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Monday, March 30, 2009

Pan Arab Dev-Hong Bee project talks

PAN Arab Development Co Sdn Bhd, controlled by a Pakistan businessman, aims to develop a commercial project in the Klang Valley, in partnership with the Hong Bee Group.

Its founder Aftab Adamjee said its investment in the development will be over RM200 million, but declined to elaborate as plans are still preliminary.

The project is a first in a series of investments Aftab will make in Malaysia.

Founded in 1933, Hong Bee is run by the low-profile Gan family, with interests in textile.

Aftab is in talks with Hong Bee to also build houses for the Muslim community from the Middle East, Pakistan and the West.

"I am talking to Glomac Bhd and Ireka Corp Bhd for similar purpose. But the bigger plan is to get investors from Pakistan and the Middle East to invest here," he told Business Times in an interview.

Aftab is also buying houses in bulk from developers in choice locations, and selling to the Muslim community worldwide.

"I see large groups of Muslims from the Middle East and Pakistan coming here over the next five years under the Malaysia 'My Second Home programme'. They feel insecure because of what is happening in their home country," he said.

Aftab, via a private firm, has sold RM50 million worth of properties for Ireka, to high-net worth people in Pakistan, and is in talks with Glomac to sell its properties in the same country.

"Developers are giving good rebates if you buy in bulk. If you have the heart to weigh it out during this turmoil, it is a good time to do it. You will be getting better deals now than six months ago. Obviously, this is the time to also negotiate," he said.

Aftab does not foresee the downtrend cycle to be long term as he expects a turnaround in three to five years' time.

But the biggest challenge is getting funds as banks have increased margin requirements, he said.

"For Malaysian acquisition, we try to get funding from local banks. I have been successful so far in getting more than RM50 million in credit from UOB, Affin and CIMB," he said.

Aftab said he is looking at downstream projects to do with oil- and gas-related firms, and derivatives of palm oil like pharmaceutical grade by-products.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

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