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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Setia Haruman to stretching its boundaries

Setia Haruman is considering a listing, either locally or overseas, in three to five years and venturing beyond Cyberjaya.

GROWING CONCERN:Lao says Setia Haruman intends to keep the business flourishing even after Cyberjaya is developed.

SETIA Haruman Sdn Bhd, master developer of the country's first information and communications technology (ICT) hub Cyberjaya, may plan an initial public offering (IPO) in three to five years to raise funds.

It may consider a local IPO or list on a foreign exchange, Setia Haruman chief operating officer Lao Chok Keang said.

He said Setia Haruman was considering venturing beyond Cyberjaya to stretch its boundaries.

"We are currently a single-project entity with only Cyberjaya in our hands. We want to run it as a growing concern so that the business can flourish even after Cyberjaya is developed," Lao said.

Setia Haruman, 75 per cent held by Emkay Group and 25 per cent by UEM Group, has the rights to sell land parcels as well as plan, design and develop the infrastructure at Cyberjaya from 1997 until the project is developed by 2019.

In an interview with Business Times in Cyberjaya, Lao said that Setia Haruman may buy land on the outskirts of Cyberjaya and in other high-impact areas in the country to build up the company.

It may also venture to Vietnam, Cambodia and eastern European countries looking at similar developments like Cyberjaya.

"Cyberjaya is a planned city and there're only a few in the world. We have to create a character to sell the idea," Lao said.

He declined to elaborate on plans or say if the company was in talks with any parties.

"Our people are well equipped to handle projects overseas. We have expertise in housing, infrastructure development and building construction that requires specific ICT needs."

In the financial years 2006 and 2007, Setia Haruman achieved more than RM500 million sales, with 10 per cent profit margin.

Lao said there will be an improvement this year as the company has been selling more land in Cyberjaya to developers eyeing high-impact projects.

Setia Haruman has formulated a five-year plan, ending 2010, to sell land parcels for housing, research institutions, hospital and colleges.

"While it is difficult to attract people to come here, we are saying that the cost is lower to operate in Cyberjaya. We are already seeing a number of big names establishing a base here," Lao said.

Setia Haruman is promoting the digital city with other stakeholders - Multimedia Development Corp (MDeC), Sepang City Council and Cyberview Sdn Bhd - to ensure its sustainability.

"The driver for Cyberjaya is the government's investment through MDeC in bringing information technology companies here," Lao added.

By New Straits Times (by Sharen Kaur)

Plenitude Q4 profit jumps on strong property sales

PLENITUDE Bhd increased its net profit by 15 per cent to RM24.5 million in the fourth quarter compared with the same period last year, as it sold more properties.

For the current year ending June 2009, the group is fairly optimistic it will record satisfactory results as it aims to complete ongoing projects on time.

"Plenitude's good performances and growth over the years are testament to our dedication and commitment in providing high quality products and services to our customers," it said in a statement yesterday.

For the three months to June 30 2008, Plenitude's revenue jumped 43 per cent to RM129.6 million from RM90.8 million before.

Revenue was driven by impressive sales of properties in Taman Desa Tebrau in Johor, Taman Putra Prima in Selangor, Bandar Perdana and Lot 88 in Kedah, The Residences of Changkat Kiara and Changkat View Condominium in Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur.

In the same period, earnings per share also increased to 18.21 sen from 15.84 sen.

For the 12-month period, the company achieved a net profit of RM78.71 million, a 39 per cent jump from 2007.

Revenue improved by 46 per cent to RM347.84 million.

"The response to our launches in the year under review have been very good and we will work hard to ensure that our future launches will receive equal, if not better, responses," said its executive chairman Chua Elsie.

CHUA: The response to our launches in the year under review have been good.

Apart from the profit contributed from property development projects, Plenitude's hotel in Penang , the Tanjung Bungah Beach Hotel, also contributed 0.3 per cent to the group's net profit.

