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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Hap Seng sets out to make a splash

Better known in Sabah, the diversified company is working on exciting projects that should strengthen its presence in Peninsular Malaysia

THE next two years mark a busy period for Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd as the developer works on new projects to strengthen its presence in the real estate development scene in West Malaysia.

While Hap Seng Consolidated has yet to become a household name in property in the Klang Valley, the developer is well known in East Malaysia, as one of Sabah’s largest township and masshousing developers. It has over the past 30 years, completed more than 10,000 units of property with a gross development value (GDV) of RM2 billion.

Hap Seng Consolidated currently has two projects in the Klang Valley that it is proud of — the complete refurbishment of Menara Hap Seng (formerly MUI Plaza) along Jalan P Ramlee in KL’s city centre and the ongoing development of D’Alpinia in Puchong.

Teh (left) and Ng in front of Menara Hap Seng

“We are focusing on property development in West Malaysia, but will continue developing our housing projects in Sabah simultaneously. Although we are a new player here, we have exciting new projects lined up for launch throughout 2009. We purchased three plots of land in KL last year and are currently in negotiations for more parcels in the Klang Valley,” said Datuk Paul Ng, chief executive of Hap Seng Land (a wholly owned subsidiary Hap Seng Consolidated).

Ng told Propertyplus that the purchases for the three parcels — one along Jalan Tun Razak, and two on Old Klang Road, were finalised in 2007. “We recently submitted the development plans for 1.27-acres of freehold land in Jalan Tun Razak for approval and it will be a RM360 million high-end condominium development. Location-wise, it is very strategically situated next to the Royal Selangor Golf Club and near KLCC,” he said.

Meanwhile, one of the tracts in Old Klang Road is located opposite the Pearl Point Shopping Centre. A RM165 million mixed-commercial complex of office suites with retail offerings is planned for the 2.62-acre leasehold tract.

The second Old Klang Road parcel is a 1.8-acre freehold tract adjacent to Plaza Prima. “We will be building a RM130 million high-end condo there. Although it won’t be the same type of luxury homes as the ones proposed for Jalan Tun Razak, we hope to elevate the standards of lifestyle living in Old Klang Road and turn it around, similar to how Sentul and Pantai Dalam have been rebranded,” Ng offered. Construction works and launches for the three projects are scheduled to take place in 2009.

Although the first phase of the RM300 million D’Alpinia is halfway into construction, the project has yet to be launched as Hap Seng will be selling the entire project under the build-then-sell (BTS) concept. The first batch of units is expected to hit the market by yearend.

The 76-acre leasehold D’Alpinia has four phases offering terraced homes, semidees, “superlink” homes, townhouses, bungalows and condominiums. Phase 1A is 60% complete and comprises 66 units of 2-storey terraced homes and 88 units of 2-storey semi-detached cluster houses. The terraced homes have built-up areas of 2,200 sq ft and land areas of 22 ft by 75 ft, while the semidees have built-ups of 2,300 sq ft and land areas of 35 ft by 65 ft. No pricing is available at the moment.

D'Alpinia's Phase 1A has already received 2,200 registrants

“We wanted to support the government’s BTS concept as it ensures that buyers get the product they paid for. In Sabah, we have always honoured our promise to buyers and delivered our products on time,” said Ng. The development is slated for completion by 2012.

Hap Seng Land senior marketing manager Choy Kim Seng added that they have received 2,200 registrants for phase 1A alone. “We add value and offer people products they want. The development has automatic gates, CCTV surveillance and alarm systems. This is so buyers don’t have to fork out more money on renovations,” Choy said.

Choy said that Hap Seng has also acquired a plot of land adjacent to D’Aplinia. The 12- acre tract, which fronts the LDP, is to be developed into an integrated commercial hub with an estimated GDV of RM200 million.

Meanwhile, Hap Seng Land West Malaysia general manager Allan Teh said the entire D’Alpinia project would be gated and each phase would be landscaped according to four themes – Balinese Retreat, Western Chic, Oriental Haven and Tropical Sanctuary.
“There will be a 2 km jogging track around the project and a large central park with a feature pond so that residents can even go fishing,” Teh said.

