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Friday, February 29, 2008

Lebar Daun brings affordable space to Shah Alam

An artist's impression of the Commerce Galleries at 121 D’Kayangan

The 4- and 5-storey Grade A Commerce Galleries at 121 D’Kayangan in Section 13, Shah Alam, offers space at affordable prices. The project is by Lebar Daun Development Sdn Bhd, which is also the developer of Bukit Bandaraya in Shah Alam, Taman Pahlawan in Telok Panglima Garang, and Taman Dato Demang in Puchong.

Its marketing manager, Arman Putera Asmuni, said the first phase of the development has four blocks totaling 38 strata-titled units with enbloc built-ups of between 7,800 sq ft and 14,000 sq ft. Prices range from RM209,999 for a studio unit to RM4.1 million for a corner unit.

“The average rental rate for a 1,000 sq ft office space is about RM1,000 a month. The studio units in our project can be purchased with almost the same installments,” he told theSun, adding that about 20% to 30% of the units had been sold prior to the official launch.

He said the studio units are targeted at professional firms, while the larger units are suitable for financial institutions, telco centres, and car showrooms. “Due to their huge size, a car showroom would be able to fit in access of 20 cars, while a banking hall could have more than 20 counters in the larger units” he offered.

The development is located within the D’Kayangan township, which is just five minutes away from Shah Alam’s city centre and the Federal Highway, and enjoys good visibility from Tesco, Shah Alam Stadium and Kelab Shah Alam. The two future phases are set for launch in the middle and end of this year respectively. The project has a gross development value (GDV) of RM110 million.

Arman said the 165-acre leasehold township consists of mid- to high-end residential properties including semidee villas, cluster semidees and superlink houses. It will be fully completed in the next 10 years with a GDV of RM1.6 billion.

“We will make studies and launch our products according to the market,” he said.

He added that properties in Shah Alam attract Malays and non-Malays alike with the former purchasing for owneroccupancy and the latter buying for investment. “Properties in D’Kayangan have been experiencing capital appreciation of about 10% per annum. For instance, the subsale price of a 2- storey semidee is RM575,000 from RM500,000 two years ago,” he said.

Meanwhile, the group’s 300-acre Bukit Bandaraya township in Section 8, is currently 20% to 30% complete and handed over. Its latest launch of superlink houses, priced from RM295,000, has experienced a good take-up to date.

The group aims to launch its latest commercial project in Section 14, the Shah Alam Triple Tower, by the end of this year. It will comprise three office towers, a 5-storey shopping complex with a net lettable area of 500,000 sq ft and 2,300 parking bays. “The development is going to be a new landmark in Shah Alam and with a GDV of RM600 million, it is going to be the biggest commercial development in the area,” Arman said, adding that details such as the price and size of the office units are still being finalised.

By theSun

Fiamma Holdings’ maiden property venture

FIAMMA Holdings Bhd (Fiamma) will soon start work on its first property venture, a serviced apartment and SoHo project located on Jalan TAR, Kuala Lumpur.

“We’re working on the development order and we aim to get the order this year,” said Jimmy Lim, group chief executive officer and managing director of Fiamma. According to Lim, the project is expected to have a gross development value (GDV) of between RM150 million and RM170 million.

“There will be one block and we’re looking at 30 storeys, subject to approvals,” said Lim after the company’s AGM held yesterday. The 1.06-acre freehold tract was acquired by its unit Fiamma Development Sdn Bhd last year for a total of RM16.5 million and the transaction was completed in November last year.

Fiamma had also entered into a sale and purchase agreement (SPA) to acquire land in KLCC, on which it would develop an office and serviced apartment. According to Lim, the SPA is pending completion. “We hope to launch it immediately after the SPA is completed,” he said.

The company’s foray into property development is due to a decision to diversify its earnings base. Lim revealed that the company would eventually have two core businesses — trading and property development. “We expect property to contribute to our earnings by 2009 onwards,” he added.

For the financial year ended Sept 30, 2007, Fiamma recorded an increase of more than 200% in pre-tax profit at RM12.6 million, up from RM4.1 million in the previous financial year.

