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Monday, December 1, 2008

Naim Cendera wants to venture into peninsula

Note: Financial year ends Dec 31

KUCHING-BASED Naim Cendera Holdings Bhd is looking to venture into Peninsular Malaysia’s property sector in the next three years when the market gets back into high gear.

It is also harbouring plans to expand into neighbouring Sabah as well as venture overseas.

Corporate affairs director Ricky Kho said although the management team had done some studies of the Klang Valley market and looked at some potential land, nothinhg had been firmed up yet.

“We will not rush into Peninsular Malaysia until we are ready. The property market here is different from our home base in Sarawak. It will take time to learn about the market conditions before we can move in,” Kho told StarBiz.

The company is studying various proposals, including joint ventures with potential partners. The current market slowdown will be a good time to expand its land-bank.

Naim Cendera has RM500mil of unutilised bonds and about RM70mil in cash reserve which could be used to buy land.

Having gained a higher profile with the recent accolade bestowed by FIABCI Malaysia on its managing director Datuk Hasmi Hasnan, who was named Property Man of the Year at the Malaysia Property Award 2008, the developer is looking forward to more good breaks.

Since its foray into property development nearly 15 years ago, Naim Cendera has built some 15,000 houses in Sarawak with a cumulative gross development value (GDV) of RM1.8bil.

Its flagship developments are Miri’s Permyjaya New Township, Desa Ilmu in the university town of Kota Samarahan and the upmarket Riveria satellite township in Kuching’s southern corridor.

Under Hasmi’s dynamic stewardship, Naim Cendera is now Sarawak’s biggest housing developer.

To strengthen its market leadership, the company plans to expand its market share in the state to 30% from 20% now.

It also aims to triple its annual sales to 3,000 houses from the current average of 1,000 units.

Nearly 80% of the houses built by Naim Cendera are priced from RM150,000 to RM200,000, with the balance comprising high-end residencial units of up to RM1mil.

“Our aim is to be a one-stop property shop, offering a complete spectrum of property-related products and services.

“However, with the market slowdown, sales for the current financial year ending Dec 31 (FY08) are expected to moderate to about RM200mil from RM225mil in FY07,” Kho said.

Naim Cendera’s huge land-bank of almost 2,800 acres, including 400 acres in Kuching, have an estimated GDV of RM5bil.

It also owns land in the industrial town of Bintulu, which is located within the Sarawak Corridor for Renewal Energy – an ambitious regional plan to spearhead the state’s second phase of industrial development.

Meanwhile, the company’s construction division has a good spread of projects worth an outstanding order book of RM2.4bil.

Kho said the medium-term prospects remained good and the group was aggressively bidding for more jobs. The target is to clinch RM8bil worth of projects over the next five years.

Given its remarkable track record of timely delivery and award-winning quality, he said the prospects for securing these contracts looked good.

Meanwhile, Naim Cendera’s venture into the fast-expanding oil and gas sector is making significant contributions to its bottom line.

For FY07, its new oil and gas division contributed 10% to group revenue of RM646mil. The division has achieved the status of a Petronas-licensed contractor for major construction, civil, and mechanical and engineering works.

“Going forward, the company’s plans would involve gradual diversification, but only into areas where its core competencies as well as capital and human assets can be leveraged to maximise shareholder value,” Kho said.

By The Star (by Angie Ng)

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