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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

An artist's impression of Kluang Mall

PETALING JAYA: The Kluang Mall in Kluang, Johor — Majupadu Development Sdn Bhd's maiden commerical development — is expected to fi ll the needs of residents living in the area, said RCMC Sdn Bhd retail consultant Richard Chan. RCMC is the consultant for the development, that conducted a market study prior to the commencement of the first commercial
project for the Kluang-based developer.

“We believe the timing is right [for the project to kick off] as people living in the area are becoming more affluent and have stronger spending power,” he said, adding that the new mall would have a ready catchment of some 300,000 people with household incomes averaging about
RM4,000 per month.

Located on a 6.5-acre leasehold tract, the shopping mall is situated along Jalan Rambutan, a major access route in the heart of the town centre to several established residential schemes including, Niyor and Chamek in the north, Ayer Hitam and Sri Lalang in the west, Renggam in the south, and Kahang in the west.

The 2 ½-storey building has a gross area of about 800,000 sq ft with a net lettable area of 450,000 sq ft. It also has a 550ft-wide frontage and 1,200 parking bays. “In terms of size, it might not be able to compete with major shopping malls [in the Klang Valley] but Kluang Mall will be the largest in the district within a 50km radius,” Chan said.

He added that the mall would introduce a modern shopping experience to the residents staying in the area. According to him, there are currently two other smaller shopping centres in the vicinity with net lettable areas of less than 200,000 sq ft.

“It will also have a contemporary design, similar to modern malls in the Klang Valley such as One Utama and Mid Valley Megamall. Design elements include 18ft high shop fronts, spacious walkways between 35ft and 53ft wide and large atriums for exhibitions and promotions,” he said.

Kluang Mall is expected to be completed by the end of this year and would be open to the public before Chinese New Year 2009.

It has a gross development value (GDV) of RM90 million.

Majupadu Development managing director AK Tey said the mall would spur business activity in the area and offer more shopping variety for Kluang residents by attracting new, reputable brands not available previously. “Pacific Group will become the anchor tenant, taking up 120,000 sq ft over two levels, with other major retailers coming in include Popular Bookstores, Secret Recipe and Capcom Family Theme Park,” he said.

He added that the group intends to elevate the lifestyles of the residents and change the business landscape of Kluang.

“We hope to target not only the mass market but also the middle- to higher-income groups,” he said.

Majupadu Development is the Kluangbased developer of several residential schemes there such as Taman Gunung Lambak, Taman Majupadu and Taman Delima. The developer’s latest project
is Taman Delima 2, a mixed residential development of 1,189 units with a GDV of RM200 million.

“The first phase comprising about 1,000 units has been fully sold and completed.

Phase 2, consisting of 126 units of 1-storey terraces and 2-storey semi-dees launched in the third quarter of last year has seen a take-up of some 85%,” he said.

Future projects by the group include the development of 10 shop office units and a 120-room hotel in Kluang’s town centre as well as a 6.23-acre commercial development in the outskirts.

By theSun (by Yap Yew Jin)

Sarawak corridor draws RM500bil

The private investment exceeds state's target

SIBU: The Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score) got off to a great start with some RM500bil worth of private investment committed at its launch in Bintulu yesterday.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the proposed investment was made in 24 memoranda of understanding (MOUs) signed during the launch.

The proposed investment has already exceeded the RM334bil that the Sarawak Government said was required to fully develop the regional economic corridor by 2030.

Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said the proposed investment included for the fisheries sector by Australian companies that were not earlier anticipated.

“I am very pleased that on the first day (of the launch of Score), the private sector has already come forward and indicated intention to invest in Sarawak,” Abdullah said after opening the Centennial Hall of SMK St Elizabeth at Jalan Oya here yesterday.

He said the development of oil and gas as well as hydro resources, infrastructure, transport and communications sectors in Sarawak required very big investment, and there were also plans to develop heavy industries.

“The private sector investment is expected to be more than the amount we have indicated in our plans. This augurs well for Sarawak,” he said.

The energy-intensive industries to be set up within the corridor are at least two aluminium smelters.