By theSun (by Yeong Ee-Wah)

UM Land set to launch three high-end condos in 2008

This year is expected to be a positive one for United Malayan Land Bhd (UM Land) as the developer will be launching three high-end condominium projects with a gross development value of over RM1 billion by end-2008 said its CEO Anthony Yap (pix).

“It will be challenging in view of the rising costs of doing business, but the group is well positioned to withstand any negative impact brought about by these economic uncertainties,” he said in a press release announcing the group’s results for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2007.

For the first quarter of the year, UM Land will be launching its RM 175 million Suasana Bangsar in Bangsar.

“It consists of a single luxury residential tower housing 190 condo units with sizes from 1,112 to 4,800 sq ft. We are confident of the success of this freehold project based on the high level of interest gathered from the early registrants,” he said.

In the second half of 2008, UM Land’s 310 units of serviced residences in the enclave of Bukit Ceylon will be launched. “Given the attractive location and development potential of this project, it is expected to contribute positively to future earnings of the group,” Yap added. Meanwhile, a third condo project located along Jalan Mayang, off Jalan Yap Kwan Seng is scheduled for launch by the fourth quarter of the year.

Yap also said that the group would remain focused on its two-pronged growth strategy through its township and niche development divisions. It is currently pursuing several land acquisitions and joint venture development opportunities in the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) in line with this strategy.

UM Land is the developer of the integrated townships in Bandar Seri Alam, Seri Austin and Bandar Seri Putra in Johor and Selangor. Its niche projects include Suasana Sentral Loft in KL Sentral and Seri Bukit Ceylon, a freehold, serviced residences development managed by the Ascott International Management Group.

The group recorded a 16% growth in profit after tax of RM46.6 million for FY07, up from FY06’s RM40 million. UM Land is listed on the main board of Bursa Malaysia and its major shareholders include Perangsang Mewah Sdn Bhd, CapitaLand Ltd, Tradewinds Corp Bhd and Chee Tat Holdings Pte Ltd.

By theSun (by Allison Lee)

Tourism, office and retail properties look good for 2008

REAL estate consultants believe that the local hospitality market will continue to enjoy more upside driven largely by the tourism market growth and foreign investments.

Zerin Properties chief executive officer Previndran Singhe said the country’s hotels and resorts will soon be experiencing new trends that have been taking place on the international front.

Previndran: Hotels and resorts will soon be experiencing new trends

“For example, limited service and branded budget hotels [like the Tune brand] are very popular overseas and these are managed by well-known hotel brands including Holiday Inn and Marriott.

Serviced apartments are also another type of limited-service offering,” he stated. Previndran was presenting his paper on the hotel and resort market performance for 2007 and the outlook for 2008 at the recently concluded First Malaysian Property Summit 2008 in Kuala Lumpur.

Other trends that would benefit the local hospitality sector include spa resorts and Syariah compliant hotels. “Foreigners will enjoy the spa-themed resorts, which are considerably more affordable here.

There is also a big market for ethnic-based hotels with Islamic architecture here and in the Middle East, there are about 26 Syariah compliant hotels,” he added. According to data from Zerin Properties, foreign investments in hotels grew by 64% to RM878 million in 2006, while the total investments by locals only amounted to RM153 million. Last year, 62% of the total value of hotel transactions, which amounted to RM756 million, was by foreigners.

Hotel funds as well as foreign investment funds, said Previndran, are the main drivers of demand for properties here. “While Malaysia is still perceived as a value-for-money destination, the growth in our tourism market is also driven by low-cost carriers like AirAsia. So allowing the open-sky policy will actually be beneficial to us.”

Some 20.7 million tourist arrivals were recorded in 2007 and tourism receipts amounted to RM45.7 billion, which is the second largest foreign exchange earner for the country.

The property summit was organised by the Association of Valuers & Property Consultants in Private Practice Malaysia and more than 100 participants attended the one-day seminar.

On the office market segment, CH Williams Talhar & Wong Sdn Bhd managing director Goh Tian Sui said that the segment’s benchmark selling price would be boosted to a new level above that
of RM1,230 psf recorded by the upcoming Menara YNH along Jalan Sultan Ismail.

Goh: The benchmark selling price would be boosted to a new level

In his paper on the office market’s performance for 2007 and outlook for 2008, Goh said capital values would be “quite bullish” and foreign buyers’ enthusiasm in Malaysia in the sector would continue to grow.