Menara Hap Seng
The RM60 million makeover of MUI Plaza into Menara Hap Seng was recently completed and the building looks ready for business. Hap Seng Consolidated bought the building in 2004.

Menara Hap Seng Sdn Bhd deputy general manager Matthias Loui said rentals for the offices are at RM6 psf, and from RM5 to RM15 psf for the retail podium.

“We are 98% tenanted and are waiting for some final tenants to move in. We expect to hit full occupancy in one month as we have reserved some lots on the retail podium for specific tenants.
We also have conference facilities with function rooms for rent on a daily or half-day basis. This is good for companies who want to launch new products, hold meetings and training sessions,” Loui offered.

Ng said that from March to April, Hap Seng would be putting together a team to provide 6-star service to tenants, visitors and guests.

“We will have fully uniformed valets, doormen and concierge to provide a service not offered by any other office buildings. Based on the feedback we are getting from our tenants, we can say they are excited and seem to welcome this service. To prove our commitment to our customers, the costs for these services will be absorbed by Hap Seng,” Ng said.

Menara Hap Seng is located opposite Shangri-la Hotel and behind Menara Weld. The first three floors of the 22-storey office building is the retail podium, comprising a grand lobby, lounge areas, caf├ęs and restaurants offering casual to fine dining, and speciality stores. Each floor has a space of 13,000 sq ft and the minimum space for lease is 900 sq ft.

While property development is one of Hap Seng’s core businesses, the group is also involved in credit financing, trading (fertiliser, automotive, building materials and petroleum), quarries and plantations.

The group is one of the largest oil palm plantation companies in Sabah and an authorised dealer for Mercedes-Benz and Smart vehicles in West Malaysia.

Hap Seng’s impressive Mercedes-Benz Autohaus showroom is located on a 31,000 sq ft site at the intersection of Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan P Ramlee, right next to Menara Hap Seng.

A potential site for township development in West Malaysia is Hap Seng’s 500 acres of freehold plantation land in Sungai Pelek, Sepang. “We are waiting to see the development of the West Coast Highway.

The highway will not only shorten the travelling time to Sungai Pelek by half, but we believe it will open up the area, as the Kesas and Guthrie Corridor have done for their surrounding areas,” Ng said.

The group has a total undeveloped landbank of 2,900 acres with the bulk of it in East Malaysia.

By theSun (by Allison Lee)

The Oval apartments launching in June

A model of The Oval high-end apartments.

KUALA LUMPUR: GuocoLand (M) Bhd, formerly Hong Leong Properties Bhd, will launch The Oval high-end apartments in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) enclave by June.

Located along Jalan Binjai, The Oval will have an estimated gross development value of over RM800mil and total saleable floor area of 586,356 sq ft.

Located on 2.14 acres, the project comprises two 41-storey blocks, East Tower and West Tower, with 70 units in each block.

Chief executive Paul Poh said 30% of East Tower had been sold after a sales preview in Hong Kong last month.

Most of the units are Sky Villa, offering a built-up area of 3,750 sq ft. Each block also offers eight Mansionary Villa, measuring 7,500 sq ft each. The price ranges from RM1,200 to RM1,900 per sq ft.

Four Mansionary Villa had been sold, Poh said during a media tour of The Oval yesterday.

The Oval is scheduled for completion by the second quarter of next year and foreigners are expected to make up 60% of the buyers.

Another sales preview will he held in Indonesia and Singapore next month.

On the possibility of selling West Tower en bloc, Poh said GuocoLand would keep options open depending on market conditions.

Paul Poh

“We believe the selling points for The Oval are potential capital upside of the property, the good KLCC view and the quality of residences.

Meanwhile, GuocoLand would be launching by June, Damansara City, a mixed development project on 8.5 acres consisting of about 2.2 million sq ft of residential, commercial and retail space.

It also planned to build 42 luxury condominiums with an estimated total saleable floor area of 224,000 sq ft on the 3,030 sq ft land it recently bought in Changkat Kia Peng.

