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Thursday, July 2, 2009

UEM Land: Nusajaya project completion on track

KUALA LUMPUR: UEM Land Bhd is confident of completing the construction of its three buildings in Nusajaya, Iskandar Malaysia, by year-end despite the withdrawal of its major partner, Damac Properties (M) Sdn Bhd.

Managing director Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim said the company would also increase the price of its 43-acre waterfront development in Nusajaya to RM250 per sq ft from RM205 previously.

“Before the end of this year, three buildings will be ready in Nusajaya. However, we can’t reveal who will be the owners of the buildings until the agreements are signed,” he said.

UEM Land will be completing the construction of its family entertainment centre, a four-star hotel and an apartment block fronting the marina despite the withdrawal of its Dubai-based partner.

However, Wan Abdullah said the company still needed new investments to create the critical mass and businesses for the new development.

“We need investors to create the critical mass and excitement. Nonetheless, we believe investors will have more confidence to invest in Nusajaya once these three buildings are up,” he said.

The company is in talks with potential local and overseas developers, including from Australia and Singapore, to take over Damac’s place.

“We are also actively making new contacts with other parties,” said Wan Abdullah.

Last month, UEM Land announced that its agreement with Damac for the RM396mil sale of 43.5 acres in Puteri Harbour, Nusajaya, had lapsed.

On the potential transaction value of the property, he said: “We will not bring the price down, for sure. The only way for the price to go is up.

“This time, we will be a bit smarter. We will look into the funding element before we start a partnership. That’s going to be a major issue for us, especially in current times.”

Meanwhile, UEM Land is working out a RM354mil syndicated term loan with two banks for its working capital.

“The banks’ managements have forwarded it to the credit committee and we should know (the results) in a few weeks,” he said.

Currently, UEM Land has a land bank of 11,000 acres.

By The Star (by Shannen Wong)

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