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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mah Sing to proceed with Vietnam foray

Vietnam’s overheating economy provides opportunities to buy cheaper land and launch products.

PROPERTY developer Mah Sing Group Bhd will proceed with its RM1 billion planned township project in Vietnam, despite the country's high inflation and slowing economy.

"Vietnam's overheating economy provides opportunities to buy land more cheaply and launch products as other developers shy away," Mah Sing Properties Sdn Bhd chief operating officer Ng Heng Phai told Business Times during a preview of a new residential project, called "Hijauan Residences", in Cheras, Selangor, yesterday.

Ng Heng Phai Chief operating officer Mah Sing Properties

"We are evaluating the situation. We have identified some land and will cautiously plan the project with our local partner (in Vietnam) to mark our first foray overseas," he said.

Ng added that Mah Sing, which has a sales target of RM560 million for this year, is also exploring China aggressively.

It also wants to move into Sabah and Sarawak, although it will be busy for the next five years with 14 ongoing projects worth over RM3.3 billion in Penang, Johor and the Klang Valley.

"As a group, we always seek opportunities to grow the business. While we are into property development with a good balance of commercial and residential, we won't diversify," he said.

He, however, did not discount the possibility of launching industrial projects in the future.

Later, at a press conference, Ng said Mah Sing will increase prices of its new properties, launched in 2009, by 15 to 20 per cent to mitigate higher construction costs.

The company has been selling houses based on old prices as the projects were launched a year or two ago and were more than half-way built when rising fuel and raw material costs came into effect this year.

On Hijauan Residences, the company is launching Phase Two of the development, comprising 30 units of garden bungalows worth RM40 million by November, and Phase Three, consisting 78 units of four-storey villas each worth over RM2 million by the second quarter of 2009.

"We sold the first phase in eight months after the launch. The market for high-end products are still hot compared with the low- and medium-range, and those priced RM300,000 to RM500,000," Ng said.

Phase One, which will be constructed by the end of this year, features 122 units of two- and three-storey semi-detached houses, priced at RM583,000 and RM700,000 respectively.

Ng said Mah Sing is considering buying more land in Cheras to build niche projects as it offers good earning potential.

By New Straits Times (by Sharen Kaur)

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