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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

UEM Land listing prospectus to be out by mid-Oct

A PROSPECTUS for the planned November listing of UEM Land Bhd will be issued in about two months, officials said.

UEM Land is being listed in place of its parent, UEM World Bhd, under a group reorganisation which will see UEM Land emerge as a more focused property player.

UEM World, meanwhile, will end up as a RM2 dormant company.

UEM Land's biggest project and main focus for now is Nusajaya, a 4,047-hectare commercial and residential development in Johor, but in due course, it will handle more projects, said UEM Group Bhd managing director Datuk Ahmad Pardas Senin.

"The intention is for UEM Land to expand and diversify beyond just Nusajaya. It may also include the option of acquiring new landbank in other parts of the country or even overseas," he told reporters yesterday after shareholders approved the group's reorganisation plan.

UEM Land managing director Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim had said in May that any overseas investments by the company would be made in 2010 at the earliest.

Ahmad Pardas said the group has had exploratory discussions with many parties over potential land buys and projects.

"This is in the process of business development and evaluation, but whether or not we enter into (a deal) depends on the economics of it and whether or not it fits into UEM Land's strategy," he said.

With UEM Land's improved balanced sheet and gearing of about 1.3 times, it will be able to borrow to fund new undertakings, he added.

Details of UEM Land's projects, landbank and strategy will be included in its prospectus, to be issued "in less than two months", he said.

On the second Penang bridge, Ahmad Pardas said UEM Group will continue to work on the bridge "unless told otherwise by other parties".

"The construction continues as we speak. So far at UEM Group Bhd, there has not been any formal instruction to do otherwise," he said, adding that the group had spent more than RM200 million on the works to date.

UEM Builders, a unit of UEM Group, is part of a joint venture building the 24km bridge.

On the government's proposal for toll operators in the Klang Valley to reduce toll rates, Ahmad Pardas said PLUS Expressways Bhd, which is part of UEM Group, will work with the government to find a solution acceptable to all parties.

Discussions with the government are ongoing, he said.

By New Straits Times (by Adeline Paul Raj)

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