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Monday, November 30, 2009

Bina Puri in talks on RM200m KK waterfront mall, condo project

Construction firm Bina Puri Holdings Bhd is eyeing a contract worth around RM200 million to construct a retail mall and condominium at the Kota Kinabalu City Waterfront (KKCW) in Sabah.

The four-storey mall will feature a waterfront lifestyle, with a "single-spine" concept incorporating high-end retailers, while the condominium will have designer suites.

Bina Puri Construction Sdn Bhd (BPCSB) managing director Datuk Henry Tee Hock Hin said it is negotiating the contract with the developer, Waterfront Urban Development (WUD) Sdn Bhd.

"Talks are still on-going. We are ironing out some details with WUD," Tee told Business Times in an interview in Kota Kinabalu.

The RM500 million KKCW project, with a promenade centred on the culture of al-fresco and fine-dining, is a mixed commercial development comprising the mall and condominium, and a five-star international hotel.

The whole development, which is a joint venture between WUD and the Kota Kinabalu City Hall, is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2011.

Tee said BPCSB has an existing contract with WUD worth RM30 million to lay the foundation for phase one of the development.

He added that the company is also eyeing another contract to build a mall for around RM100 million in Kuching, Sarawak.

Tee declined to elaborate on the project, but added that BPCSB has a contract worth around RM60 million from the client to lay the foundation for the mall.

Meanwhile, BPCSB is eyeing several projects in Sabah and Sarawak under the Ninth Malaysia Plan. These include hospital projects, roads, highways and private housing.

"For private housing, we are looking mainly at constructing high-end condos for developers. That is our niche area," Tee said.

BPCSB has several on-going projects in Sabah and Sarawak exceeding RM700 million.

It is constructing phases 1 and 2 of Universiti Malaysia Sabah for RM150 million, and low-cost houses for Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd worth around RM400 million.

BPCSB also recently completed the construction of the new State Assembly Hall in Kuching for RM300 million.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

Over RM60mil in sales made

KUALA LUMPUR: More than RM60mil in sales were closed at the three-day The Star Property Fair 2009.

The 29 exhibitors, spreaded over 103 booths at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, attended to thousands of homebuyers who thronged the fair from Friday.

The roaring sales caught some property developers by surprise. They were under the impression that the fair, themed Stylish Living, would only create sales leads and promote awareness of their products.

“We noticed that the visitors came with a focus and an intention to buy,” said Sonny Tan of Ideal Concept Intelligence Sdn Bhd. “We managed to close seven deals in just one day.”

Tan said that holding a fair at such a venue seemed to draw a better crowd than those held in shopping malls.

“There, you get walk-ins who are just there to look and move on, unlike at a convention centre where people come with a clear intention to buy,” he added.

Sime Darby property sales consultant Muhd Khairul Nizam Abd Kader said the response was so good that some latecomers were disappointed that they could not get choice locations.

“The crowd was great,” he said. “It was easy to close and did not take much convincing. The response was so good we did not have time to eat.”

A Setia Sky Residences spokesman said the response to the fair was overwhelming. “They are mostly locals, which is a good surprise too,” he added.

Cahaya SPK sales executive Keane Kwong lauded Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre as a good location for the fair.

“We had a fantastic booth and the crowd was good. We will surely participate again.”

A Sunway City Bhd spokesman said the fair drew “high-end visitors who are our right kind of customers.”

Nusmetro Venture Sdn Bhd sales and marketing manager Shirley Cheong agreed, saying that her team would be able to draw upon the hundreds of registrations made at their booth over the three days.

“I have a good batch of data and I strongly believe we can convert them to sales,” she said.

The Star Property Fair 2009 was the first to be held here after eight successful fairs in Penang.

Besides finding good deals with the exhibitors, financial institutions, auctioneers and property agents, the housebuyers and investors were also treated to talks by experts in various fields pertaining to property.

These included How To Be A Property Millionaire author Capt Azizi Ali, fengshui masters Joey Yap and Danny Koh and renowned Balinese landscape artist Made Wijaya.

Visitors also had the chance to win prizes from Samsung that included a washing machine, refrigerator and air-conditioner.

By The Star (by Lester Kong and Nurbaiti Hamdan)

Get out of ‘boxy’ look, says famous Indonesian designer

Sharing ideas: Wijaya showing Star Publications marketing services general manager Iris Tan (left) and Kenny Heights head of marketing Jennifer Chow the design concept of Kenny Heights.

KUALA LUMPUR: An advice to local developers and home decorators - get out of the cliched and outdated “boxy” look.

A prominent landscape designer urged Malaysian designers to put natural beauty and art back into its garden designs and return to her tropical forest roots.

Made Wijaya, a landscape designer, said local designers should look towards the rich local culture like those in Kelantan and Terengganu for inspiration.

“Hotels, the urban environment and now even houses have started to look more like microwave ovens,” he said at a talk during The Star Property Fair 2009 here yesterday.

Wijaya challenged the housing industry to break out of its decades-old fascination with landscape designs that “looked man-made and machine-made.” “Some Bali exports have become soulless,’’said Wijaya.

He said most external and some indoor designs tended to have the “new Asia zen garden design kit” comprising timber grills, Uspouts, leaking black walls and stepping Bali stones.

“Someone told me that by 2050, Asians may have to look to Europe for cultural architecture if things go on (like this),” he said in jest. He noted however that making gardens and patios more natural looking did not mean that it would lose the modern and contemporary touch either.