“Interest from foreign investors and institutions continue to remain strong… it depends on how much yield they can accept. But we are facing more competition from Singapore, Australia and the Middle East,” said Goh.

For the investment and retail market’s performance for 2007 and outlook for 2008, executive chairman of Regroup Associates Christopher Boyd feels confident that the rental rates in shopping centers in the Klang Valley have the potential to reach RM100 psf.

Boyd: Klang Valley shopping centers rental rates could reach RM100 psf

“This is likely to happen over the next three years because of the continuous growth of new retail space in the market.
Top rentals in the Klang Valley are about RM80 psf at Suria KLCC while the recently opened Pavilion KL is already charging as much as RM45 psf and has the potential of catching up quickly,” said Boyd.

On retail space transactions, Boyd expects that prices will surpass the RM1,500 psf mark from the current RM1,100 psf following growing demand from foreign buyers.

“Buyers outnumber sellers here by a very large margin and in the last two years, we have experienced investor interest from Europe, Australia, Singapore. Hong Kong and the Middle East,” he added.

By theSun (by Loo Pik Kwan)

E&O plans luxury homes in IDR

It's finalising joint venture details with KFH

PETALING JAYA: Eastern & Oriental Bhd (E&O) is exploring the possibility of a high-end residential property development in the Iskandar Development Region (IDR).

The company signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Kuwait Finance House (M) Bhd (KFH) for the development of a 195-acre in the IDR in mid-February.

E&O managing director Datuk Tham Ka Hon in an e-mail reply to StarBiz said details were being finalised for the proposed joint-venture development with KFH.

“The MoU provides for a six-month period for both parties to sign the joint-venture agreement,” he said.

E&O signed an MoU with Cultural Cluster Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of KFH, in mid-February to jointly develop the parcel, which is designated as the Heritage District within the 624-acre Cultural Cluster of Node 1.

KFH - together with Khazanah Nasional Bhd and Jumeirah Capital - were awarded a 99-year leasehold concession last August to develop the Cultural Cluster.

Tham said the development would be in line with the group's strategy of developing premium properties with unique concepts to meet the needs of the discerning segment of the market.

He said the group was in a stronger cash position following the sale of its 50.6% stake in Putrajaya Perdana Bhd for RM199mil.

“Assets amounting to RM1bil have been identified within the group that will be maintained as investments from which we'll be able to enjoy recurring income as well as capital appreciation,” Tham said.

He added that these included retail and office properties in the Klang Valley and Penang.

The group also plans to expand its hospitality and lifestyle division in Penang with the addition of 150 rooms to the Eastern & Oriental Hotel and 50 rooms to the Lone Pine hotels while 60 serviced apartments from the Suites at Waterside project in Seri Tanjung Pinang would be eventually managed by the E&O Hotel, he said.

Meanwhile, E&O's results for its third quarter ended Dec 31 saw the company posting a net profit of RM89.63mil.

This is largely due to a one-off gain from the disposal of the Putrajaya Perdana stake. Revenue was at RM86.61mil.

It also announced a special dividend less 26% income tax.

Analysts said the group's outlook remained bright although there was a 49% fall in its third-quarter revenue compared with the second quarter because new projects were not launched.

For the nine months ended Dec 31, there was a decline in revenue largely due to the absence of revenue from Putrajaya Perdana.

Hwang-DBS Vickers Research Sdn Bhd analyst Tan Siang Hing said in a research note that “the strategy of focusing on property investment allows the group to generate recurring income that should improve its earning quality.”

In another research note, Kenanga Research said despite a drop in revenue there was a 12% growth in sales in the nine months to Dec 31.

This was partly driven by a 53% increase in revenue from the hospitality business and increased take-up rates and more launches from Seri Tanjung Pinang.

It said estimated net profit for the financial year ending March 31 (FY08) would be revised down by 23% to RM140mil to account for the third-quarter result, which was below market expectations.

The outlook for the fourth quarter would be much stronger due to RM217mil in unbilled sales.

By The Star (by Fintan Ng)

KFH in talks on projects in Sabah Development Corridor

KUALA LUMPUR: Kuwait Finance House (M) Bhd (KFH) is in talks with 10 to 12 companies eyeing projects in the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC).

