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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

TH Properties to provide healthcare at Bandar Enstek

KUALA LUMPUR: Lembaga Tabung Haji’s property arm TH Properties Sdn Bhd and Primanora Sdn Bhd, will provide healthcare services in its flagship project at Bandar Enstek in Negri Sembilan for the aged and elderly.

“Besides healthcare services, the first phase of the development, Resort Living@enstek, will also offer various social, cultural and educational activities for residents,” TH Properties’ chief executive Zaharuddin Saidon told reporters after signing a memorandum of understanding here yesterday.

He added that the development would be on a 12ha land in Bandar Enstek, with a gross development value (GDV) of RM30 million. Construction will start in June 2009 and is scheduled for completion within two years. Bandar Enstek is a RM9.2 billion township which will spread over 2,000ha when fully completed in 2025.

“There will be about 60 units of bungalows in the area, which cost RM500,000 to RM1 million per unit. We are targeting the elderly of 60 years old and above,” Zaharuddin said, adding that it was also looking to provide similar services to the elderly in Ipoh and Penang.

Besides the Resort Living@enstek, the property developer is also eyeing suitable locations in Bandar Enstek and Kuala Lumpur to develop its second healthcare project — Women & Children’s Hospital — with a GDV of RM150 million.

“The demand for the hospital will be in Kuala Lumpur and a decision will be made in the next couple of months,” he said.

By The EDGE Malaysia

TH Properties to build township for the elderly

TH Properties Sdn Bhd has teamed up with PrimaNora Sdn Bhd to develop a RM30 million resort-style township in Bandar Enstek for the aged and elderly.

TH Properties chief executive officer, Zaharuddin Saidon, said the 12-hectare development was expected to commerce in June next year and would be completed two years later.

“The township, called Resort Living@enstek, is targeted at those 60 years and above.

“It will comprise 60 bungalows priced between RM500,000 and RM1 million each,” he said after signing the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with PrimaNora in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Zaharuddin said under the MOU both companies would also collaborate to develop a women and children’s hospital, medical wellness centre, specialist healthcare facilities and comprehensive health Hajj programme, focusing on providing comprehensive and holistic healthcare.

“We are currently studying the strategic location for the hospital (for women and children). It might be within the Bandar Enstek or somewhere else in Kuala Lumpur,” he said.

He said the companies also planned to develop the same type of township in Penang and Ipoh.

“We have identified a few locations. We will duplicate Resort Living@enstek and build the township, maybe in Penang and Ipoh,” he said.

Asked if this was the right time to introduce new development due to the current global crisis, he said: “The health industry is recession-proof. People still get old. They have to prepare themselves.”

Zaharuddin said the company was fortunate not to rely on one product.

“For other developers who rely on one product, especially the high-end, investors might hesitate because of the current financial crisis. So they will be affected.

“But for us we have different products. So if the high-end have problems, we will go for other products such as middle- and lower-end.

“People still need houses. So we will identify the products the market wants,” he said.

By Bernama

Urusharta draws foreign buyers

KUALA LUMPUR: Urusharta Cemerlang Sdn Bhd believes properties in the country are still attractive especially among foreigners, says chairman Tan Sri Zainol Mahmood.

“With strategic location and high quality of materials used, there should be no reason why foreigners don’t want to buy properties in Malaysia,” he said yesterday after the topping-up ceremony for Pavilion Residences.

He added that foreigners from about 18 countries made up half of the buyers for the 368-unit high-end condominium project, which was sold out last month.

The units were priced from RM1.8mil to RM8mil.

Despite the current global economic slowdown, the international community seemed aware of the future of Malaysia and were still confident on investing in the country, said Zainol.

Comprising two towers, the project is located at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur in the Golden Triangle.

Zainol said although the property sector was facing a slowdown, developers shouldn’t just stand still but must think positively on how to generate business activities in the country.

He believed the company’s decision to complete the development of Pavilion Residences would help the industry and the country by creating jobs.

“If we stop the development, it would mean no jobs for people. Doing so would just help create a recession,” he said.

Pavilion Residences is scheduled for completion early next year with gross development value of RM610mil.

By The Star

YTL Corp hunting for acquisitions

YTL Corp, Malaysia’s biggest builder, said it’s got a “war chest” of about RM12 billion (US$3 billion) and is looking for acquisitions as asset values worldwide fall.

“We have an army of people combing through deals,” managing director Tan Sri Francis Yeoh said in an interview with Bloomberg Television today. “There are very interesting assets globally that are ready.”

“It’s the best time to buy assets which are at distressed levels,” said Jason Chong, who helps oversee US$1.6 billion of securities, including YTL shares, as chief investment officer at UOB-OSK Asset Management in Kuala Lumpur. “In times like this, cash-rich companies like YTL can afford to cherry-pick.”

YTL, based in Kuala Lumpur, has expanded its cement, power and water businesses by buying businesses in China, Indonesia, Australia and the UK, where the Malaysian company owns Wessex Water.
Yeoh said today YTL could borrow six or seven times more than the company’s available cash for larger takeover.

YTL is assessing businesses in the property, power-generation and water industries, Yeoh said. Still, the company will maintain a “steady dividend flow,” he said.

Profit at YTL in the year ended June 2008 rose 9.8 per cent to RM769.8 million from a year earlier, helped by higher earnings at the utility and cement divisions.