ID Benchmark Sdn Bhd art director Valerie Choi said one of the most important things in making a room appear larger was the choice in furnishing.

“Select furniture with an open concept such as wide-legged chairs and coffee tables,” Choi said. One should also be aware of the traffic flow in the room by placing the largest piece of furniture and arranging other smaller furniture around it.

These tips, she said, should be utilised by small space owners particularly city folks who live in high-rise buildings with confined space. She said owners should also stick to the principle of “less is more.” “Keep your apartment clean and simple. Clutter free is always stress free.” She also said the easiest trick of the trade in creating a larger space - by using mirrors.

By The Star

Feng shui masters make house buyers see the light

KUALA LUMPUR: When choosing a property, have a mountain at the back and water features in front, said Joey Yap.

All ears: Feng shui master Joey Yap speaking to an attentive audience during his talk at the Kenny Heights’ VIP Lounge at The Star Property Fair 2009 yesterday.

“Mountains govern matters related to human relationships and longevity while water affects one’s financial health and growth,” said the fengshui master.

He advised homebuyers to look for properties with these features to enjoy their benefits. Joey said importance should be placed on the environment, building and personal aspects when buying a property.

He said many mistook Chinese superstitions to be feng shui. “Good feng shui is understated, zen-like and clean,” he said at a talk during The Star Property Fair 2009 yesterday.

At a separate talk, jointly organised by The Star and Samsung, feng shui master David Koh urged housebuyers to avoid certain locations which were “unfriendly.”

Master at work: Koh presenting “How to choose a good property from a Feng Shui Perspective” at the property fair.

He said high tension wires were not just bad for feng shui, but bad for health, too.

“One should also avoid places at top of hills, that faces mountains and at lower parts of valleys,” he added.

Koh said the presence of water elements, such as rivers, provide a good pool of energy or chi. He pointed out as example Masjid Jamek, a thriving business area that attributed its vibrant development to its location — sitting above two symmetrical rivers.

By The Star

Investments in Iskandar set to gain steam

Despite the global economic crisis, Iskandar Malaysia has beaten its full-year target of RM3 billion, drawing some RM9 billion of new investments so far this year

Iskandar Malaysia in Johor, the first and possibly the most ambitious of the country's five economic corridors, has attracted some RM9 billion of new investments so far this year, exceeding its full-year target of RM3 billion, an official said.

"We were able to do this despite the global economic crisis as we had targeted long-term investors," said Harun Johari, the outgoing chief executive officer of the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA).

IRDA is the body responsible for the direction, policies and strategies of Iskandar.

The bulk of the RM9 billion came from local investors and was invested in property, Harun said.
Iskandar, incepted in November 2006, has drawn RM50.5 billion in cumulative investments as at October this year. This is more than the RM44.76 billion it had targeted for the full year.

Out of the RM50.5 billion, 35 per cent has already been spent on actual work on the ground, Harun said.

Iskandar has not been entirely spared the impact of the global crisis. Damac Group, the second biggest property developer in Dubai, a city hit hard by the financial crisis, in June pulled out of a deal with UEM Land Holdings Bhd to buy a piece of land in Nusajaya for RM396.4 million.

It was to have built a world-class integrated waterfront development. That marked the first time that a potential investor had withdrawn from a deal in Iskandar. Damac had pulled out after a property bubble burst in Dubai.

Harun, however, pointed out that Iskandar has since found a "replacement" for the amount of investment lost there in the form of a South Korean investor. He declined to give details on the new investor.

"The important thing is that Iskandar has achieved a lot. The momentum is there and will continue," he said.

He said IRDA's focus over the next two to three years would be to get projects on the ground and generally "make things happen". That is critical as the project has drawn criticism for not having shown speedier developments on the ground.

Harun takes the criticism in stride. "Criticism for a mega-project is normal," he said, adding that it was important for critics to come see for themselves the pace of developments there.

He is confident that his successor, Ismail Ibrahim, will do a good job of continuing the momentum at Iskandar.

Ismail, who takes over in January next year, is currently the director of the National Physical Planning Division under the Urban and Rural Planning Department.

The new role will not be an unfamiliar one as Ismail was previously involved in the inception of Iskandar.

By Business Times (by Adeline Paul Raj)

Malaysian construction firms in Dubai have minimum exposure

Malaysian construction companies are not likely to be hit by the debt crisis affecting Dubai

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian construction companies are not likely to be hit by the debt crisis affecting Dubai, said industry players. Dubai has been struggling to ease fears of a massive debt default after it moved to delay repayments at two flagship firms, which has shook confidence in the Middle East as a centre for investment.

Ng Kee Leen (right) ... ‘There aren’t many Malaysian construction firms left in Dubai.’

Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) president Ng Kee Leen said most of the Malaysian construction companies had either pulled out or were at the tail-end of completing their contruction projects there.

“There aren’t many local construction companies left in Dubai,” he told StarBiz yesterday.

Meanwhile IJM Corp Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Krishnan Tan said the company had already completed the bulk of its projects in Dubai.

“IJM is not affected. We don’t have much there (construction projects in Dubai). We’re almost done with the construction of Fortune Tower at Jumeirah Lake in Dubai,” he said, adding that currently there was no problem with payments.

A Gamuda Bhd top official said the company was not significantly exposed to the fallout in the construction sector in Dubai.