Managing director Datuk K. Salman Younis said it was talking to the companies about different financing opportunities.

“It is an ongoing process, and hopefully before year-end, the deals will start happening,” he told reporters after KFH signed a master terms of reference agreement with Calyon London to conclude an Ijarah Rental Swap-i (IRS-i) transaction yesterday.

Datuk Salman Younis (left) exchanging document with Calyon London director Mr Collin Willis (right). With them is Securities Commision executive director of strategy and development Goh Ching Yin

Salman said the companies were interested to get financing for projects such as logging, deforestation, real estate and infrastructure.

The IRS-i would enable clients to hedge their market risk exposure through employing a fully syariah-compliant structure. It is designed to the unique needs of the client, with tenures varying in accordance to the preference of the client.

“The KFH IRS-i will enable our customers to effectively hedge against the risk market rate exposure.

“Companies can convert either their fixed or floating rate cash flow commitments into more manageable rate exposure suitable with their risk appetite, which will help mitigate the occurrence of any negative impact to volatility and uncertainty in the movement of market rates,” he said.

By The Star

Sunrise MD to step down

PETALING JAYA: Sunrise Bhd managing director Datuk Michael Yam will be stepping down on March 20 after helming the company for 11 years but will remain on its board as a non-executive director.

Sunrise told Bursa Malaysia yesterday that Yam, 55, would be ending his three-year contract with the company.

Commending Yam for having made significant contribution to the growth and reputation of Sunrise, the board said it looked forward to receiving his advice and opinion during its deliberations.

Datuk Michael Yam

In a phone interview with StarBiz, Yam said his re-designation would pave the way for the younger breed of management executives to move up in the company.

“I look forward to spending more quality time with my family and improve on my golf handicap.

“If I get bored, I may consider taking up some advisory roles, including acting as a consultant to companies, as long as they are not in conflict with Sunrise's business.”

Yam, who holds a 1.5% stake, or 6.8 million shares, in Sunrise, said he might also venture into one or two small niche developments, including building his own dream home “to keep abreast with the latest technical know-how and keep my passion of building quality residences alive.”

Since taking over the top post at Sunrise in March 1997, Yam had been instrumental in bringing the company to its present leadership position in the high-end condominium market in the Mont'Kiara enclave.

In the latest quarter ended Dec 31, Sunrise recorded unbilled sales of more than RM1.2bil which would be recognised in the next two to three years.

AmResearch, in a research note yesterday, said Sunrise would be able to record higher revenue of close to RM700mil for the financial year ending June 30 (FY08) compared with RM558mil a year earlier.

This year, the company plans to launch RM1.5bil worth of projects.

Summing up his tenure at Sunrise, Yam said: “A decade after the regional financial crisis hit the country in 1997, I stand back with much pride and contentment that this company can only go from strength to strength on a firm platform under the current leadership.”

After Yam's departure as managing director, executive chairman Tong Kooi Ong will also assume the position of chief executive.

By The Star - StarBiz (by Angie Ng)

Singapore’s CityDev 2007 profit doubles

SINGAPORE: City Development, South-East Asia’s second largest property developer, yesterday beat market forecasts by more than doubling its 2007 profit on home sales and hotel revenues, and said it was upbeat despite the credit crisis.

“Property development will continue to make significant contribution with locked-in profits yet to be recognised from pre-sold residential projects,” CityDev executive chairman Kwek Leng Beng said in a statement.

CityDev reported record full-year net profit of S$725mil, against S$351.7mil a year earlier, beating an average forecast of S$625.4mil by Reuters Estimates.

The company did not report separate fourth-quarter earnings, which jumped 72% to S$235mil, compared with S$137mil a year earlier, according to Reuters calculations.

“The results came in above everyone’s expectations,” said CIMB analyst Donald Chua. Analysts had expected a slide in fourth-quarter earnings due to the absence of one-time gains.

CityDev’s full-year results did not take into account revaluation gains on its investment properties, which would have boosted full-year earnings to S$2.8bil, the company said.

Its accounting differed from CapitaLand, South-East Asia’s biggest developer, which last week reported revaluation gains of S$136.8mil on its assets for the final quarter of 2007.

