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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I-Berhad may partner PNB firms in developing i-City

I-BERHAD, developer of the i-City project in Shah Alam, may work with companies under the Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) stable to enhance its development, its chairman said.

Chairman Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman, who is also the president and chief executive officer of state-owned investment fund PNB, said I-Berhad wants to rope in more partners in the information technology area and may work with other PNB-owned companies.

"PNB is in many sectors. Some of those in the technology and property area can work with I-Berhad if there is good synergy. We'd want to see more profit for PNB ultimately," Hamad Kama Piah said in a press conference after I-Berhad's shareholder meeting in Shah Alam yesterday. PNB holds 18.5 per cent of I-Berhad.

I-Berhad started as a digital lifestyle products maker, but had three years ago launched i-City as part of plans to re-invent itself into a property developer that provides a digital working environment.
The RM2 billion commercial township has already forged strategic alliances with global leaders in the digital industry, such as Intel and Cisco, and has secured investments from ServCorp of Australia and Al-Rajhi Banking Group of Saudi Arabia.

The company made a record pre-tax profit of RM16 million last year and has over RM120 million in cash with zero borrowings. Its net tangible assets have increased to RM1.54 per share, chief executive officer Lim Boon Siong said, and there is still a substantial part of i-City to be developed.

Only a tenth of the available land has been developed and the first phase, which was launched three to four months ago, has seen good tenant response, Lim said.

The value of the remaining 90 per cent of land at i-City has tripled in value compared to its original cost, Lim said.

The development relies on high technology to help tenants save operation costs, while the syariah-compliant office suite in the first phase helps draw Islamic finance investors.

The two selling points will help the project in an economic downturn, he said, as more cost-conscious companies would prefer i-City while the Islamic finance players are more resilient in this crisis.

By Business Times (by Chong Pooi Koon)

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