Interior fit-out (IFO) company LCL Corp Bhd founder and executive chairman Datuk Low Chin Meng said payments were generally slow in Dubai.

“We will shift our focus on interior fit-out (IFO) contracts in cash-rich Abu Dhabi, after the completion of projects in Dubai,” he said.

The company has projects such as Atlantis The Palm Hotel, Dubai Metro System, Dubai Mall and Dubai Marina Hotel.

Concern over the level of debt held by the Government and its affiliated companies had sent jitters throughout the Gulf region and had affected investors confidence level.

Earlier in the year the Dubai’s stock market was down 60% and many residents believed that the property market was on the brink of collapse.

Dubai had borrowed billions to finance its infrastructure and construction companies such as Dubai World, and Emirates Airline.

A local property analyst said Dubai was likely to be on the road to recovery.

“The worst is likely over as the market has bottomed out. The economy was very bad at the start of the year. The housing market fell into a slump and property prices fell as much as 50% even in prime location and many expatriates left the place,” he said.

Early this year, WCT Bhd lost a US$1.3bil (RM4.6bil) contract to build a racetrack in Dubai it had won back in 2007 as the client alleged that WCT and its partner Arabtec Holding PSJC was behind schedule. However, WCT disputes the accusation and is presently fighting to reclaim RM300mil that includes advance payment of RM178mil and a performance bond.

It also seems that the Iskandar growth region in southern Johor will not be affected by the Dubai debt crisis. It was reported that Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said this was because only one company from Dubai had invested in a real estate sector in the growth region. He said the company, Damac Properties, was involved in a property project on an 8ha site in the Iskandar region. He added that most of the investors in the growth area are from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi and that the Dubai company had yet to start operation.

By The Star (by Danny Yap)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Property launches do well for this year

The capital values for high end condominiums in quarter three (Q3) this year are currently still hovering close to the original purchase prices, albeit with a small premium.

Regroup Associates Sdn Bhd executive director Paul Khong tells StarBizWeek via e-mail that new launches during this year has done fairly well with at least 50% sales or more.

“The demand which headed upwards earlier this year was due to the perception of an uptrend in the economy and the availability of low financing rates locally,” he says.

He further says that prices range from RM1,000 to RM1,300 depending on projects located on the fringe of KLCC. The best ones are now changing hands at RM1,600 per sq ft to close to RM2,000 per sq ft.

“Generally, the market took a sudden upturn from quarter two this year till mid of quarter three. Sales of condominiums which were within the affordable range of RM1mil to RM2mil per unit price took of well. Sales were brisk. For example, St Mary, SP Setia’s Sky Residence and few others,” he says.

Khong adds that enbloc purchasers are also reselling their units in KL Pavilion. Generally, sales are going well with more than 50% done.

“However, by mid September, the demand has weakened and sales have slowed down and this trend is expected to carry through to the holiday seasons,” he says.

On the real property gains tax (RPGT) to be imposed by the Government in January next year, Paul says the introduction of RPGT at 5% will obviously have a negative impact.

“It has drawn mixed reactions from the market and many parties view that this move will dampen market sentiments,” he says.

Paul adds that although it is intended to curb speculation, the impact will only be seen in the next six months.

“Many property owners will now rush to sell off their investments within the next 18 weeks or so to escape the RPGT.

On the regional investment market, Malaysian properties will now be less attractive as any gains obtained from disposal will be taxed,” he says.

He further says that the local market rallied when RPGT was temporarily suspended in March 2007. Prices in KLCC and Mont’Kiara shot up substantially.

“But by Q3 2008, all the premiums gained earlier have virtually disappeared,” he says.

Meanwhile, property developer Naza TTDI Sdn Bhd marketing & sales and quality assurance senior general manager Myrzela Sabtu tells StarBizWeek through an e-mail that the performance outlook for high end properties is neutral to positive.

“Factors include better economic performance outlook, favourable interest rates, strong commodity prices, more optimistic sentiment for next year, strong employment figures and better stock market performance,” she says.

She adds that in the case of Naza TTDI, the demand for their high end properties are well-received based on their strong following, a substantial number of repeat buyers, appreciation value of the houses, quality and good after sales service.

“Strategies that are being undertaken to increase sales is to make it easier for customers to purchase properties such as zero entry cost and no stamp duty, value for money and the property is built to advance stage before launch to reduce holding period,” she says.

Naza TTDI’s current high end residential projects among others is the The Valley TTDI in Ampang.

DTZ research report for Q3 says that market confidence is being restored for residential sector with stronger take up in the new launches and increased transaction in the secondary market.

DTZ consulting and research executive director Brian Koh says that prices are stable in Q3 but would face pressure, as there is still substantial new supply pending completion.

“There are also some tentative signs that foreign buyers are trickling back into the market due to the deregulation of foreign investment committee (FIC) guidelines announced on June 30.

In the new guidelines, all properties transactions, including those between foreigners and “non-bumiputra” will no longer require FIC approval except for transactions that involve a dilution of “bumiputra” or Government interest for property valued at RM20mil and above,” he says in the report.

He further says that Pavilion Tower which was recently completed and soft launched in August is well received with prices that are about 30% higher than Pavilion Tower 2 which was launched and fully sold three years ago.

Generally, he says that there is relief from the market that worst may be over although it may be too early to ascertain given current experts views on truncated “V” or “W” shape recovery.

