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Monday, June 2, 2008

India firm invests in Johor cybercity

Mumbai’s Sunil Mantri to jointly develop RM1.16b Kulai project with MSC Cyberport

SMART PROJECT: An artist’s impression of Bandar MSC Cyberport

MUMBAI-BASED Sunil Mantri Realty Ltd (Sunil Mantri) plans to pump in some US$100 million (RM324 million) to participate in the development of Bandar MSC Cyberport in Kulai, the first Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) cybercity in Johor.

Recently, this Indian property developer signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with MSC Cyberport Sdn Bhd, a public-private partnership to develop, construct, market and fund Bandar MSC Cyberport.

MSC Cyberport chief executive officer Ganesh Kumar Bangah said the Indian company signed the MoU to jointly develop Bandar MSC Cyberport, a RM1.16 billion development within Iskandar Malaysia.

"The US$100 million investment from Sunil Mantri will be injected to develop Phase 1 of Bandar MSC Cyberport, covering a size of 13.2ha. Work on the project is expected to start at the end of the year," he told Business Times.

Ganesh said this foreign direct investment is significant for the development of Bandar MSC Cyberport as it will give the development international credibility and recognition from Indian multinational companies (MNCs) that are already clients or are familiar with Sunil Mantri's successful developments in India.

"This will jump-start foreign information technology (IT) investments in Bandar MSC Cyberport and Iskandar Malaysia," he said.

He said Sunil Mantri and MSC Cyberport will cooperate to develop Bandar MSC Cyberport, and does not rule out the possibility of the establishment of a joint-venture company to carry out the project.

"We are in the midst of finalising the details of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to conduct the development and will make the announcement on the set-up of the SPV in due course," he said.

Elaborating on Bandar MSC Cyberport, Ganesh said the project is a 60ha information, communication and technology (ICT) city development located in Kulai, within Iskandar Malaysia where the Second Link and the North-South Expressway meet.

"It will be a mixed development with residential, commercial and ICT spaces targeting the IT operations of MNCs, while developing local technology companies and technopreneurs.

"The cybercity will be ready in phases, starting end of 2008 to 2009," he said.

MSC Cyberport was established to create a global ICT business hub, with a world-class living environment for ICT companies worldwide within Iskandar Malaysia. This is in line with the government's MSC Malaysia initiative.

Bandar MSC Cyberport is operated and managed by MSC Cyberport Sdn Bhd, 30 per cent-owned associate of Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor Sdn Bhd, which in turn is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Johor government.

The cybercity at present covers two designated locations, namely Menara MSC Cyberport and Bandar MSC Cyberport. It is envisioned that these two hubs will serve as a vehicle to initiate and facilitate the growth of ICT and knowledge-based industries in Johor.

It is based on the hub and spoke concept, each having its own unique strength and cost-effective base for ICT companies targeting emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

By New Straits Times (by Kamarul Yunus)

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