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Thursday, July 2, 2009

UEM Land in talks with potential Nusajaya investors

UEM Land Bhd is in talks with four to five parties to replace Middle East developer Damac Properties and invest in its Puteri Harbour project in Nusajaya, Johor.

Last month, Damac Properties backed out of a deal to buy 17.4 hectares for RM396 million.

"When it was brought to the board's attention we believe that we had fulfilled (all the conditions of the sale and purchase agreement), but Damac contested," UEM Land Bhd managing director Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim told reporters on the sidelines of Invest Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Arbitration was an option but the board decided against prolonging the issue.

Wan Abdullah said the entry of an investor is not urgent now but it would be needed at some point in order to make the project a success.

"We can certainly continue our work now, but we need partners to create that busyness, to create that critical mass, we can't do it alone, we don't have enough money in the kitty to do it," Wan Abdullah said.

UEM Land is asking for a RM354 million syndicated term loan from two local banks to finance its developments.

"The bank's management have forwarded it to the credit committee and we will know in a few weeks," Wan Abdullah said. UEM Land's gearing is currently at 0.35 times.

Wan Abdullah is hopeful that UEM Land will secure an investor by the end of the year. But it will be more cautious and iron out funding details before going ahead with the signing.

The interested parties included investors from Australia, Singapore and locals.

UEM Land is asking for RM250 per sq ft for the land now, higher than the average RM205 per sq ft it closed with Damac Properties in 2008.

"We will not bring it (the price) down, the only way the price is going, is up. When we transacted with Damac, you couldn't see the land form yet but if you go to the land site today, the private marina is almost completed, and full completion slotted for the end of the year," Wan Abdullah said.

Meanwhile, he said UEM Land is working on a high-end development in Cyberjaya, with a gross development value of RM1 billion.

The project is to be completed by the fourth quarter of the year.

By Business Times (by Presenna Nambiar)

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