By The Star (by Edy Sarif)

Think critically when you buy that house

Two weeks ago, we ran a piece on the importance of looking at details over and above location, pricing and the reputation of the developer. The piece highlighted the importance of installing smoke detectors, a sprinkler system and an adequate number of lifts in a condominium development.

A developer who is building a 38-storey condominium in SS2, Petaling Jaya called to say that the high-end project will have three lifts, instead of two as published.

Here is some food for thought. Another developer will be launching a 20-storey Bukit Jalil project comprising several blocks on 2.5 acres. It will be a high density project and each block will have three lifts.

A 20-storey condominium project in Kepong, Kuala Lumpur, launched in 2003, also has three lifts. The same developer is now building a 40-storey building. It will have four lifts and one service lift.

As a developer builds upwards, access becomes increasingly important. That is why some very high-end projects around the KLCC city centre has their own private lift lobby with one or two lifts serving one single unit.

It is up to buyers to press developers to have a variety of foliage.

When one considers buying into a condominium project, one pays a premium for the higher floors. The view tends to be better as one goes higher, it is cooler and there are less mosquitoes. While there are advantages of buying into a higher floor, this should be balanced with accessibility.

If you have the resources to buy the penthouse, should you not consider the accessibility to get your basement car park or to level ground? The lift is the only way. You are already paying a premium for that unit and you are already compromising by sharing the lifts with everyone who lives below you. Hence, the number of lifts that the project has is very important, especially if you are going to be at the very top.

From the penthouse, we take the lift to the basement car park. Although this may be a strata-titled project – it is gated and guarded – the basement car park can be a security issue. Buyers tend to be enchanted with the show unit with no consideration for the car park.

If the project is already built, check out the basement parking. Does it have a high-ceiling? Is it well-lit and airy? Are there many nooks and corners that allow people to hide in shadows? Are the parking bays large enough or is it a tight squeeze for larger sedan?

It would be a good idea to ask for a copy of the basement car park plan and imagine the route from the lift lobby to your parking bay.

If there are elderly or wheel-chaired family members who will be living in the condominium unit, they will have problems if they have to manoeuver a flight of stairs, or even several steps, to get to the parked car.

This takes us to the importance of a project having a pick-up and drop-off points. Having a nice high-ceiling lobby may be impressive, but is there a large enough area where your family members and friends can collect you or drop you off with no hassle? Or will you have to walk to the security guard house and wait?

Since we are considering the amenities outside the building, something has to be said about landscaping. There was a time when palm trees were very popular. It makes no sense to plant trees which shed their tiny leaves near a pool. However, developers’ enchantment with palms is something that has to be weighed. Developers tend to like palms instead of trees which shed their leaves daily. While palms are easier to maintain as the fronds do not shed weekly and because the fronds come in one piece, they are easily picked up and thrown away.

While some consider them aesthetically pleasing, they are not shady. Some high-rise projects today come with a landscaped park.

It makes no sense to have a one-acre park planted with just palms. It is up to buyers to press developers to have a variety of foliage, and that includes large trees which provide shade, as well as shrubs.

By The Star (by Thean Lee Cheng)

Ascott aims to double portfolio here to RM1b

The Ascott Group Ltd, the hospitality arm of the Temasek Holdings-controlled CapitaLand Ltd, aims to double its asset portfolio in Malaysia to more than RM1 billion by 2013.

Its Malaysian assets are currently worth around RM500 million, said Ascott managing director for Southeast Asia and Australia, Alfred Ong.

They include Ascott Kuala Lumpur, Somerset Seri Bukit Ceylon and Somerset Ampang.

Somerset Ampang comprises a 21-storey serviced residence of 207 units, which will house the HSC Medical Centre in the first eight floors.
The RM160 million project is scheduled to be completed by end-2010.

Ascott also owns and/or manages Somerset Gateway in Kuching, Sarawak.

Under its corporate leasing division, it manages 68 apartment units in Seri Bukit Ceylon Residence and Marc Residence in Kuala Lumpur.

By the third quarter of 2010, it will start to manage 147 units of Tiffini by i-Zen in Mont' Kiara, KL, a development by Ireka Group, which is slated to be completed by first half of 2010.

"We have several other projects in the pipeline in Malaysia. We are in the final stages of negotiation with the respective developers for management contracts," Ong said in an interview with Business Times in Kuala Lumpur.

"We are looking into new frontiers like Penang and Petaling Jaya and making a stronger presence in Malaysia," he added.

Ascott recently inked a deal with GSB Sentral Sdn Bhd to manage the 21-storey serviced residence tower at 348 Sentral at KL Sentral, a transport hub in Brickfields.

GSB, a joint venture between Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd and Gapurna Sdn Bhd, is developing the energy efficient 348 Sentral for RM1 billion.

348 Sentral will also feature a 33-storey office tower but this will be managed by GSB.

The 348 Sentral project is schedule to be completed by the third quarter of 2012 and Ascott will manage the serviced residence for 15 years from then.

Ong said the serviced residence will strengthen Ascott's leadership position in Malaysia and increase its portfolio to 1,000 apartment units.

"If there is an offer from GSB to manage the office tower, we will consider it. For now, we will focus on getting new jobs in Malaysia," Ong said.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

RM100m hospital for Ara Damansara

The new hospital, part of Sime Darby's vision in becoming a formidable healthcare player in Malaysia, is expected to be completed by 2012

Malaysia's largest conglomerate Sime Darby Bhd will build a new RM100 million hospital at its residential development in Ara Damansara, Selangor, bringing the group's total number of hospitals in the country to four.

