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Friday, May 29, 2009

MRCB, Gapurna team up

Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd and Gapurna are expected to finish developing the RM1 billion '348 Sentral' project by the third quarter of 2012

Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) is developing a RM1 billion office and residential project at Kuala Lumpur Sentral, the city's largest transportation hub.

The project will be undertaken on a joint-venture basis with Gapurna Sdn Bhd, a local developer with 60 per cent share of the partnership.

Work on the project, known as 348 Sentral, started last month. It is expected to be ready by the third quarter of 2012.

"This is part of our RM3 billion expansion of Kuala Lumpur Sentral over the next few years," MRCB group managing director Shahril Ridza Ridzuan told reporters after the launch yesterday.

MRCB is the master developer of Kuala Lumpur Sentral.

348 Sentral will be financed using internal funds and borrowings.

"A couple of banks" are in the process of finalising a loan, Shahril said.

The project will feature a 33-storey office tower and a 21-storey serviced residence tower sitting on a five-storey podium and a four-storey basement.

The joint venture, GSB Sentral Sdn Bhd, will lease part of the office tower to oil firm Shell Malaysia to use as its regional office for 15 years.

Shell will be its anchor tenant, taking up about 340,000 sq ft.

"We decided to consolidate our offices in the Klang Valley and 348 Sentral was the best offer we had," its chairman Datuk Saw Choo Boon said.

The company currently has offices in 10 physical locations in the Klang Valley.

348 Sentral is said to be the country's first integrated commercial development going for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification with gold standard, a US-based green building rating system.

It will be Gapurna's first big-scale project, its chairman Tan Sri Abdul Halim Ali said.

Shahril said he expected MRCB, which turned in sharply lower first quarter profit this year, to show better earnings in future quarters now that building material costs had fallen.

Its first quarter profit fell by almost 99 per cent to RM153,000.

On its upcoming transportation hub in Penang, he said the company was working on the final design and expected to get vacant possession of the site "shortly".

A temporary hub has been built and is operational.

The launch yesterday was officiated by Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

By Business Times (by Adeline Paul Raj)

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