Private home prices in Singapore jumped 31.2% last year, boosting CityDev and its Singapore rivals CapitaLand and Keppel Land.

By Reuters

Wellness Zone boost for tourism industry

TOURISM Malaysia has initiated a Wellness Zone project in Port Dickson, Negri Sembilan, to attract foreign tourists and further grow this tourism segment.

Deputy secretary general of Tourism Datuk Dr Ong Hong Peng said the Wellness Zone, initiated in 2007, will kick off within the next one to two years.

HEALTHY DISCUSSION: (From Left) Ong, Datuk Dr Chan Kok Ewe from Island Hospital and Woodman

The project covers a 61km zone from Lukut to Pasir Panjang, Port Dickson.

"It will be an integrated area offering medical, wellness and spa facilities," Ong told Business Times when met at the Medical Travel World Congress 2008 on Tuesday.

He said a pilot project will be set up at Palm Springs Resort City.

The resort's master developer is Tanco Holdings Bhd while the Genium group will be involved with the Wellness Zone within the resort. Genium will both develop and manage this segment.

Among the treatments that will be offered in the zone are medical, aesthetic, cosmetic surgery, dental services, wellness treatment and traditional medicine.

Ong said that businesses in the zone will be given tax incentives which include 70 per cent of income generated by companies through services rendered to foreign citizens be tax-exempted for 10 years.

Machines and equipment will also be given tax exemption, he said.

On why Port Dickson was chosen, Ong said: "It is close to Kuala Lumpur and is associated with relaxation."

Wellness tourism is a component of health tourism but is distinguished from medical tourism.

At the conference meanwhile, "Patients Beyond Borders" author Josef Woodman said there are between two million and three million medical travellers worldwide, with a bulk of them going to Southeast Asia, North Asia and India.

Woodman estimates the growth of this industry at 20-34 per cent annually, and that by 2010, the global market for this business will be at US$40 billion (RM128.8 billion).

By New Straits Times (by Vasantha Ganesan)

Mah Sing Q4 net up 18pc

MAH SING Group Bhd, a property developer, said its fourth quarter net profit rose 18 per cent to RM20.4 million due to better sales from new projects.

The company, whose shares are a favourite with investors, plans to pay 45 per cent of its 2007 net profit as dividends.

"We believe 2008 will be another good year for the group and we should be able to perform and achieve another good year," Group managing director and chief executive Datuk Seri Leong Hoy Kum said in a statement.

This year, its performance will be driven by some RM1 billion of sales that have yet to be booked into its accounts.

The company also plans to develop properties worth some RM3.2 billion over the coming years.

Mah Sing made a net profit of RM81.1 million in the financial year ended December 31 2007, a 24 per cent increase. Revenue was up 16 per cent to RM573.4 million.

Projects like The Icon Jalan Tun Razak (West Wing), Perdana Residence, Hijauan Residence, Kemuning Residence and Aman Perdana in the Klang Valley helped to boost profits last year.

By New Straits Times

UEM Builders in the black

UEM Builders Bhd ended its 2007 financial year with a net profit of RM157.3 million from a net loss of RM21.9 million the year before, as its infrastructure maintenance and facilities management and toll concession divisions continued to contribute consistent and positive earnings for the group.

Revenue grew 36 per cent to RM2.4 billion last year, driven by the local construction sector, namely the electrified double track project from Rawang to Ipoh and PLUS' third lane widening project from Seremban to Ayer Keroh.

In a statement, UEM Builders said revenue for 2008 can be expected from the remaining phases of the third lane widening project from Rawang to Tanjong Malim as well the the Penang Bridge widening works.

"Looking ahead, the group anticipates positive contribution from the construction work of the Penang Second Crossing Bridge. The bridge will be the longest bridge in Southeast Asia on completion in 2011, spanning 24km of which 17km will be over water. This project will contribute significant economic benefits to the country and further strengthen the group's capabilities in infrastructure development," group managing director Datuk Ridza Abdoh Salleh said.

He also expects construction works in the Johor Iskandar Development Region and other projects from the Ninth Malaysia Plan to further enhance the earnings prospects of the group.

"Taking into consideration the global economic scenario and the markets we operate in, the group expects the results for 2008 to be better than 2007," he said.

By New Straits Times