The new hospital is expected to be completed by 2012.

An industry source said the new hospital is part of Sime Darby's vision in becoming a formidable healthcare player in the country and the region.

"The new hospital in Ara Damansara will be known as the Sime Darby Medical Centre Ara Damansara. Sime Darby is intensifying efforts to bolster its healthcare business division, where the segment is very competitive but recession-proof, enabling the group to earn an income even during economic hard times," the source said.
Analysts see the new hospital as part of Sime Darby's long-term plan to grow its healthcare business, which together with general trading and other business account for about 10 per cent of the group's revenue.

Sime Darby currently operates two hospitals and a nursing college in Selangor. They include the 393-bed Sime Darby Medical Centre Subang Jaya (formerly Subang Jaya Medical Centre) and the Sime Darby Specialist Centre Megah, which is a day-surgery and outpatient specialist centre, in Petaling Jaya.

It also owns and operates the Sime Darby Nursing and Health Sciences College in Shah Alam, which is managed by its healthcare arm Sime Darby Healthcare Sdn Bhd.

The group is also in the midst of building the 350-bed Sime Darby Medical Desa Park City in Desa Park City, near Bukit Menjalara, Kepong, Kuala Lumpur which is scheduled to be completed in 2012 at a cost of RM350 million.

In its filing to Bursa Malaysia on October 26, Sime Darby had announced the setting up of Sime Darby Medical Centre Ara Damansara Sdn Bhd which at present is a dormant company.

It bought two ordinary shares of RM1 each in Sime Darby Medical Centre Ara Damansara, which represents the latter's total paid-up capital.

Sime Darby had said Sime Darby Medical Centre Ara Damansara will be involved in healthcare facility services management and other healthcare-related services.

On Wednesday, during the announcement of the group's first-quarter results ended September 2009, Sime Darby president dan group chief executive Datuk Seri Ahmad Zubir Murshid had said that healthcare business is now one of the conglomerate's core businesses.

Its other businesses are plantations, automotive, heavy equipment, property, energy and utility, spanning over 20 countries.

"The healthcare business is growing rapidly and we will continue to bolster this sector. We expect to own two new hospitals in the next two years," Ahmad Zubir had said.

Apart from Malaysia, the healthcare business division managed by its healthcare arm Sime Darby Healthcare also aims to expand its operations overseas, especially in Asia, over the next three years.

It now has a presence in Indonesia, Vietnam, the UK and the US.

By Business Times (by Zaidi Isham Ismail)

Friday, November 27, 2009

2 high-rise office towers for last phase of Mid Valley City

Property developer IGB Corp Bhd is planning the last phase of development at Mid Valley City (MVC), which will feature two high-rise office towers worth an estimated RM1 billion.

Group managing director Robert Tan Chung Meng said IGB is awaiting approvals from the authorities and hopes to start construction in early 2010.

The two towers, which will be built similar to the existing 35-storey The Gardens North and South Office Towers, will offer 600,000 net sq ft of commercial space, Tan said.

They will be built on a 0.8ha site, which was originally meant for a convention centre, and later two blocks of high-end condominiums.

"We were toying with the idea to build condominiums or office towers. There are some residential developments coming up opposite MVC and we don't intend to compete with them," Tan said.
"MVC has become very much a commercial and retail hub so we decided to go with the office towers to take advantage of the development's MSC status, and to cater for rising demand," he added.

Tan was speaking to Business Times in Kuala Lumpur at the launch of Mid Valley City MSC Malaysia Cyber Centre One Stop Centre recently.

The centre was launched by Multimedia Development Corp chief executive officer Datuk Badlisham Ghazali.

Mid Valley City Sdn Bhd executive director Anthony P. Barragry also attended the event.

MVC received MSC Malaysia Cybercentre status on September 11 2008 under the MSC Malaysia National Roll-Out plan.

IGB pumped RM15 million into MVC, to enable fibre-optic connectivity through-out the mixed-development hub.

Barragry, meanwhile, said IGB will apply for MSC status for the two new office towers and it expects the take up for the properties to be as good as The Gardens North and South Towers.

According to Barragry, the North and South Towers are currently 95 per cent and 65 per cent leased, respectively.

Revenue from office rentals, which stood at RM55 million last year, is also expected to rise this year.

He added that MVC would make up more than 41 per cent of IGB group revenue for the year ending December 31 2009.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

TA Global, Canadian firm team up for British Columbia project

TA GLOBAL Bhd is teaming up with Townline Gardens Inc, a Canadian home builder, to develop a C$130 million (RM422.5 million) mixed-development project over seven years.

A joint-venture agreement between TA Development One (Canada) Ltd, a 100 per cent unit of TA Global, and Townline Gardens Inc was signed yesterday.

Under the agreement, TA will hold a 65 per cent of the joint-venture, in which TA Global will pump in C$11.7 million (RM38.03 million) as equity contribution.

"The joint venture will complement TA Global's corporate strategy to expand its property development activities into British Columbia, Canada... In addition, it is expected to increase the revenue stream and return of TA Global Group," said the company.
The residential and commercial units will be built on a 8.9ha land in the City of Richmond, British Columbia, in a project known as "The Gardens".

