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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Syed Yusof buys Sutra Beach Resort

BUSINESSMAN Tan Sri Syed Yusof Syed Nasir has added another property to his hotel stable, buying the Sutra Beach Resort in Terengganu for RM20 million.

Syed Yusof will purchase the hotel, located in Kg Rhu Tapai, Merang, from Dignity View Sdn Bhd and spend some RM6 million to convert it into a Casa del Mar or a Concorde brand.

The purchase will be done via ISY Holdings Sdn Bhd, a company owned by Syed Yusof and Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.

"We plan to convert the 120 rooms and create a five-star Casa del Mar Terengganu or a four-star Concorde Beach Resort," Syed Yusof told Business Times.

The Casa del Mar hotel chain will be modelled after the successful Mediterranean-inspired maiden venture in Langkawi. Casa del Mar literally means "Home by the Sea" in Spanish.

Concorde Kuala Lumpur, formerly the Merlin Hotel, on Jalan Sultan Ismail was Syed Yusof first hotel venture in 1990. He is also involved in Concorde Inn Sepang and Concorde Hotel Shah Alam.

"The Sutra Beach Resort has 5.06ha of land, of which 2.03ha has been developed. The remaining land will be allocated for the development of suites," he said.

Once the renovation is done and should it be a Casa del Mar, Syed Yusof said he hopes to be able to increase the hotel's average room rate (ARR) to between RM300 and RM400 per night from about RM250 now.

"In Langkawi, our hotel enjoys a 90 per cent average occupancy and an ARR of RM500. We want to bring this new hotel to the level comparable with that in Langkawi," he said.

Meanwhile, another boutique hotel called Casa del Rio or "Home by the River" is being built by ISY Holdings in Malacca.

The company will also open the Hard Rock Hotel, Penang, previously the Casuarina Beach Resort, in early 2009 and has started the development of the Four Seasons Hotel and Service Apartment in Kuala Lumpur.

By New Straits Times (by Vasantha Ganesan)

Sunway enters China property scene

SUNWAY Holdings Bhd is to undertake a resort-style development in Jiangyin with a potential gross development value of RM473 million, its first property venture in China.

The project will be developed with Shanghai Guang Hao Real Estate Development Group Co Ltd through a joint venture called Jiangyin Guang Hao Real Estate Development Co Ltd.

Sunway, through Hong Kong-incorporated Sunway Real Estate (China) Ltd, will own 65 per cent, or 130 million shares, of the joint venture.

"This is expected to be the pioneering project for Sunway to secure future possible property projects in China," it said in an announcement to Bursa Malaysia yesterday.

Jiangyin Guanghao's registered capital is being increased to 200 million shares of one renminbi each, from 70 million shares of one renminbi each.

Sunway Real Estate sealed a master agreement and an equity joint-venture pact with Shanghai Guanghao last Friday.

Sunway said wholly-owned SunwayMas Sdn Bhd owns 60 per cent of Sunway Real Estate. The balance 40 per cent is held by Sunway City Bhd.

Sunway said the project is located inside the central business district of the Jiangyin New Harbour City, a new Jiangyin Government administration centre.

"The project seeks to be differentiated by introducing ultra-modern resort-style living design concepts and international quality standards with a well-planned premium product," it added.

A feasibility study on the project was conducted with Shanghai Guanghao and Suncity prior to the signing of the agreements, Sunway said.

By New Straits Times

LBS to diversify into industrial property

PETALING JAYA: LBS Bina Group Bhd plans to diversify into industrial property development in Puchong to overcome a softer residential property market this year.

Group managing director Datuk Lim Hock San said demand was still intact for industrial properties and the Puchong project, with an initial gross development value of RM100mil, would take two years to complete.

“We plan to launch 50 semi-detached factories in Puchong. It (each factory) would have a land area of about 7,500 sq ft and built-up area of 4,000 sq ft,” he said after the company AGM yesterday.

