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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Talam to exit PN17 next year

KUALA LUMPUR: Talam Corp Bhd is aiming to get out of the financially troubled status of Practice Note 17 by January next year after shareholders approved its debt restructuring and turnaround plan yesterday.

The plan involves the issuance of Islamic debt securities, preference shares and loan stocks, and hiving off non-core assets.

Executive director Chua Kim Lan said the exercise would cut the group’s debts to about RM400mil from more than RM740mil currently.

“And with this revamp plan, Talam would be able to reduce its gearing ratio to 0.7 from 2.37 in the financial year ended Jan 31 (FY08). Paid up capital will be RM800mil,” she said after the company’s EGM yesterday.

“We (will) progressively divest our non-core investment businesses such as colleges, shopping centres and hotels. As long as the price is right we will sell the business for the purpose of working capital and loan reduction,” she said, adding that Talam was also looking into selling its commercial and industry land.

Talam has a landbank of about 4 thousand acres in Selangor, excluding joint venture (JV) land, located mainly in Puchong and Bukit Beruntung.

On the group’s stalled housing projects, Chua said almost all of the 10,000 previously abandoned housing units would be completed by end-2009 with an unbilled gross development value (GDV) of RM800mil. Last year, Talam awarded IJM Construction Sdn Bhd (IJMC) two contracts valued at RM700mil and RM125mil respectively to complete its abandoned housing projects.

Talam also has a JV with IJMC to develop a 35-storey residential and commercial project in Changchun, China.

“The project, which is now constructed up to eight-storeys, is expected to be launched in the third quarter of 2009. The GDV is about RM500mil,” she said, adding that Talam and its partners were looking for more integrated development projects in China.

By The Star (by Law Kai Chow)

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