By New Straits Times

Tanjong to build holiday homes in Germany

TANJONG plc has signed an agreement yesterday to develop about 2,000 holiday homes at its Tropical Islands resort in Germany.

Under the agreement, Eske Group A/S will finance development of the vacation home project while Novasol A/S will have the exclusive marketing rights.

Tropical Islands is a holiday resort, located within the world's largest freestanding dome in Germany, developed by Tropical Island Holding GmbH Group, a subsidiary of Tanjong.

The development of 500ha of land will be carried out over three phases.

The first stage comprises construction of 375 units over 30ha which is expected to be ready for occupation in 2010.

Tanjong is not expected to assume nor commit to any financial obligation in respect of the construction and development of the vacation homes.

Tanjong's chairman Datuk Robert Cheim said the involvement of the Eske Group and Novasol will surely contribute to the successful development of Tropical Islands.

"The availability of resort accommodation facilities will help Tropical Islands attract a greater number of visitors from the fast-growing European vacation market, and should expand its current public profile which compromises largely day-trippers. This will place the resort in a much better position to generate greater revenue in the longer term," he said.

By New Straits Times

Hektar REIT posts double-digit Q2 profit growth

HEKTAR REIT, a retail mall property trust with more than RM700 million worth of properties including the Subang Parade shopping complex in Selangor, saw its net profit and revenue grow double-digit in the second quarter of this year.

This was helped by high occupancy rates and positive rental reversions, Hektar Asset Management Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Jaafar Abdul Hamid said.

"Hektar REIT's net profit grew 10.9 per cent year-on-year to RM9.4 million in the second quarter ended June 30 this year," Jaafar said in an email.

Revenue edged up 15.6 per cent to RM20.9 million, against RM18.06 million in the same period last year.

"Our second quarter results performed according to our expectations. Our shopping centres continue to record high occupancies and rental reversions remain positive.

"Over one million Malaysians live within 15 minutes' drive time of our shopping centres," Jaafar said.

Total occupancy of the shopping centres, he said, improved 97.4 per cent with Subang Parade reaching full occupancy.

Rental reversions remained positive, with 17 new or renewed tenancies recording an average increase of 11 per cent over previous rental rates.

A second quarter dividend of 2.4 sen per unit was declared.

Based on the closing price of RM1.25 on August 12, this represents an annualised yield of 7.7 per cent.

Hektar REIT, listed on Bursa Malaysia's main board in December 2006, aims to distribute 90 per cent of the actual net income for 2008.

By New Straits Times (by Zuraimi Abdullah)

Malbex 2008 to feature cost-effective building systems

COMPANIES are finding smarter ways to construct buildings and the upcoming Malaysian International Building Exposition (Malbex 2008) will feature them.

Two of these home-grown companies are Innovative Precast Builders Sdn Bhd (IPB) and Soils Dynamics (M) Sdn Bhd.

IPB makes an environment-friendly industrial building system (IBS), a patented wall system that will be showcased to local and foreign industry players at the trade show.

IPB director Loo Lee Kam said the wall system allows any building to be completed faster, thus saving on labour cost.

"The cost-saving is about 10 per cent and the price is about the same or cheaper than the conventional product because we save on the mould. The product is also 30 per cent lighter than the conventional one because it doesn't require mortar and plastering, or even cranes," he told Business Times in an interview in Petaling Jaya recently.

Developed locally, the IPB wall system is an engineered concrete block system for structural and non-structural wall application. The concrete block sizes and weight are designed for manual handling.

Chew said the product is flexible as it can be used in the construction of any building, house extension or retaining wall.

Soils Dynamics will be promoting its Bi-Directional Static Load Test system at Malbex 2008.

Soils Dynamics operations manager Yii Toh Leong said the method could help save up to 30 per cent of costs.

Developed locally, the system, which has been introduced in the market since 1990, is widely adopted in the US, Europe and Asia.

Malbex 2008 will be held from August 26 to 29 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

By New Straits Times (by Hamisah Hamid)

Dream Living in Kiaraville

Property developer Lai Siew Wah, group managing director of Ireka Corp, is so happy with his Kiaraville condominium development in Mont’ Kiara that he has retained a few units for himself.