By The Star

GuocoLand's The Oval KL project gets good response

POPULAR: Construction of The Oval KL, with a gross development value of RM800 million, has begun and is expected to be completed next year

PROPERTY developer GuocoLand (Malaysia) Bhd said it has received good response for its new high-end residential development called The Oval Kuala Lumpur, especially from foreign buyers.

Located on Jalan Binjai - less than a kilometre from the Petronas Twin Towers - the development will be officially launched in the middle of this year.

Already, some 30 per cent of its units have been taken up.

"The bookings are mainly from our existing customers and friends. About 60 per cent of the buyers are foreigners, including Italians, Japanese, Singaporean and South Koreans," GuocoLand Malaysia chief executive Paul Poh told reporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

To date, the developer has conducted a road show in Hong Kong and plans are afoot for one in Singapore and Indonesia.

Construction of The Oval KL, with a gross development value of RM800 million, has begun and is expected to be completed next year. Buyers will be able to move in in the second quarter of 2009.

The Oval KL comprised two blocks - the East and the West Towers. It has two distinct offerings, one of which is the Sky Villas, which occupy level 2 to 32 and measure 3,750 sq ft that span half of one floor. This means that there will be only two Sky Villas on each floor.

The other offering is the Mansionary Villas (7,500 sq ft), which occupy an entire floor so that they can have a full 360-degree view of city centre. So far, four out of the total 16 Mansionary Villas have been booked.

Even though property prices surrounding the Petronas Twin Towers have risen substantially lately, Poh said The Oval KL's selling price will remain at between RM1,200 per sq ft and RM1,500 per sq ft, depending on the levels.

"From now until the official launch, our price structure will remain the same. We will review the price after that," Poh said.

By New Straits Times (by Goh Thean Eu)

YTL Corp Q2 net jumps 24pc

YTL Corp Bhd has reported a 24 per cent increase in net profit for the second quarter ended December 2007 as the performance of its utilities, cement manufacturing and trading and property businesses improved.

YTL Corp posted RM328.47 million net profit in the second quarter on a seven per cent increase in revenue to RM1.52 billion. Six-month net profit and revenue stood at RM688.4 million and RM3.09 billion respectively.

"The utilities division posted solid profit growth of 8.5 per cent and the cement division has made significant strides in implementing our regional expansion strategy, completing the acquisition of Zhejiang Lin'an Jin Yuan Cement Co Ltd in China during the quarter under review," YTL Group managing director Tan Sri Francis Yeoh Sock Ping said in a statement released yesterday in Kuala Lumpur.

Zhejiang is the largest cement manufacturer in Lin'an and one of the top five cement suppliers in the Hangzhou market.

"The group's focus on international investment opportunities, correlated with our core competencies, continues to enable us to diversify our revenue base while concurrently mitigating geographical and single-industry risks," he added.

Yeoh said the group expects ongoing improvements in technical efficiency to help ease the impact of rising costs as the year progresses.

The biggest contributor to the group was its power division.

YTL Power International's net profit grew 10.5 per cent to RM245.54 million in the second quarter compared with the previous corresponding quarter.

The improved performance was due to higher contributions from the group's subsidiary, Wessex Water Ltd, power stations in Paka and Pasir Gudang, and PT Jawa Power - its 35 per cent-owned associate in Indonesia, which owns a 1,220-megawatt power station in East Java.

YTL Cement Bhd's second quarter net profit rose 35 per cent to RM48.12 million, due mainly to higher demand for cement from the construction industry, improved operational efficiencies and better prices.

YTL Land & Development Bhd's net profit in the second quarter, meanwhile, almost doubled to RM5.63 million from a year ago, contributed mainly by new phases under development, including "The Centrio" at Pantai Hillpark and "The Saffron" in Sentul.

YTL E-Solutions Bhd's six-month net profit, however, dropped 7.5 per cent to RM2.31 million because of higher operating expenses.

YTL Corp has declared an interim gross dividend of 15 per cent, YTL Power an interim tax-exempt dividend of 7.5 per cent, and YTL Cement an interim gross dividend of 20 per cent for the period.

