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Thursday, August 21, 2008

CapitaLand applies to list RM2bil REIT

KUALA LUMPUR: Singapore-based CapitaLand Ltd has submitted its application to list its RM2bil real estate investment trust (REIT) on Bursa Malaysia.

However, the timing of the listing would depend on market conditions, said chief investment officer Kee Teck Koon.

From left: CapitaLand Commercial Ltd CEO Wen Khai Meng, Quill Group of Companies, executive director Dato' Michael Ong, MD Dato' Jennifer Low and CapitaLand Ltd, CIO Kee Teck Koon laying cement to the top of Tower D at KL Sentral on Wednesday. - Starpic by Victor K.K. Ng

“We have just submitted the application and expect to obtain the approval by the fourth quarter of this year,” he told reporters after the topping-up ceremony of Tower D in Lot J, KL Sentral, yesterday.

Tower D is being developed by Quill Realty Sdn Bhd, which is 60% owned by Quill and 40% owned by Malaysia Commercial Development Fund (MCDF). MCDF is managed by MCDF Management Pte Ltd, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of CapitaLand, with Aseambankers Malaysia Bhd as principal adviser.

Kee said the company hoped to list the REIT before year-end but it would hinge on the performance of the local capital market.

On the possibility of listing its REIT in other countries due to the lacklustre Malaysian market, Kee said the company was very clear on wanting to list it in Malaysia.

Assets to be injected into the trust will include Gurney Plaza in Penang, Mines Shopping Fair in Seri Kembangan, and Sungai Wang Plaza in Kuala Lumpur.

Kee said the company was always on the lookout for high-value commercial properties in Kuala Lumpur but there was currently nothing concrete.

Quill Capita Trust chief executive officer Chan Say Yeong said the demand for commercial properties was encouraging due to the limited supply of commercial assets in Kuala Lumpur.

“Generally the demand comes from oil and gas, telecommunications and multinational companies as well as the service sector.

“The rental growth rates in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre and KL Sentral areas were between 15% and 20% for the past few years,” he added.

Quill Group of Companies executive director Datuk Michael Ong said Tower D - a 29-storey office tower with a six-storey podium - would be ready for occupancy in March. Of its total net lettable space of 355,323 sq ft, 65% has been taken up by tenants so far.

Ong said the average monthly rental in KL Sentral was between RM6 and RM7 per sq ft while the latest property transaction price in KL Sentral was RM1,000 per sq ft.

By The Star

CapitaLand targets RM2b REIT listing by Dec

CAPITALAND Ltd, Southeast Asia's largest real estate company, plans to list a RM2 billion property trust of Malaysian shopping malls on Bursa Malaysia by the end of the year.

It submitted the request to the Securities Commission recently and expects an approval before October.

"The reason why we have done all the preparation is to do it (list it) before the end of the year. Of course, at the end of the day, it is all dependent on the market," said CapitaLand chief investment officer Kee Teck Koon.

Currently, its retail assets include Sungei Wang Plaza in Kuala Lumpur, Gurney Plaza in Penang and Mines Shopping Fair in Seri Kembangan, Selangor. In June, it bought 62 per cent of Sungei Wang Plaza's retail area for RM595 million.

Kee was speaking to the media after the topping-up ceremony for the Tower D project in KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur.

The commercial building, located next to Sooka Sentral and opposite the Sentral rail station, has seen strong tenant interest.

"So far, about 65 per cent of its total net lettable space of 355,323 sq ft has been taken up, mainly by foreign companies. We expect it to be fully tenanted by end of this year," said Quill Group of Companies director Datuk Michael Ong.

Construction is scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of next year.

It expects demand for top-grade commercial space to remain robust as demand is stronger than supply, mainly in areas near KLCC and in Sentral.

"The Malaysian real estate market is undergoing a stage of rapid growth following the country's healthy economic performance over the past few years," said CapitaLand Commercial Ltd chief executive officer Wen Khai Meng.

Tower D is developed by Quill Realty Sdn Bhd, which is 60 per cent owned by Quill and 40 per cent by Malaysia Commercial Development Fund (MCDF).

MCDF is managed by MCDF Management Pte Ltd, an indirect wholly-owned unit of CapitaLand with Aseambankers Malaysia Bhd as its main adviser.