By Bloomberg

UEM Land to spend bulk of loan on Nusajaya

UEM Land Holdings Bhd, which was listed on the stock market yesterday, plans to use the bulk of a bank loan, or RM500 million, to develop its Nusajaya township in Johor next year, officials said.

The property developer is in talks with a group of five local banks for a RM850 million Islamic loan, managing director Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim said.

It hopes to close the deal by the end of the first quarter of 2009.

This would double UEM Land's total debt over equity ratio to 60 per cent, which is on par with the industry, he said.

UEM Land also plans to raise another RM400 million from a share sale later, when markets improve.
The company, which was listed on the main board in place of its parent UEM World following a group restructuring, made a commendable debut despite the overall weak market yesterday.

It opened five sen lower than its reference price of 55 sen, before moving to make gains

It ended the day 2.5 sen higher to 57.5 sen, off an intra-day peak of 80 sen. It was the day's most actively traded counter, with 47.8 million shares changing hands.

"We were prepared for (an opening) of below 50 sen this morning," chairman Tan Sri Ahmad Tajuddin Ali remarked after the opening bell. "This shows people want to get hold of UEM shares," he added.

Research house Hwang-DBS Vickers Research had earlier pegged the company's fair value at 45 sen.

UEM Land is 77.1 per cent owned by the UEM Group and 22.9 per cent by the public.

Wan Abdullah said the company had managed to get a time extension by the stock market regulator to meet the required public shareholding spread of 25 per cent.

Based on its reference price, it had a market capitalisation of RM1.3 billion, making it the country's fifth largest listed property developer, according to HwangDBS.

By Business Times (by Adeline Paul Raj)

Sands: We have enough money for casino project

LAS VEGAS: Las Vegas Sands Corp has enough money to finish Singapore's first casino without help from the city-state's government or billionaire Kwek Leng Beng after the company raised US$2.1 billion (US$1 = RM3.60), president William Weidner said.

Parts of Marina Bay Sands will open later than the end of 2009, as originally scheduled, on construction snags and an "unprecedented" shortage of raw materials that is now "opening up," he said. "We have all the money required to be able to complete the project."

Las Vegas Sands, controlled by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, halted developments in Macau and Las Vegas to focus on finishing the Singapore project and the casino part of its Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, site. It raised US$2.1 billion last week selling stock and warrants, prompting auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC to yesterday remove a warning that there was "substantial doubt" the company could survive.

“They should be okay for the next 12 months,” said Billy Ng, a Hong-Kong based casino analyst at JPMorgan & Chase Co.

By Bloomberg

Hektar REIT sees steady rentals next year

PETALING JAYA: Hektar Real Estate Investment Trust (Hektar REIT) is expecting stable rental incomes next year due to the high occupancy rate of its retail properties as well as a positive trend in its rentals.

The REIT also sees less impact from the economic slowdown as its portfolio consists of the more resilient neigbourhood shopping malls.

Hektar Asset Management Sdn Bhd, the manager of Hektar REIT, said as of the third quarter of this year, the occupancy rate of its retail properties was a solid 96.8%.

“With the majority of our income secured by multi-year leases (three to four years), we will have stable income in 2009,” Hektar Asset executive director and chief financial officer Zalila Mohd Toon told StarBiz.

Zalila said Hektar REIT, which currently owns a property portfolio valued at around RM700mil, remained positive on rental rates.

As at end September, rental rates for 30 new or renewed tenancies in its portfolio had increased by an average of 6%.

Hektar REIT’s retail properties are mainly suburban and neighbourhood malls, which are smaller than regional or city malls.

Its portfolio consists of Subang Parade in Subang, Mahkota Parade in Malacca and Wetex Parade in Muar, Johor.

Hektar REIT now owns more than one million sq ft of space and has over 300 retailers in its portfolio.

The size of neighbourhood malls averages around 500,000 sq ft, or about half the size of so-called regional malls like Suria KLCC.

Zalila said a neighbourhood mall, like Subang Parade, was focused in two ways.

Firstly, it was geared toward serving the surrounding communities living within 15 minutes’ driving distance.

Secondly, the tenant mix was concentrated on basic goods and necessities, and other lifestyle elements, but not luxury items.

“Therefore, we think neighbourhood malls have a more resilient business model than the larger regional malls in difficult times (recession),” Zalila said.

Hektar REIT has also kept track of their retailers’ performance.

“More than 90% of our retailers in Subang and Mahkota Parade so far reported that their sales figures remained intact,” Zalila said.

On the flip side, she said when the economy was booming, the regional malls could do better as they could charge higher rental rates.

“The challenging financial market and stock market, in general, has not affected the operating environment for Hektar REIT’s retail assets at this time,” she said.

Going forward, Zalila said Hektar REIT would continue to focus on completed or nearly completed retail assets, and it would grow its asset base via acquisitions.

According to the Malaysian Valuation and Property Services Department, there is close to 90 million sq ft of shopping centre net lettable area, or space for rent, in Malaysia.

“That means we have a market share of just over 1%,” Zalila said. “We see big opportunities for growth and development, particularly outside of the Klang Valley as almost a quarter of Malaysia’s shopping centre space is in Kuala Lumpur.”

On the impact of the global credit crunch, Zalila said in terms of securing financing in Malaysia, the REIT had long-term relationships with major financiers.

For the financial year ended Sept 30, Hektar REIT generated a total revenue of RM61.98mil, of which RM61.83mil was from rentals.

It also declared a dividend of 2.4 sen per unit.

By The Star (by Rachael Kam)