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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

WCT: No impact from Vietnam in two years

SHAH ALAM: WCT Engineering Bhd does not see its Vietnam operations having any impact on the group at least for the next two years, said chairman Datuk Ahmad Sufian.

It had not budgeted any revenue or cost contribution from the project in the next two years, he said after the company AGM yesterday.

“We have not signed to buy land from any third party, which would have been a risk (with the current turmoil),” executive director Loh Siew Choh said.

Instead, the company would be acquiring land through the government for its Platinum Plaza project there, he said.

While it was negatively affected by high fuel prices, “Vietnam is still a predominantly agricultural economy and with rising food prices the farmers are actually benefiting,” he said.

Building works on Platinum Plaza would begin with the shopping centre in 2010.

WCT has a 67% stake in a maiden joint venture to develop 9ha in Binh Chanh District at the new southern area of Ho Chi Minh City.

Analysts estimate the project, which include retail and entertainment outlets, having a gross development value of US$700mil.

Components of the project include a basement car park with three-storey elevated area, a retail and entertainment centre, and two high-end 22-storey office towers. Total gross floor area is estimated to be 671,960 sq m.

However, Loh said WCT would adjust the construction and investment outlay depending on where the demand was seen headed, possibly reducing the number of floors for the shopping centre.

The project was expected to take three years to build and the shopping mall would be completed by 2013 or 2014, he said adding: “At that time hopefully the downcycle would be over.”

WCT's order book stands at RM5.2bil, of which 70% were overseas projects mainly in the Middle East, said Sufian.

The Dubai racecourse and the Formula 1 track in Abu Dhabi were on track while the shopping centre in Bahrain was near completion, he said.

Deputy managing director Goh Chin Liong said WCT was seeking more projects in the Middle East and exploring North Africa.

“We see that North Africa could be a new growth centre and are now exploring the region.” he said.

By The Star

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