It consists of about 470 apartments and 70,000 sq ft of retail and office space. More than half of the site is agricultural land, which will be developed as a public botanical park and urban gardens.

The project will be developed in six phases over a seven-year period, from 2010 to 2017. The cost of construction will be funded via internally generated funds, external borrowings or a mixture of both.

TA Global is the property division of the TA Group with its primary businesses of hotel operations, property management, investment and development.

By Business Times

Amanah Harta to sell building in KL

PROPERTY trust Amanah Harta Tanah PNB 2 has agreed to sell an office building on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in Kuala Lumpur to Madras Jeweller Sdn Bhd for RM15 million.

The sale was being done as part of the unitholders’ resolution to terminate the property trust.

Proceeds will be returned to unitholders, AHP2 said in a statement to Bursa Malaysia.

AHP2 bought the 9½-storey office building 14 years ago for RM11.5 million.

By Business Times

Real estate offer and more

PETALING JAYA: Visitors to The Star Pro perty Fair can check out the latest offerings from local developers at the event which begins today at 11am at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

The fair, which will be held at Exhibition Halls 4 and 5, will end on Sunday at 7pm. Admission is free.

A variety of properties including medium and high-range houses, bungalows, exclusive condominiums and other commercial projects from participating developers will be offered.

Those who have made purchases will also be pleased to know that there will be financial services at their disposal such as on-the-spot advice and easy financing plans.

Talks and forums will also be conducted by industry experts on topics ranging from property investment and wealth management to interior decoration and feng shui.

Other attractions include the CIMB Property Mart Mega Auction, to be held tomorrow afternoon at 12pm and 3pm.

The public auctions will be auctioning off apartment units, houses and a plot of bungalow land.

Visitors can also take part in a contest offering attractive daily prizes.

Prizes will be drawn daily and all winners will be listed on

For details, call 03-7967-1388, ext 1456/1165.

By The Star

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dijaya bags Bok House land for RM123m

The price translates into about RM2,200 per sq ft, indicating that the property market in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre area is still firm.

Dijaya Corp Bhd, a property developer, is buying the land in Jalan Ampang on which the historical Bok House used to sit for RM123 million cash.

The price translates into about RM2,200 per sq ft (psf), which is slightly below the RM2,588 psf that Sunrise Bhd paid last year for the land where Wisma Angkasa Raya is located.

The price also means that the property market in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) area is still firm.

"I think it's a good indication for the market. It's a positive sign," Zerin Properties founder and chief executive Previndran Singhe said.
Dijaya, famous for its Tropicana branded properties, is likely to build expensive units on the prime land, a stone's throw from the Petronas Twin Towers.

"It will also create an opportunity for the group to venture into the high-end property market given that available development land within the KLCC area is scarce," it said in a statement to Bursa Malaysia yesterday.

Dijaya has paid the 10 per cent deposit to the seller, Mercury Property Management Sdn Bhd. However, there are two private caveats, a legal instrument that stops any development on the land. The first caveat was lodged by Ideal Sierra Development Sdn Bhd.

Dijaya will pay the balance two months after the Ideal caveat is cancelled or by February 24 next year. It will use internal funds and loans to settle the purchase.

The 55,929 sq ft land, which sits between Angkasa Raya and Wisma BSN in Jalan Ampang, is where tycoon Chua Cheng Bok built his mansion in 1929.

Historians and conservationists had opposed the demolition of Bok House in 2006, considering it a national heritage and tourist attraction.

Chua, who initially ran a business repairing bicycles and carriages, was the founder of car distributor Cycle and Carriage, which distributes Mercedes-Benz cars in the country.

By Business Times (by Shahriman Johari)

Emkay to build green building in Cyberjaya

An office premise to be built by Emkay Group via Joyful Getaway Sdn Bhd will be the first building in Malaysia to be accredited with the internationally recognized Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) GOLD certification.

The RM120 million project which involves the construction of a 323,000 sq ft building, will also mark the first green building in Cyberjaya.

Emkay Group chairman Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal told a press conference in Cyberjaya today said that the building would be leased out to Shell Shared Service Centre (SSSC).

Having a green building, he said, would not only increase the asset value of the property but also lower the operational cost through conservation of energy and water.
"The move towards green building is very important as it is going to provide a healthier and safer environment for the occupants.

"Green technology is the way of the future. It will change not only your approach towards the design and construction of property but also in the way we occupy and manage property," he said after the signing of the lease agreement between Joyful Gateaway and SSSC Kuala Lumpur Sdn Bhd.

Shell Malaysia chairman Datuk Saw Choo Boon said the signing of the lease agreement confirmed a planned change in Shell Malaysia's physical footprints.

The completion and occupation of the building by 2011 and the same of its accomodations in KL Sentral by 2012 would be the outcome of a rigorous evaluation process that is based on Shell's technical, environmental, social and financial requirements, he said.

"With these two offices, Shell businesses and service centres in the Klang Valley will occupy only two premises from the 10 physical locations today.

"This move will enable us to find synergies and cost savings through economies of scale. We will also be able to gain greater collaboration, thus the ability to respond faster to the needs of the customers in the region," he said.

The Cyberjaya building will have five levels of office space and three levels of sub-basement for car parking.

The original concept for the building was based on two individual office blocks flanking a central courtyard. However, due to the end-user's requirement, it has morphed into a U-shaped building where the connection between the two blocks are provided at the rear, thus maintaining the look of two separate buildings from the front.

