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Monday, October 5, 2009

BLand may start work on S. Korean project next year

BERJAYA Land Bhd (BLand) is expected to start construction of its maiden US$3 billion (RM10.4 billion) mixed development township project in South Korea in the second half of next year.

"We are at the design stage now. We target to complete that and start construction next year," Berjaya Hotels & Resorts chief executive officer Joseph Won said in an interview with Business Times in Kuala Lumpur recently.

Won said he is bullish about the project, given that Jeju province is popular among people from Japan, South Korea and China.

BLand entered into a joint venture with Jeju Free International City Development Center (JDC) in 2008 to become master developer for the project in Jeju.

The resort-type township will be built within eight and 10 years on 74.4ha of land and feature 600 mid-rise apartments, 200 villas, a five-star hotel with 250 rooms and a casino hotel with 500 rooms, a casino, a shopping complex and a medical centre.

BLand, which acquired the 74.4ha land from JDC to undertake the project, has a 81 per cent interest in the development. JDC holds the balance.

Berjaya Hotels & Resorts, the leisure unit of BLand, is looking for properties to operate in Asia Pacific to build up its existing portfolio.

Future growth plans in the Asia-Pacific region will include Japan and Maldives, including South Korea.

"We are eyeing to set up city hotels in Tokyo and Yokohama in the longer term. Japan would definitely be on our radar," Won said.

BLand has a joint venture, also, in Maldives to build 90 to 100 chalets under the Ritz brand for US$125 million (RM433.7 million).

Its partners in the venture are Ritz Carlton and Far East Consortium International Ltd, holding 33 per cent and 10 per cent interest, respectively.

Berjaya Hotels & Resorts may operate the properties for BLand and its partners.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

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