Sarawak Energy Bhd, Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd (CMS) and Rio Tinto Aluminium Ltd inked a RM5.25bil deal for the supply of 1100MW of energy. Other deals signed included:

·Sarawak Energy and Press Metal Bhd for the supply of 510MW worth RM2.5bil;

·Sarawak Energy and Sime Darby Bhd for 2,400MW from Bakun and undersea transmission line worth RM22.5bil;

·Sarawak Energy and Tenaga Nasional Bhd to analyse energy options, develop coal potentials and infrastructure worth RM50bil;

·Carbon Capital Corp Sdn Bhd and Japan Carbon Mercantile Co Ltd for a biodiesel plant worth RM1bil;

·Konsortium Galdasar Sdn Bhd and Yuh Yow Fisheries Taiwan for a 800ha aquaculture project worth RM100mil;

·Konsortium Galdasar and Shei Chui Oceanic Enterprise Taiwan for shipbuilding worth RM40mil;

·Bintulu Development Authority and Zinc Ox Resources England for zinc electro refinery plant worth US$350mil;

·Sarawak Energy and a consortium of banks for RM3bil to RM20bil in financial deals;

·CMS and Rio Tinto on training for its aluminium smelter;

·CMS and Rio Tinto and Aluminium Pechinery for the supply of technology to Salco aluminium smelter; and

·CMS, MMC Corp Bhd and Pan Kingdom Investment Co for financial deals worth US$1.5bil.

In terms of area of coverage and monetary investment, the Sarawak regional development corridor has topped the other development corridors in the country. A total area of hinterland measuring 70,000 sq km is expected to be developed, affecting more than 600,000 people.

According to the development blueprint yesterday, the core projects would involve the setting up of power generation plants to churn out at least 20,000MW of electricity.

High priority sectors have also been identified for development – petroleum, aluminium, metal production, glass production, tourism, palm oil plantations, livestock, fishing, timber plantations, aquaculture and marine engineering which includes ship-building and ports construction.

Abdullah yesterday allocated an initial sum of RM5bil in federal funds towards the development corridor in Sarawak.

By The Star (by Jack Wong, Sharon Ling & Stephen Then)

Malaysia launches billion$ Sarawak development plan

MALAYSIAN Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has launched a development project worth nearly US$100 billion to fuel growth in resource-rich Sarawak.

Abdullah said the government would spend an initial RM5 billion (US$1.54 billion) to kickstart the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy, with private investment targeted at RM300 billion (US$93 billion).

The Sarawak plan — the last of five regional economic blueprints being rolled out — focuses on developing the state’s energy resources of hydropower, coal, natural gas and petroleum.

“The development, distribution and consumption of energy is a core element leading to the success of the Sarawak Corridor,” Abdullah said at the launch.

The premier said the project aims to bring economic growth and eradicate poverty in the predominantly rural state by 2030, by creating some 800,000 jobs and luring billons in private investment.

“It’s not going to be less than RM300 billion (ringgit). It’s a huge amount but it involves large developments in various fields ... in Sarawak, which is a very large (state),” he said.

The area earmarked for development is a 320-kilometre stretch along the Borneo coast facing the South China Sea, and covers an area of 70,708 square kilometres — 57 per cent of the state.

Officials say the main engine of growth for the project is the use of hydroelectricity supplied by the Bakun Dam to power various large-scale heavy industries.

Abdullah yesterday witnessed the signing of a RM5.25 billion power-supply deal between Rio Tinto Alcan and Malaysian utility Sarawak Energy Bhd for a planned aluminium smelter on Borneo island.

Rio Tinto and local partner Cahaya Mata Sarawak (CMS) have proposed building a US$2 billion smelter, which would be among the world’s largest.

Sarawak Energy also signed an agreement with Press Metal Bhd. to supply 510 megawatts of electricity to a RM2.5 billion aluminum smelter project that will commence operations in July 2010.

Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby Berhad and Sarawak Energy Berhad also inked a deal worth RM22 billion to manage the 2400-megawatt Bakun dam and construct its transmission cables.

The two companies will also undertake a project to lay undersea power cables to transmit electricity from the dam to peninsular Malaysia. - AFP

By New Straits Times

IOI Properties set to unveil project in IDR

Developer to launch Taman Kempas Utama by second quarter

JOHOR BARU: IOI Properties Bhd will launch a mixed property development along the North-South Expressway (NSE) in Kempas.

General manager (property division) Simon Heng said Taman Kempas Utama would be launched by the second quarter of the year.