By Bernama

DNP explains land transaction

DNP Holdings Bhd, a property developer and garment manufacturer, said there was no valuation carried out on the 9.4-acre land it plans to buy for RM56 million, as it was a “willing buyer, willing seller” transaction.

The company, part of the Wingtai Asia Group, added that the funding for the land as well as the development of the land, will come from internal generated cash as well as bank borrowings.

It is not expected to have a significant impact on its gearing.

By Business Times

Columnist to share tips on Indian feng shui

PEACE with the environment is a criteria for healthy homes and every resident should create a balanced surrounding so that his or her mind, body and soul are in harmony.

“This is important because we all experience physical and mental stress every day at work and returning to a home that is not in tune with the environment can add to the stress,” said Sunday Star Vasthu Sastra columnist T. Selva, who will be presenting a talk at The Star Property Fair tomorrow at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) Hall 4, at 2pm.

Full attention: Selva delivering a talk on Vasthu recently.

He said Vasthu, better known as Indian feng shui, essentially helps balance the man-made environment with the natural world.

Selva said Vasthu was a science of architecture and it could be applied in any space, enclosed or open, and it is highly recommended when buying, renting, building or designing a property.

“When renting or buying a new or second-hand house or apartment, Vasthu recommends that one should check certain things before making a decision.

“The first thing one should do is to enter the property and stand in the centre with eyes closed to feel the ‘vibrations’.

“If the vibrations make you feel happy, then check the directions by using a compass in which various elements of the house face,” he said.

He said a potential house buyer should check which side the plot faced, the location of the roads, topography, plot extension and the surrounding area before making a commitment.

“A house facing north is favourable as it is on the magnetic axis and welcomes positive energy. Land sloping towards the north is also considered auspicious.

“A house facing south is average for residential purposes but auspicious for people in the food and beverage business. Land sloping towards the south is considered inauspicious,” he said.

Selva, who has written two books on Vasthu, said a house facing east was auspicious because it received solar energy and if the land was sloping towards the east, it was considered auspicious.

Selva said out of the eight compass directions, the only direction that should be avoided for a main door was the south-west.

On buying a plot of land, he said do not buy a plot of land that has a graveyard either in front or at the back of it.

“Such surroundings will only bring fear and give no peace of mind to the owner.

“Buying land near a place of worship should also be avoided, especially if the shadow of a temple falls on the property.” he said.

At the talk, Selva will be showing participants on how to choose an auspicious property and how to create the perfect home by rearranging a house. Admission to the talk is free. To register call 012-329 9713

By The Star

Residents welcome DBKL’s adoption plan

The call by Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ismail encouraging community involvement in the care and maintenance of city parks, playgrounds, and roundabouts has drawn favourable response from the public as well as corporations.

Many see it as an excellent way for the DBKL to save costs as well as to instill a sense of belonging among Kuala Lumpur residents.

Brickfields RT chairman S.K.K Naidu said it would also provide a means for the RT to earn money for its community activities.

Good idea: The Brickfields RT is keen to adopt the Chan Ah Tong field in Brickfields.

“It’s a great idea. Our members are seniors citizens and gardening would keep them occupied. It would also help give them a sense of purpose,” Naidu said.

He added that the Brickfields RT would love to adopt the Chan Ah Tong field in the township and ensure that it was kept clean and maintained for the residents.

Ramli Shahril, who lives in the government quarters in Jalan Rozario, Brickfields, said the idea was good and that apart from ensuring the parks and playgrounds remained clean and tidy, it would indirectly get the residents to be responsible of their own areas.

Sungei Wang senior promotions and public relations manager K.K. Lim welcomed the idea and said the complex would love to work with the DBKL in adopting areas that were close to the complex.

Parkson general manager in charge of Parkson Care Lee Kong Huat said the mayor’s proposal was a good way of getting corporations to contribute to the community.

Lee said Parkson had always been interested in such endeavours and that the company had adopted eight parks under its corporate social responsibility programme.

The parks Parkson adopted are Taman Beringin and Taman Bandaran Kelana Jaya in Petaling Jaya, Ipoh Polo Ground Park in Ipoh, Dataran Bunga Raya in Seremban, Taman Jubli Perak Park in Sungai Petani, Taman Kejiranan in Jalan Teluk Sisek, Kuantan, Kajang Municipal Council Children Playground in Kajang and Taman Datin Rokiah in Taman Century, Johor Baru.

“We have always been interested in adopting KL parks.

“In fact, we wanted to adopt the Lake Gardens and a park in Taman Desa and areas in Taman OUG,” Lee said.

Lee added that apart from funding the parks, Parkson staff were encouraged to get involved in sprucing up and restoring the park and its facilities.

Fuad added that a committee would be set up to formulate policies and programmes to develop a system to enable corporations to adopt the areas.

By The Star (by BAVANI M)

Residents unhappy over houses converted into restaurants

Defiant: The owner of this restaurant in Jalan SJ1 in Taman Selayang Jaya had been fined many times but still operates the outlet.

Two double-storey houses in Taman Selayang Jaya, Selayang, have been converted into restaurants and their neighbours are unhappy about it.

Both the restaurants are corner lots — one in Jalan SJ19 and the other in Jalan SJ1.

Although one of the restaurant owners had been fined numerous times by the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS), the operator continues to run the outlet in defiance of the local authority.