In fact, Lai’s children as well as other directors of the joint-venture development have all bought units, mainly as investments. However, Lai and one of the joint-venture directors, who is also chief executive officer of a public-listed company, have furnished and moved into their units.

Lai has a penthouse in one of the high-rise towers but because his wife didn’t fancy walking up and down the huge duplex unit, he has opted to stay in one of two adjoining units in a low-rise block. The other unit is meant for visiting friends and relatives.

Kiaraville is known for its two landmark bronze sculptures worth RM2mil sited at the entrance plaza. The two rotund figures of musicians were created by New York-based Malaysian artist Eng Tay.

Sited on 2.73 hectares (6.74 acres) of land, Kiaraville comprises Tower A with 33 storeys, Tower B with 28 storeys and Tower C with 18 storeys while the two remaining residential blocks are relatively low-rise with 10 and 13 storeys, respectively. The first few units were handed over in February this year. There are a total of 404 units.

Kiaraville is developed by Binaderas Sdn Bhd – owned by Lai and his family members – in collaboration with CapitaLand Financial Ltd and OCBC Bank.

The launch price in March 2005 was RM430 per square foot. To date, all the units have been sold. However, units recently transacted in the secondary market cost between RM550 and RM700 per square foot. The typical units range from 1,593sq ft to 3,935sq ft. Maintenance fee is 25 sen per square foot inclusive of sinking fund contribution. Lai’s own two adjoining units are on Level 1 and have great views of the swimming pools and the landscaped plaza. One of his units, featured on these pages, spans 3,954 sq ft.

As a relatively high-end condo development, imported marble is used as the flooring material in the foyer as well as the living and dining rooms. Bedrooms have “pre-engineered timber” flooring while the wet and dry kitchens come with homogenous tiles. The bathroom in the main bedroom and the powder room have granite floors while the other bathrooms have homogeneous tiles.

While the main construction features were left intact, Lai wanted a grander ambience for his own units. Thus, he spent “substantial resources” on timber panelling to build an apartment with a “stately feel”.

Privacy is assured as there are only two units on each floor of the residential block that Lai has chosen. There is also direct access from the private lift lobby of the condo units to the car park in the basement.

Other than the timber panels, nothing much else needed to be done to the units. Standard built-in features include cabinets in the dry and wet kitchens and wardrobe units in all bedrooms.

The bathroom in the master bedroom is similar to bathrooms of five-star hotels. It has a grand view of the landscaped plaza and pools.

Bathroom fittings include Hans Grohe shower sets in all bathrooms, especially in the master bedroom, which is equipped with a “Rain Dance” shower set. Sanitary ware fittings are from Toto.

Most of the furniture were either custom-built in Singapore according to specifications by the Singapore-based interior consultant. The brown lounge chair is from Baker Furniture imported from the US by a local store.

With the help of a design team from Design Stream, the interior was fitted out with imported furniture, including Baker from the US and FLOS lighting fixtures. Other furnishings were custom made in Singapore.

The furniture items can be described as in a “modern classic” style which won’t look outdated in a few years as design trend changes, says Lai’s personal assistant.

Contemporary Malaysian Art

When it comes to art works for his walls, Lai has become more adventurous in his taste. Of late, he has bought contemporary Malaysian paintings ever since an art gallery was set up in his other condominium development in Seni Mont’ Kiara.

Says Lai: “I sourced them from art shows in the SENI art gallery from time to time. The works include Ismail Latiff, Jolly Koh, Eng Tay and Jansen Chow.”

As the developer of Kiaraville, Lai is even more than happy to know that his buyers are renting out units that command quite good returns. The average rental rate is RM3.80 per square foot. And one of the units in his block has been rented out at RM15,000 per month.

And the company chairman expects the capital appreciation of prime condo units in Kiaraville to reach 50% to 70%.

By The Star