities, including a full-fledged auditorium and seminar centre soon. In all, we hope to establish an ideal place for people to meet and network," Ng said.

By New Straits Times (by Sharen Kaur)

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