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Friday, October 24, 2008

i-Berhad expects RM2b township to drive profit

I-BERHAD, a home appliances maker turned property developer, expects to see double-digit growth in its net profit this year.

Director Eu Hong Chew said this would be driven by its RM2 billion integrated commercial township in Shah Alam, known as i-City.

Last year, the company made a net profit of RM1.9 million.

"The main (profit) drivers will be the investment by Al Rajhi Bank as well as our tenancies," he told reporters after a media preview of i-City yesterday.

A few months ago, Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank, the world's largest Islamic banking group, paid RM95 million to buy some commercial space in the first phase of the township's development.

i-City, which spans 72 acres and has MSC Cybercentre status, has so far managed to attract 12 companies, including two multinationals, to take up tenancy since obtaining its certificate of fitness six weeks ago.

Another eight companies are expected to move in before the end of the year, said Eu.

These 20 companies would take up about 30 per cent to 40 per cent of the township's office space.

Eu said 100 per cent office tenancy would be possible by the middle of next year as there has been strong demand for space.

He pointed out that developments like i-City stand apart from others in that it is an information, communications and technology (ICT)-based township.

"These are the kind of services office users are looking for, and they are market-driven," he said.

He added that i-City, envisioned to be a digital city, is on track to be fully completed by 2015 as planned, with a shopping mall, an innovation centre, corporate office towers, serviced apartments and hotels.

Eu said the company does not expect to defer any launches and that its fiscal performance is unlikely to be affected by any economic slowdown next year.

I-Berhad is also keen to do joint venture developments with other landowners outside of the Klang Valley.

"We have been approached by two or three developers to see if we can bring the i-City concept to their developments," Eu said, adding that such plans are still at a preliminary stage.

By New Straits Times (by Adeline Paul Raj)

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