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Monday, June 23, 2008

Ben Rautin eyes more China projects

BEN Rautin Sdn Bhd, a global trading firm is set to strengthen its foothold in China, eyeing for projects in the petrochemical, residential and tourism-related industries, with a combined projected investment of US$7 billion (RM22.75 billion) in Beihai City.

Its founder and managing director Ismail Rautin Ibrahim said the company has been approached by the Beihai City Foreign Investment Services Bureau to spearhead the development of the three potential industries in the city, which is located in the Guangxi province.

Ismail: Ben Rautin is looking for partners to develop the petrochemical, residential and tourism areas in Beihai

"The bureau sent an invitation letter to me on May 9, seeking the company's 30 years experience in China to participate in the development of the three industries in Beihai.

"They want the group to spearhead a group of international and local companies to help develop the three industries in the city," he told Business Times in Kuala Lumpur.

Ismail said he went on May 12 to explore the potential areas for the mammoth projects in Beihai, the second largest city in Guangxi after Nanning.

"It was originally intended to be an exploratory and investigative mission to seek the potential of the projects but it turned out to be a confirmed participation on our part.

"Both the group and the bureau are currently drafting a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop the areas into a petrochemical hub, mini city and tourism destination in Beihai.

"We hope to sign the MoU by July before the starting of the Olympics Games slated for August," he said.

Ismail said Ben Rautin could not tackle all the projects by itself, and is looking for partners to develop the petrochemical, residential and tourism areas in Beihai.

He indicated that the company may tie up with a Qatar company for the petrochemical portion, and with a Taiwanese property developer for the residential area.

Ben Rautin entered China's market in 1977, initially for trading activities. Its earlier major project included the construction of residential and commercial properties in Guizhou province in 1990s.

On the company's other projects in China, Ismail said they are still progressing but need time to settle various issues, including land matters.

It was reported that Ben Rautin has a working interest in the development of a petrochemical complex and port projects in Lufeng City. The initial cost of these projects in Lufeng City amounted to about US$7 billion.

Ben Rautin was also offered a stake to participate in the US$6.1 billion (RM19.83 billion) hydropower project along the Amoijiang river in southern China. Singapore-based Penstone Power Ltd, one of the three companies that secured the hydropower deal, has invited Ben Rautin to participate in the project.

By New Straits Times (by Kamarul Yunus)

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