By New Straits Times (by Goh Thean Eu)

TH Properties to invest RM100m in Bandar Enstek this year

KUALA LUMPUR: TH Properties Sdn Bhd will be investing another RM100 million in infrastructural development at its RM9.2 billion Bandar Enstek project in Negeri Sembilan, said its chief executive officer Zaharuddin Saidon.

"We are now opening up our techpark@enstek 2 and we need to put in place the infrastructure so we are going to spend about RM100 million this year to provide the necessary construction," he said after a memorandum of agreement (MoA) signing ceremony between TH Properties and Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd here yesterday.

TH Properties bought the 5,116-acre land for about RM800 million. The gross development value of the project is RM9.2 billion, while the gross development cost is RM7.4 billion. Bandar Enstek is expected to be completed in 2025.

Pursuant to the MoA with Bank Islam, prospective buyers will be able to secure financing packages of up to 100% for timur@enstek homes exceeding RM250,000 and may be exempted from making payments during the construction, or a grace period of up to three years.

In addition, Bank Islam also introduced a "two-month payment holiday" scheme where customers could skip paying instalments for November and December.

Bank Islam managing director Datuk Zukri Samat said it had a proper credit control system and not everyone would be eligible for the 100% financing.

To date, more than 24 units of timur@enstek's Matahari A&B bungalows had been sold. Seventy units of Bayu single-storey link homes were under construction for completion by January, said Zaharuddin.

He also said that the Rimbun superlink homes were launched in April and 40% of them had been taken up. "By the end of the year, we expect to be able to sell all the 100 units."

By The EDGE Malaysia (by Lu Jing Shia)

TH Properties, Bank Islam team up on loan scheme

TH PROPERTIES Sdn Bhd, the developer of Bandar Enstek, has partnered Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd on a loan package which includes financing of up to 100 per cent and waiver of payments during the construction period.

"We decided to be proactive, and come up with a 'no-payment during construction' scheme for home financing in anticipation of the impact of rising costs of living on disposable income," Bank Islam managing director Datuk Zukri Samat said in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

With the introduction of this package, buyers will have the opportunity to buy a house almost without having to pay a single sen until the house is ready for occupation.

Zukri said despite the flexibility that Bank Islam offers, the bank will make sure that it does not compromise on credit security.

"We sincerely hope that these features will provide customers peace of mind and relieve some of their burden during this challenging period," Zukri said.

Bank Islam also offers a two-month payment holiday scheme under which customers have the option to skip instalments for November and December every year.

Meanwhile, TH Properties chief executive officer Zaharuddin Saidon said it will go ahead with its planned RM100 million worth of property launches this year despite escalating costs of building materials.

"We know that other developers will hesitate, but we are moving full steam ahead. We are taking this opportunity to launch our products as others delay theirs," Zaharuddin said.

He said the company is working on various measures to reduce costs to maintain its prices.

By New Straits Times (by Presenna Nambiar)

i-City to provide smart banking

PETALING JAYA: I-Bhd, the developer of the 72-acre RM2bil freehold i-City project in Shah Alam’s Section 7, signed a memorandum of understanding with AmBank (M) Bhd yesterday for the provision of smart banking services including full e-banking facilities.

I-Bhd said in a statement other services being considered were wireless phone banking, wireless automated teller machines and new electronic financial services that would serve as prototype before being rolled out to other branches.

“AmBank selected i-City as a pilot site for this purpose because of i-City’s capability in supporting state-of-the-art technology,” it said, adding that the AmBank branch was expected to commence operations in the fourth quarter.

By The Star acquires Taiwan portal

The Group, owner of Asia’s leading network of property portals and Malaysia’s No. 1 real estate website, has acquired Taiwan’s online property portal,

In a statement yesterday, iProperty said the portal, owned by Info-Portal Tech International Co Ltd, was Chinese language-based and ranked No. 1 in terms of user traffic, developer clients and revenue.

“In total, over 225,000 users view and use VRHouse’s property listings and services monthly,” it said.

iProperty’s group chairman Patrick Grove said the company’s experience in Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Philippines would allow it to bring a strong value-add proposition to VRHouse.

“We also look forward to working with the dynamic, entrepreneurial local team to further dominate the Taiwan market and the region at large,” he said.

Grove said the acquisition would complete the company’s ownership of market-leading property portals across the Chinese diaspora in the region. “We are further excited by the recent political events and strengthening of ties with China which is expected to lead to a significant increase in mainland Chinese investing in Taiwanese property.

“We plan to position VRHouse as a key media property that facilitates this process,” he said.