By New Straits Times

YTL posts Q2 profit of RM189mil

It declares interim dividend of 15% per share

KUALA LUMPUR: YTL Corp Bhd registered RM189.33mil in net profit for the second quarter ended Dec 31, which was about 24% higher than the RM152.98mil posted a year earlier.

Revenue grew 7% to RM1.52bil from RM1.42bil. Earnings per share improved to 12.61 sen from 10.44 sen.

For the first half year to Dec 31, the group achieved RM413.94mil in net profit on 10.3% growth in revenue to RM3.1bil.

YTL Corp also declared a second interim dividend of 15% per share.

Group managing director Tan Sri Francis Yeoh said the utilities division posted solid profit growth while the cement division had made significant strides in implementing its regional expansion strategy.

The latter completed the acquisition of Zhejiang Lin’an Jin Yuan Cement Co Ltd in China during the quarter under review.

“The group’s focus on international investment opportunities correlated with our core competencies continues to enable us to diversify our revenue base, whilst concurrently mitigating geographical and single-industry risks.

“We expect ongoing improvements in technical efficiency levels will also be integral in controlling the impact of rising costs as the year progresses,” Yeoh said in a statement posted on the group’s website yesterday.

Its utilities arm YTL Power International Bhd reported net profit of RM245.54mil for the second quarter ended Dec 31, an increase of almost 11% from RM222.23mil in the previous corresponding quarter.

Revenue inched up to RM1bil from RM976.6mil.

The increases were due to better performance in all businesses, including wholly-owned Britain-based Wessex Water Ltd, power stations in Paka and Pasir Gudang, and PT Jawa Power, a 35%-owned associate company in Indonesia.

YTL Power declared a first interim dividend of 7.5% per share.

YTL Cement Bhd’s net profit rose almost 30% to RM43.84mil for the three months ended Dec 31 from RM34.01mil in the previous corresponding period.

Revenue increased to RM315.54mil from RM261.92mil previously.

The company said the growth in revenue and profit was mainly due to higher demand for cement in the construction industry, improved operational efficiencies and better selling prices during the period.

YTL Cement also declared a first interim dividend of 20% per share.

The group’s property unit YTL Land & Development Bhd recorded net profit of RM4.35mil between October and December last year, up 53% from RM2.83mil previously.

It chalked up sales of RM89.59mil for the quarter under review, compared with RM27.05mil year-on-year, contributed mainly by new phases under development, namely The Centrio at Pantai Hillpark and The Saffron in Sentul.

YTL E-Solutions Bhd’s net profit for the second quarter ended Dec 31 grew 15.87% to RM1.33mil from RM1.15mil previously.

Revenue expanded 20% to RM7.25mil for the quarter under review from RM6.04mil.

By The Star

Gamuda dives 6.7pc, JPMorgan cuts price estimate

GAMUDA Bhd, Malaysia’s second-largest builder, had its biggest two-day drop since September 1998 in Kuala Lumpur trading as JPMorgan Chase & Co cut its price estimate after a stake sale by the managing director.

The stock tumbled 6.7 per cent to RM3.92, extending yesterday’s 16 per cent plunge, cutting RM2.1 billion (US$653 million) off its market value. Managing director Datuk Lin Yun Ling said yesterday he cut his stake to 1.7 per cent from 5.2 per cent.

The sale raised concerns about the company’s management and heightened the risk that Gamuda won’t secure more large contracts after winning Malaysia’s biggest railway project last year, JPMorgan said in a report.

Lin’s also the third founder to have “cashed out” from the construction business within the last 18 months, it said.

Gamuda is a “ship without rudders,” Jon Oh, an analyst at JPMorgan in Kuala Lumpur, said in the report. Gamuda is a “top stock to avoid for 2008.”

The price target was cut to RM3.30 from RM4.40 to “penalise the company for an absence of business direction,” Oh said in the report dated yesterday. “We see plenty of risks in the execution of the construction order book.”

Lin, 52, who trained as a civil engineer and has led the company since 1981, sold the stake for “estate planning purposes,” Selangor, Malaysia-based Gamuda said yesterday in a statement, without identifying the buyer. The stake is valued at RM280 million at current prices.

By Bloomberg