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Monday, August 18, 2008

Iconic IJM Land in the making

Datuk Soam Heng Choon with the model of the group's Ampersand@Kia Peng project

IJM Land Bhd, the new listed vehicle of the merged RB Land Bhd and IJM Properties Sdn Bhd, has big plans to build up its reputation as a leading property player of iconic projects in the country.

Being IJM Corp Bhd’s property development arm, the company also has the advantage of leveraging on the construction expertise of its parent.

IJM Construction is the main contractor for several high-end condominium projects in the KLCC vicinity including The Binjai, Park Seven and Troika.

According to IJM Land managing director Datuk Soam Heng Choon, RB Land and IJM Properties, being subsidiaries of construction groups, were regarded more as contractors than developers.

With the merger, IJM Land now have the combined strengths of its enlarged landbank and enhanced building capability to make an impact as a trusted developer of quality niche properties and new townships.

The merger of the two entities in April has created one of the largest property companies locally with landbank of 10,000 acres and other assets with total market value of RM3bil.

IJM Properties owns 7,000 acres while RB Land has 3,000 acres. The total land has a potential gross development value (GDV) of more than RM20bil to be realised over the next 20 years.

The huge landbank, which is geographically diversified in the Klang Valley, Penang, Negri Sembilan, Johor and Sabah, makes IJM Land one of the top property developers in the country.

“The multiple locations offer us the flexibility to change our product mix and project launches according to market demand. This is an important advantage in the current challenging market conditions,” IJM Land managing director Datuk Soam Heng Choon told StarBiz.

The two companies have projects in different parts of the country, which complement each other.

IJM Properties’ notable projects include PJ8 in Petaling Jaya, Ampersand@Kia Peng – a high-end condominium project in the KLCC area, Manda’rina mixed residential project in Cheras and another project in Saujana Puchong, Ukay Green in Ulu Kelang and Riana Green East in Wangsa Maju.

In Sandakan, Sabah, IJM Properties is involved in a 320-acre housing project.

As for RB Land, its flagship projects are the Seremban 2 and Shah Alam 2 townships, and semi-detached houses and bungalows in Bayu Segar, Cheras, and Bayu Sri Bintang in Kuala Lumpur.

Soam said the enlarged RB Land would be involved in more commercial developments in future. Turnover from commercial projects is set to double to 40% in the next two to three years.

“One of the immediate benefits of the merger is to tap into each other’s expertise as well as share staff for various projects.

“While RB Land has a lot of township building expertise, IJM Properties has expertise in building high-rise residences, notably condominiums,” Soam said.

IJM Land is poised to be a core division of the IJM group as property development is expected to contribute significantly to group profits.

For the financial year ended March 31, 2007, property development contributed 24%, or RM77.1mil, to IJM Corp’s pre-tax profit of RM318.9mil.

The completion of the merger next month will also result in the number of issued shares in RB Land expanding to 1.1 billion of RM1.25 each from 568 million currently.

“The improved share capital base will place the company on a firmer financial footing to take advantage of opportunities in the market and improve the market’s perception of its financial strength,” Soam said.

The market capitalisation of RB Land is also expected to double from around RM660mil currently.

With the completion of the streamlining of IJM’s property development business in April, IJM Land is ready to move into the second stage, which is the rebranding exercise to create a strong presence in the market.

“The rebranding initiatives that will involve the whole works of the company’s business processes will kick off next month.

“More emphasis will be placed on customer service excellence and relationship building as well as raising the brand awareness of IJM Land as a reputable developer with quality products to offer,” Soam said.

By The Star - StarBiz - (by Angie Ng)

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