He said the project, on a 101.171ha, would have 2,000 residential and commercial units. Of the land, 20.2ha will be allocated for light industrial buildings.

We plan to offer high-end doublestorey link houses with gated and guarded and smarthome concepts« SIMON HENG

“It is timely for us to have a project in the Johor Baru district after our success in the ongoing Bandar Putra Kulai project,’’ Heng told StarBiz in a telephone interview.

He said the location of Taman Kempas Utama in the Kempas-Tebrau growth corridor within the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) augur well for the company.

Heng said the project was easily accessible from the NSE after the Skudai toll plaza, Jalan Kempas Lama and Jalan Senai-Seelong.

He said the Kempas-Tebrau corridor was currently the hottest spot for property development in south Johor with more than 10 ongoing projects.

Heng said the outlook for the property sector in south Johor was promising and some of the biggest names in housing development were launching projects there.

He said IOI Properties was still working on the gross development value of the project, adding that it would take between eight and 10 years to develop the scheme.

“We plan to offer high-end double-storey link houses with gated and guarded and smart-home concepts,’’ he said.

Heng said the demand for high-end houses was growing in the IDR, especially with the presence of more developers from the Klang Valley.

He said IOI Properties was targeting upgraders, especially existing house owners in Kempas-Tebrau area, as they would prefer to buy houses within the vicinity.

He said the company was also looking at professionals and foreign buyers.

He said the continuous inflow of foreign investment and the creation of some 800,000 jobs over the next 15 years in the IDR would push up demand for houses there.

By The Star (by Zazali Musa)

TTDI sees record earnings this year

TTDI Development Sdn Bhd expects a record after tax earnings this year, helped by sales of current projects and those from new launches, its chief said.

It expects profit to jump 36 per cent to RM85 million in the year to December 31 2008. Revenue should triple to RM600 million.

The company made RM62.5 million in after tax profit on top of RM204 million revenue last year.

"We are confident of achieving our target, largely driven by several new developments taking shape this year," group managing director Datuk Johan Ariffin told Business Times in an interview.

In 2006, TTDI posted an after tax profit of RM31.4 million, on the back of a RM162 million revenue.

The developer also aims to keep gearing, a measure of debt, below 0.5 times. It has debt of RM142 million, which is 0.3 times its shareholders' funds currently.

TTDI has 197.6 hectares in Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam. It is developing some 14 commercial and residential projects, plus mixed developments, worth more than RM6 billion.

Its latest product and also its first high-end integrated residential and commercial project is Platinum Park in Kuala Lumpur. The RM4 billion project will be developed over five to eight years on a 3.64ha site.

Johan said TTDI is expected to sign a second enbloc sale for another tower at Platinum Park this year, worth some RM550 million.

Platinum Park comprises seven towers. The first tower, a 50-storey office block, was sold to the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) for RM640.7 million last month.

TTDI aims to also launch seven new projects this year, with a combined value of RM2 billion.

There are The Valley TTDI in Ampang; Jayamas II in TTDI Jaya, Shah Alam; phase 1 of TTDI Kajang, TTDI Puchong and TTDI Alam Impian; phase 3 of Laman Seri and Laman Seri Business Park in Section 13, Shah Alam.

"These projects will contribute positively to the company's earnings this year. Alam Impian, which will be launched in the second quarter, will contribute RM52 million," Johan said.

Johan said the phase 3 bungalows of Laman Seri are already 54 per cent sold even before the launch. It anticipates a similar success for Laman Seri Business Park, which will generate RM143 million in sales this year.

TTDI has also identified land in real estate hotspots like Penang and Johor to take advantage of rising demand.

"Several projects have and are being studied but, to date, we have not concluded any," Johan said.

TTDI also has long term plans to venture abroad.

Tan Sri S.M. Nasimuddin S.M. Amin, the company's chairman, told Business Times the company is mulling niche developments in Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam in the near future.

"We are looking at various plans to expand and it includes developing landbank jointly with strategic local partners overseas," Nasimuddin said.

By New Straits Times (by Sharen Kaur)

Plan for biggest property IPO

TTDI Development Sdn Bhd, well-known for its Taman Tun Dr Ismail township in Kuala Lumpur, is set to launch Malaysia's biggest property initial public offering (IPO) this year, its top official says.

The property arm of the Naza Group, TTDI has hired CIMB Investment Bank Bhd to arrange the IPO and listing.

