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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

NAZA TTDI targets Mideast market

DUBAI: NAZA TTDI Sdn Bhd is actively promoting its property to the Middle East market following a “high level” of interest received.

Marketing and sales director SM Faliq SM Nasimuddin said in a statement many high profile investors from the Middle East had shown keen interest in the company’s projects particularly in its “jewel in the crown” RM3.5bil Platinum Park, comprising seven iconic towers of offices, service apartments, retail units and upmarket condominiums, in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC).

SM Faliq Nasimuddin

SM Faliq said Middle Eastern investors were very astute when it came to choosing a good property.

“In recent years they have shown keen interest in Malaysian properties particularly those in prime locations where they see potential for good capital appreciation.

“Also, luxury properties in KLCC area are comparatively much cheaper than those in downtown Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai,” he added.

More than 400 exhibitors from around the world are participating in the event at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre.

By The Star

PHBB to buy land in Iskandar

DUBAI: Pelaburan Hartanah Bumiputera Bhd (PHBB) is in final negotiations to purchase 30 acres in the proposed financial district of Medini in Iskandar Malaysia, the state investment agency said yesterday.

“We have identified the size of the land we want - 30 acres - that we will develop in phases,” PHBB managing director Kamalul Arifin Othman told the media at Cityscape Dubai after an earlier announcement by Millenium Development International, the lead developer of the Medini financial district and one of the Middle Eastern development partners of Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s Iskandar Investment Bhd (IIB).

“We intend to be (the) first mover in the financial district,” he added.

The land acquisition will be made through a joint venture company in which PHBB will own 60% and IIB 40%.

“We have the resources to undertake the development. We had received RM2bil in seed capital from the federal government,” Kamalul said, adding that PHBB was talking to established companies to take up space in the Medini financial district.

Millenium vice chairman Oussama Kabbani said in a speech that Iskandar financial district was in the right location and right market.

The price of land there was just 10% that in Singapore even though it was just 20 minutes’ drive from the island republic, he noted.

Global Capital, the consortium that includes Millenium and IIB, would invest US$1bil to develop and sell the sites acquired within Medini, Iskandar Malaysia.

The development value in the financial district alone would exceed US$4.5bil, Oussama said, adding that Millenium was in discussion with prospective investors from the Gulf region to invest in Iskandar Malaysia.

IIB managing director Arlida Ariff said the government offered special incentives for companies to move into specific clusters in Iskandar Malaysia.

These include a 10-year tax holiday, 100% foreign ownership and flexibility in hiring foreign knowledge workers.

Companies in the Fortune 500 list and others that might want to expand from Hong Kong and Singapore were being approached by IIB as prospective tenants and investors, she added.

PHBB is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yayasan Amanah Hartanah Bumiputra.

Formed two years ago, it has invested in 300 acres of commercial land in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, including the headquarters of Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Bhd and the transport hub at Butterworth.

PHBB invests primarily in Grade A commercial properties and its aim is to eventually place them in a real estate investment trust.

By The Star (by C.S.Tan)

Arab investors committed to Medini

DUBAI: Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s Arab partners in the development of Medini, a 2,300-acre mixed project in Iskandar Malaysia, remain committed in spite of the global financial turbulence.

“It comes down to fundamentals. If you look at comparable rents (in Johor), they are 20% to 10% of Singapore’s,” John A. Thomas, an executive director of Mubadala, told the media on Monday.

Medini, a greenfield project in Nusajaya, Johor, was officially launched at Cityscape Dubai, an annual property exhibition, by Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman.

Earlier, Ghani told the media that the new state administrative centre, located next to Medini, was almost completed and civil servants would soon be moving into the new offices.

As for the global credit crunch and its impact on property investment, Thomas said: “Medini is a project that spans 10 to 15 years. Looking back later on, this will just be a blip during this period.”

Iskandar Investment Bhd (IIB), an investment arm of Khazanah, coordinates and invests in Iskandar Malaysia.

Its development partners for Medini are Mubadala, Aldar Properties, Millennium Development International and Al-Nibras 2 Ltd, a Labuan-based private fund company managed by Kuwait Finance House (M) Bhd group. Mubadala, Aldar and the Lebanese Saraya group, which owns Millennium, are all very large Middle Eastern property developers and investors.

IIB managing director Arlida Ariff said the company hoped to grow the partnerships and, at the same time, was aiming at drawing the next tier of investors to Iskandar Malaysia.

“We hope to get more participants to develop specific parcels of land in Iskandar Malaysia,” she said, adding that this was one of the aims of IIB’s participation with its booth at Cityscape Dubai.

Iskandar Malaysia was masterplanned into specific parcels of landed projects, such as education and financial centres, so that lead developers did not cannabalise each other’s market, she said.

Millennium’s country manager for Malaysia Richard Polkinghorne said the Saraya group’s objective was to transfer its expertise in the development of cities from greenfield sites to Malaysia.

“There are not many places in the world where you can build a city.

The Middle East has provided the training ground, and now Malaysia has the same vision,” he added.

In building cities, developers had to think of building offices and living space for 200,000 people and how to roll out projects over 10, 15 years, added Polkinghorne.

He remains convinced that Medini will work. “It comes down to location, location and location.

It’s close to Singapore which is running out of space. It’s a unique opportunity,” he said.

Millennium is scouting to invest in another project in Malaysia as well as elsewhere in South-East Asia.

The Aldar group also remains keen on its participation in Medini. “Aldar will bring its development and management expertise to this part of the world. We see Medini as an excellent entry point for us and it represents a salient opportunity to internationalise our operations outside of Abu Dhabi,” said chief operating officer John Bullough.

By The Star