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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Berjaya Land to proceed with overseas projects

BERJAYA Land Bhd (BLand), which has excess cash of RM1.8 billion from asset disposal and sale of loan stocks last year, will use more than half of it to fund overseas projects.

The projects are in Vietnam, South Korea and Libya, worth about RM50 billion, which will be released in phases over the next eight to 10 years, chief executive officer Datuk Francis Ng said.

Ng is cautious but bullish about the prospects, despite the current uncertainties in the global economy.

"We may rope in partners to work on the projects in Vietnam to cushion the volatile market. We believe demand will pick up due to the population size and the need for housing," he said after signing an agreement with Hanju Savanna (M) Sdn Bhd for the sale of Covillea Bukit Jalil condominiums in Kuala Lumpur for RM150 million.

BLand has four projects in Vietnam - the RM6.8 billion Vietnam Financial Centre and RM24.03 billion university township project in Ho Chi Minh City; Bien Hoa City Square in Dong Nai province worth RM752 million; and Thach Ban New City in Hanoi worth RM1.64 billion - launching from next year.

It plans to launch the RM11 billion Berjaya Jeju Resort development project in South Korea by the first quarter of next year and the RM6.8 billion integrated golf resort-cum-residential and commercial project in Tripoli, Libya, by mid-2009, Ng said.

"We expect the property division to contribute 50 per cent to the company's revenue by 2012 from 20 per cent currently. From the amount, 30 per cent will come from overseas projects," Ng said.

For fiscal year ended April 30 2008, BLand achieved a net profit of RM1.14 billion, largely from selling KL Plaza in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, for RM470.6 million; two hotels in Seychelles for RM201 million; and irredeemable convertible unsecured loan stocks amounting to RM938.1 million.

Revenue tripled to RM1.52 billion due to the consolidation of Berjaya Sport Toto Bhd as a BLand unit.

Ng said earnings for the current year may dip due to outflow of investment funds for overseas projects.

Locally, BLand will launch 110 units of double storey houses or phase 2 of Berjaya Park in Shah Alam, Selangor, next month and 25 units of luxury bungalows worth RM175 million in Seputeh Heights, Kuala Lumpur, by December.

Ng said BLand is looking for en bloc buyers for the properties and also for its future launches.

"We hope to achieve RM350 million in sales by the end of the current fiscal year, from RM200 million currently," he added.

By New Straits Times (by Sharen Kaur)

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