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Monday, June 15, 2009

PHBB in talks to buy prime KL land for RM250m

The deal to acquire the Railway Asset Corp-owned commercial land by Pelaburan Hartanah Bumiputera Bhd has yet to be done despite news about it three years ago.

Pelaburan Hartanah Bumiputera Bhd (PHBB) is in talks to buy a piece of prime land in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, for an estimated RM250 million, a deal that has yet to be done despite news about it three years ago.

The 3.6-hectare commercial land is owned by Railway Asset Corp (RAC), a body set up by the Ministry of Transport to help the government, Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd and other railway firms develop railway infrastructure.

An official from RAC told Business Times that RAC had been approached by several developers but it was not ready to sell. The official declined to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

PHBB, which was set up with RM1 billion in hand, is meant to help raise the Bumiputera share of the commercial property market.

While it has made some progress buying prime properties in Kuala Lumpur from private companies, deals with government agencies have been slow.

It was back in 2006 that former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said PHBB was in the process of buying several prime land in Kuala Lumpur to be developed as commercial buildings and offices.

The list included the KTM land in Jalan Bangsar, Dataran Perdana in Jalan Davis and the Rubber Research Institute land in Jalan Ampang.

PHBB, a unit of Permodalan Nasional Bhd, has bought the Menara Bumiputra-Commerce in Kuala Lumpur from CIMB Group for RM460 million in 2007.

It is also buying CP Tower, an office building in Section 16, Petaling Jaya, from CIMB-Mapletree Management Sdn Bhd for RM200 million.

Sources said PHBB wants to build properties that are almost similar to the thriving Mid Valley City, which comprises malls, apartments, hotels and office buildings, on the KTM land in Bangsar.

It is unclear if PHBB will develop the project on its own or in a joint venture with RAC. It may well ask builder Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) to help since both are partners in existing projects, the source said.

Together, they are developing a retail complex at Kuala Lumpur Sentral in Brickfields.

They are also developing the RM2 billion Penang Sentral transportation project. PHBB officials were not available for comment.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

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