In the past two years, he said LBS had reined in its property launches as the surge in raw material prices had affected construction costs.

“We are lucky we did not launch so many projects,” Lim said, adding that LBS planned to sell some of its land and focus on the Klang Valley property projects on a small-scale only.

This year, LBS would continue to be cautious due to soaring raw material prices while contractors were seeking price revisions, he said. For instance, LBS had decided to hold back the commercial shops launch in Bandar Saujana Putra, but this would be reviewed in one to two months.

However, Lim was upbeat on its China property development project, via recently acquired Lamdeal Golf and Country Club Ltd (HK), which owns and operates the Lakewood Golf Club in Zuhai, China.

“We are planning to have a hotel at the golf resort,” he said.

LBS was also exploring a plan to venture into agriculture exports even though the returns might not be that high compared with property development. Lim did not provide details.

While Lim described the current property market as “matured”, he expected it to be boosted by the Government's planned spending following the Ninth Malaysian Plan's mid-term review.

By The Star

Tradewinds plans new township in Iskandar

TRADEWINDS Corp Bhd is planning a new 378-hectare township in Bandar Nusajaya in Johor, its chairman Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas said yesterday.

Megat Najmuddin said the new township, which lies within Iskandar Malaysia, will comprise a mixed development of high-end residential and commercial areas.

“We are confident of the project doing well because the government is investing a lot of time and money in developing and promoting Iskandar Malaysia,” he told reporters after the company’s annual general meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

Megat Najmuddin said the yet-to-be-named township will start to contribute to Tradewinds’ revenue by 2010. He said efforts to develop the new township included the acquisition of three companies for RM415 million.

The cost included liabilities and the 378 hectares of land owned by the companies for the township.

Tradewinds’ chief operating officer Cheah Wing Choong said the company expects to complete the master plan for the township soon and will submit it to the relevant authorities within the year.

The new township is targeted at Malaysians working in Singapore, Singaporeans and also foreigners working in the republic, he said.

By Bernama

Ireka unit wins contract

KUALA LUMPUR: Ireka Corp Bhd unit Ireka Engineering & Construction Sdn Bhd has won a contract worth RM539.8mil to construct luxury condominiums in Kuala Lumpur.

In a statement to Bursa Malaysia yesterday, Ireka said the contract was awarded by Amatir Resources Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary company of Aseana Properties Ltd.

The project comprised main building works for four blocks of 12 to 40 stories housing 605 units, four stories of car parks, recreation and common facilities block.

The project is slated for completion by December 2010.

By The Star

Britain’s May mortgage approvals at record low

LONDON: Approvals for new home loans in Britain plummeted in May to a record low, official data showed yesterday, in a sign that house prices will fall sharply in the coming months.

The Bank of England said mortgage approvals fell 28% on the month to 42,000.

Analysts had predicted a reading of 51,000.

“Terrible. There is no other way of describing them,” said Philip Shaw, chief economist at Investec. “It is really symptomatic of what is going on the housing market. The real danger is there is a knock-on effect to consumer activity.”

Approvals were 64% lower than a year ago in May as mortgage lenders have tightened up borrowing terms in the face of funding constraints caused by a global credit crunch.

House prices have already been falling at monthly rates not seen since the housing market crash of the early 1990s and the very weak approvals numbers suggest the downturn is only just beginning, especially as interest rate cuts are not likely.

The BoE is juggling the twin risks of a sharply slowing economy and the highest inflation rate since it was given control of monetary policy in 1997, and the Monetary Policy Committee is expected to hold rates steady as a result.

Actual mortgage lending posted its weakest rise since March2001, rising by £4.07 billion (US$8.12 billion), weaker than the £6 billion rise predicted by analysts.

In percentage terms, mortgage lending grew by just 0.3%, its weakest monthly rate in nearly 12 years.

Earlier, a separate survey showed consumer confidence fell to its weakest level since 1990 when the economy was teetering on the brink of recession.

By Reuters