"The IPO targets a market capitalisation of at least RM850 million," TTDI group managing director Datuk Johan Ariffin told Business Times in an interview recently.

It plans to list its shares on the main board of Bursa Malaysia in the third quarter of 2008. It will submit a listing request to the Securities Commission by March or April, Johan said.

The IPO will ride on a wave of excitement over the property market. Easier rules have spurred strong demand for high-end residential properties.
There is also strong interest from foreign and local investors for commercial property in Kuala Lumpur.

TTDI currently has projects in hand worth more than RM6 billion.

Its biggest project is the RM4 billion Platinum Park commercial and residential project at Jalan Stonor, Kuala Lumpur.

"TTDI aims to raise an estimated RM100 million via a rights issue prior to the IPO for expansion of land bank and working capital," Johan said.

However, he declined to say how much TTDI will raise from the IPO.

Johan said post-IPO, TTDI's share capital will balloon to RM450 million from RM223 million now.

"We are in the process of preparing for the IPO. We anticipate it will be among the bigger issues this year, if approved," Johan said.

TTDI will use the IPO proceeds to fund working capital and expansion plans, and to part finance development costs.

The company is also planning to launch seven new projects this year, worth RM2 billion collectively.

They are Phase 1 of TTDI Kajang, comprising 56 units of double-storey link homes; The Valley TTDI, a one-ha residential development in Ulu Klang, Ampang, with 134 units of high-end bungalows and linked villas; Phase 1 of TTDI Puchong, consisting of 137 units of three- and four-storey shop offices; and Phase 1 of TTDI Alam Impian, with 136 units of double- storey link homes.

Others would include Laman Seri Phase 3, a gated residential development with 33 bungalows; and Laman Seri Business Park, comprising 46 units of four- and five-storey shop offices, both in Section 13, Shah Alam. It will also launch Jayamas II, which has 26 units of two- and three-storey shop offices in TTDI Jaya.

By New Straits Times (by Sharen Kaur)

Foreign investors keen on Encorp

PETALING JAYA: Talk has surfaced in the market that foreign investors are eying Encorp Bhd for either a strategic stake in the company or to purchase from the company its prized assets.

A source told StarBiz that negotiations were under way and that the parties interested in taking up a block of shares in Encorp were linked to Middle Eastern investors. Another proposition was foreign interest to purchase Encorp's properties, the source added.

Encorp group chief executive officer Yeoh Soo Ann, when contacted, said he was “not aware” of any Middle Eastern interest in the company.

However, he said there were “enquiries” from interested parties regarding Encorp's properties.

“The locations of our properties are quite good but nothing has firmed up yet. It all depends on pricing,” Yeoh said.

Investors from the Middle East have been flocking to the Malaysian corporate scene over the past few years with interest mainly in infrastructure, construction, property, banking and telecommunications.

Encorp provides an attractive entry into the construction and property segment.

Based on Bloomberg's estimate of Encorp's earnings per share (EPS) at 22.7 sen for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2008 (FY08) and yesterday's closing price of RM1.50, the stock is trading at a cheap price/earnings (PE) of 6.6 times.

The company also turned around last year. For the first nine months ended Sept 30, it posted a net profit of RM69.5mil compared with a loss of RM15.7mil in the previous corresponding period. It is due to release its full-year results by the end of this month.

The overhang over the national teachers' quarters project with the Government was also resolved last year, resulting in subsidiary Encorp Systembilt Sdn Bhd receiving RM11.3mil a month from the Government until January 2028.

This will ease cash flow especially for future projects. Its two present developments, The Strand Damansara mixed commercial project and the Cahaya Alam township in Shah Alam, are also progressing well.

The Strand Damansara still has an unbilled portion of some RM700mil for the development of small office home office and serviced apartments.

Yeoh said the company's prospects remained “optimistic'', given that it had the resources and “quite good cash flow'' to undertake new projects.

Encorp is exploring property opportunities in the southern and northern corridors while looking for construction jobs in east Malaysia.

In September last year, Sarawak Energy Bhd sold a 26.4% stake in Encorp at RM1.46 a share to Pegang Impian Holdings Sdn Bhd. A day later, a 17.9% stake in Encorp was sold at RM3 a share.

