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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ireka laying groundwork for projects in Vietnam

IREKA Corp Bhd, which has over RM500 million worth of construction jobs in hand in Sabah and the Klang Valley, is preparing to work on new projects next year including in Vietnam.

Its associate firm, London-listed Aseana Properties Ltd, is finalising the master layout plan for approval for a 32ha seafront resort and residential development in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, worth more than US$200 million (RM728 million).

The project will be developed in two phases, which involve building villas, a hotel and resort homes, executive director Lai Voon Hon said.

"We are currently working on the submission of plans and will assess the market conditions before launching this project," he told Business Times.

In Vietnam, Aseana has plans to launch seven property projects in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Danang worth a combined US$2 billion (RM7.28 billion). It has submitted development plans for most of the projects to the local authorities in Vietnam for approvals.

Lai said it expects to launch by next year Queen's Place and Hi-Tech Healthcare Park, worth a combined US$650 million (RM2.36 billion), in Ho Chi Minh City.

Queen's Place will comprise twin residential towers, offices, serviced apartments and retail space.

Other projects in the pipeline are Wall Street Centre, Nam Khang Resort & Residences and One Saigon.

In addition, Aseana's stake in Nam Long Corp, Vietnam's leading property developer with over 500ha under its belt, will hold water.

Lai said through the partnership, Aseana expects to co-develop at least four property projects in Ho Chi Minh City and in neighbouring provinces.

There is currently a shortage of housing in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, which are attracting Malaysian developers such as WCT Engineering Bhd, SP Setia Bhd and Bina Puri Holdings Bhd to those areas.

Prices of high-end residential condominiums in Ho Chi Minh City remain high at US$1,500 (RM5,460) to US$4,000 (RM14,560) per sq m, while Grade A office rental rates reflect an upward momentum. Demand is growing but there is tight supply.

People's Committee of Long An Province in Ho Chi Minh City vice-chairman Nguyen Thanh Nguyen said Vietnam is opening its doors to foreign investors for infrastructure and building works in the country.

"Foreign direct investments in Vietnam has grown from US$20 billion (RM72.8 billion) last year to US$60 billion (RM218.4 billion) year to-date. Our local and foreign banks are lending. We have a few Malaysian firms looking for investments here now," he told Business Times via email.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

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