Grove said the group would continue to seek further strategic acquisitions of leading property portals and complementary businesses throughout regional markets.

By Bernama

MP Corp and MoF unit sign pact on Johor township

KUALA LUMPUR: Property firm Malaysia Pacific Corp Bhd (MP Corp) has teamed up with Amanah Raya Bhd (ARB) to develop 276ha in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor, into a RM6.6bil self-contained township called LakeHill Resort City.

“The gross development cost of the project is estimated at RM4.2bil and is anticipated to generate development profits of RM2.4bil with an estimated completion time by 2015,’’ MP Corp told Bursa Malaysia yesterday. ARB is a company under Minister of Finance Inc (MoF).

MP Corp said it expected to raise development financing and construction bridging loan of RM200mil to fast-track the development. Additional funds would be raised via cashflow and profits derived from sales and “subsidiary joint venture” of the 22 parcels of approved projects for the township.

ARB and MP Corp have “agreed that a further option to speed up the project is by way of public listing on Bursa Malaysia of the developer within three to four years.”

“LakeHill Resort City is targeted to be the home of the trading, distribution, entertainment, shopping and tourism hub of Iskandar Malaysia to boost investor and economic activities for Johor and the country,’’ MP Corp said in the statement.

The centrepiece of the development will be the Asia Pacific Trade & Expo City (Aptec), a four million gross sq ft permanent trade and expo city, touted to be the largest of its kind in Asia.

A total of 9,116 residential units and 1,022 commercial units are being planned at the township.

MP Corp announced that it would undertake an internal restructuring to facilitate the joint venture with ARB involving the sale of its 276ha land bank to a special purpose vehicle called Oriental Pearl City Properties Sdn Bhd for RM135.3mil.

An independent valuer, on July 29, ascribed a fair market value of RM450mil for the land involved, MP Corp said.

ARB’s wholly owned unit AmanahRaya Development Sdn Bhd (ADSB) will pay RM99mil for a 22% stake in the joint venture, while MP Corp will retain a 78% share.

MP Corp was entitled to seek a joint-venture partner in its 78% profit entitlement of the developer, the statement said.

“The project is targeted at Malaysia My Second Home buyers, expatriates, Singaporeans and affluent Malaysians, complemented by plentiful medium-cost housing adjacent and nearby LakeHill Resort City and Aptec,’’ it said.

MP Corp is developing 970 high medium-cost houses in Taman Nusa Damai next to LakeHill Resort and Aptec.

By The Star

Hunza: Cut low-cost housing quota to 15pc

A review by the government of the 30 per cent low-cost housing quota imposed on private property developers under Budget 2009 will spur property players to bring down prices of other units being developed.

Hunza Properties Bhd chairman Datuk Khor Teng Tong proposed that the quota be reduced to 15 per cent as this will help the property industry cushion the impact of the current softening of the sector, which is expected to continue into 2009.

"The 30 per cent quota imposed currently is not helping consumers since developers are merely transferring the cost in building other properties to them.

"But by being made to subsidise less, we can then transfer the cost-savings to our buyers," he told a media briefing in Penang yesterday after announcing Hunza's financial results for the year ended June 30 2008.

Khor, who is also the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) Penang branch president, said the property cycle is on a downward trend.

"Factors such as price increase of building materials and the current local political environment are impacting negatively on the industry," he added, saying that the downward trend in the property industry is expected to continue into next year.

Reviewing the stamp duty to lower costs of home ownership is also on Khor's wish list for Budget 2009.

"This move will encourage house purchase and property investment among the general public," he added.

Other measures which can assist property players would be to control the prices of steel and cement, Khor said.

Meanwhile, construction of the RM700 million 'Gurney Paragon' project in Pulau Tikus is progressing according to schedule although the company has taken cost-cutting measures to face uncertain times.

"By taking on the role of main contractor for future phases of the project, we are looking at savings of between six per cent and 10 per cent in margins," Khor said.

He said Gurney Paragon and the 'Infinity' project in Tanjung Bungah are targeted at foreign purchasers.

"Prices of Malaysian properties in the global market are still competitive and the government can help Malaysian property players who market their projects overseas by giving tax incentives for overseas property promotion efforts," Khor said.

"Hunza has not experienced any significant margin compression as our products remain in demand and we have adjusted prices to cover the increase in cost," he added.

By New Straits Times (by Marina Emmanuel)