By The Star

Genting Intl borrows S$4.2b to build casino

BIG GAMBLE: Genting International funding will help the firm compete with Las Vegas Sands Corp as both race to open Singapore's first casino resort in about two years.

SINGAPORE: Genting International plc, a unit of Asia's biggest gaming operator by market value, borrowed as much as S$4.2 billion (RM9.6 billion) to build a casino-resort in Singapore, more than double its outstanding debt.

The unit of Kuala Lumpur-based Genting Bhd hired DBS Group Holdings Ltd, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, HSBC Holdings plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc to arrange the borrowing, according to a statement sent to the Singapore exchange yesterday.

"It is a big gamble," said Lim Kok Boon, Singapore-based chief investment officer at Fortis Private Banking, which manages US$9.5 billion (RM billion) in assets. "It is hard to tell how it is going to pan out for them, but clearly the casino project cannot fail as Genting International and the Singapore banks will be badly implicated."

The company's funding will help the company compete with Las Vegas Sands Corp as both race to open Singapore's first casino resort in about two years. The two gaming developments will have Singapore's casino market for at least 10 years before the government opens up the industry to further competition.

Genting International's funding will add to the S$2.17 billion raised in an August rights offer in August and S$450 million of convertible bonds sold in April to fund its project on Singapore's Sentosa island. The development will include Southeast Asia's first Universal Studios theme park.

The company's borrowing consists of a S$4 billion loan and S$192.5 million in a bank guarantee facility, the statement said.

The company has US$1.4 billion of outstanding debt, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Genting International declined to comment on the terms of the loan except that it's "very happy" with them.

Las Vegas Sands, the world's largest casino operator by value, hired eight banks last year to arrange a loan of about S$5 billion for its Singapore gaming resort in the city's downtown.

The two casino loans top the S$1.56 billion offered to CapitaLand Ltd, Singapore's biggest developer, and Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd, Hong Kong's largest, for their Orchard Turn project. The 2006 loan for the shopping mall and luxury home development in downtown Singapore was the largest for a Singapore property project since at least 1999, according to Bloomberg data.

By Bloomberg

Dijaya unit buying land for RM30mil

PETALING JAYA: Dijaya Corp Bhd's indirect wholly-owned subsidiary Nadi Jelita Sdn Bhd has signed an agreement with Beta Fame Sdn Bhd to acquire four parcels of freehold agriculture land for RM29.5mil.

The land, totalling 93.4 acres, is in Kuala Langat, Selangor.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, Dijaya said the proposed acquisition was expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2009.

Nadi Jelita plans to carry out mixed development on the properties with an estimated gross development value of RM270mil.

The purchase was in line with the company's objective to increase its land bank for development to generate long-term sustainable income.

By The Star

Ranhill clinches RM1.2b hospital contract

RANHILL Bhd, Malaysia's largest engineering group, has been awarded a RM1.2 billion contract to build a 600-bed women and children hospital in Kuala Lumpur, sources say.

The contract is to build two 13-storey tower blocks with a six-floor podium, with a total floor area of 190,000 sq metres, a source said.

"It also includes extending another 100 beds in the future, when demand meets supply," he added.

Business Times understands the federal government contract was given recently and Ranhill has commenced works at the site. The hospital is an extension of the existing Pediatric Institute at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

It will be the leading referral centre in the country upon completion by 2011.

The source said Ranhill, via its wholly-owned unit Ranhill Engineering and Constructors Sdn Bhd, aims to finish building the two towers ahead of schedule.

In doing that, the contract has been divided into two packages to speed up the works.

"The first package, worth around RM17 million, is for site- clearing and logistics. The second portion involves the main structural work, which is expected to start by June," the sourcen said.

"Ranhill is finalising the project structure and cost. The details will be ready in two weeks," the source added.

The source also said that the contract award is expected to mitigate Ranhill's plan in achieving RM2 billion in revenue by 2010.

For the 12-month period to June 2007, Ranhill posted a profit of RM117 million and revenue of RM1.47 billion.

Ranhill, which has over RM1 billion worth of contracts for the Desaru Highway, sports complexes across the country and water jobs through unit SAJ Holdings Sdn Bhd, is eyeing more jobs here.

Overseas, it plans to secure new infrastructure and sewerage treatment works in Libya and water, waste water and power plant projects in India.

By New Straits Times (by Sharen Kaur)