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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

UEM Land plans REITs, may invest overseas

UEM Land, the development unit of Malaysia’s third-biggest construction company, plans to start real estate investment trusts and new projects as it prepares for a listing this year.

State-controlled UEM Land, whose Nusajaya commercial and residential project is Malaysia’s largest, may also invest overseas from 2010 to emulate CapitaLand Ltd, Southeast Asia’s largest property company, managing director Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim said yesterday.

“We aspire to be something of that size and that diversified,” Wan Abdullah said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur, referring to Singapore-based CapitaLand. “We even have initiatives like REITs on the table. We cannot rely on just Nusajaya to be our bread and butter.”

UEM Land, controlled by UEM World, is due to start trading in Kuala Lumpur by September in a reorganisation to attract investors to the group’s real estate unit. The company wants to cut its reliance on Nusajaya, a 24,000-acre (9,712-hectare) government-backed development that provides almost all the company’s income.

Malaysia’s ruling coalition, in power since independence in 1957, suffered its worst election result in March. Some analysts raised concern the weakened government may slow state-backed projects.

“Investors still fear for some reason that projects may not be deployed as strongly as they would have been,” said Vincent Khoo, head of research at Aseambankers Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. “There’s enough uncertainty on this project.”

By Bloomberg

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