Residents, who wished to remain anonymous, sent an e-mail to StarMetro claiming that these restaurants were disturbing the peaceful environment and led to vehicles being parked along the road, sometimes even blocking the entrance to their houses.

A check revealed that extensive renovations had been done at the double-storey steamboat restaurant in Jalan SJ19 —even the addition of a third floor — and the council was unaware of it.

The other houses along Jalan SJ19 are double-storey houses.

MPS assistant enforcement officer Paramasivam Chelliah said the restaurant in Jalan SJ1 had been fined many times.

Each time, the owner will just pay the fine and continue to run the business.

“We are unaware of the restaurant located in Jalan SJ19.

“Our enforcement staff will visit the place next week to check whether they have proper documentation for the renovations and approval for the restaurant.

“We do not give any permits for houses in residential areas to be converted into restaurants,” he said, adding that the case was being handled by the council’s legal affairs department.

By The Star (by Stuart Michael)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Broad range of properties

The Star has so far organised eight annual property fairs in Penang and the response from exhibitors and visitors has been encouraging.

For the forthcoming fair in Kuala Lumpur, visitors will be able to view the latest offerings by renowned local developers with a broad range of properties from medium to medium high-range houses, bungalows, exclusive condominiums as well as commercial projects.

The list of participating developers include:

SP Setia Berhad
Lucky Bright Star Sdn Bhd (Sunrise Berhad)
Sunway City Berhad
Sime Darby Property Berhad
ICI Paints (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd
SJ Properties Sdn Bhd
KPWG International
Setia Haruman Sdn Bhd
Dijaya Corporation Berhad
Must Ehsan Development Sdn Bhd
Mines (Country Heights Grower Scheme)
Hotel Fair Lane Holdings Sdn Bhd
Ideal Concept Intelligence Sdn Bhd
Berjaya Land Berhad
There will also be talks and forums conducted by various industry experts on various topics including property investment, feng shui, interior decoration and wealth management.
Other attractions include a CIMB Property Mart Mega Auction on Saturday (noon — Leong Auctioneers; 3pm Ng Chan Mau Auctioneers).

There will also be a contest for all visitors with the following daily prizes to be won:

Friday — Washing Machine (11kg) x 3 units
Saturday— Air Cond (1.0HP) x 3 units
Sunday — Refrigerator (410litre) x 3 units

Entry forms are available at the Information Counter located at Hall 4 & 5.

All you have to do is to answer some simple questions and tell us why you enjoy visiting the fair (in not more than 15 words).

Prizes will be drawn daily and all daily winners will be notified by phone.

By The Star

Financial coach Azizi Ali to give talk at Star Property Fair 2009

PETALING JAYA: Bestselling author and renowned financial coach Captain Azizi Ali is scheduled to give a talk on property investment at The Star Property Fair 2009.

The fair, which had been held in Penang for seven consecutive years since 2002, will make its Kuala Lumpur debut at the KL Convention Centre on Nov 27–29.

Azizi, author of Millionaires are from a Different Planet, will share his knowledge on how to profit from property investments on Nov 28 at noon.

“I will be talking about how to avoid potentially poor choices when it comes to purchasing properties and how to profit through property investments,” he said.

Dubbed “Millionaire Coach”, Azizi is a trained commercial pilot with over 27 years of experience.

His venture into financial writing and coaching started with a simple intention to learn more about personal finances.

“I found myself broke all the time despite earning a decent living as a young pilot. This motivated me to learn about personal finance and eventually investment.”

According to the 47-year-old, he has read more than 800 financial books and earned his first million at 36.

Azizi insisted that people needed to find the most suitable form of investment for themselves.

However, there is no denying that the profit garnered from property investment is lucrative.

An avid property investor himself, Azizi stated that becoming a millionaire was not an overnight process.

“It requires time and smart moves. But I can assure you that you don’t need money to make money. What you need are brains, dedication and discipline.”

About 25,000 visitors are expected at the three-day fair to view the latest offerings by reputable local developers.

Expect a wide range of properties from medium to medium high-range residences, luxury bungalows, exclusive condominiums as well as commercial projects.

Other attractions include auctions by CIMB Property Mart and a contest with attractive prizes worth RM20,000 to be won.

For enquiries, contact Ian Qua or Nelsen Ng at 03-79671388 ext 1165/1432.

By The Star

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

DNP to launch 'Le Nouvel' luxury condo by early 2011

DNP Holdings Bhd, a property development and investment group, will launch its most expensive residential project dubbed "Le Nouvel", worth an estimated RM1 billion, in Kuala Lumpur by end-2010 or early 2011.

Le Nouvel comprises two residential towers with 43 and 49 floors respectively, offering a total of 197 condominium units ranging from 1,800 sq ft to 4,700 sq ft. The towers will be built near Avenue K on Jalan Ampang.

"We have the approvals to do the project, but the current market conditions are unfavourable to a launch. A better timing would be a year from now," said DNP company secretary and general manager for treasury and accounts, Lee Kong Beng, after the company's shareholders meeting yesterday in Sepang.

Lee told Business Times that DNP may sell the buildings enbloc if it receives good offers.
"If somebody offers something we can't resists, then we will go for it. Otherwise, our plan is to sell the units individually," Lee said.

He declined to say how much each unit will be priced. Based on rough calculations if the market price maintains at RM2,200 per sq ft, each unit could sell for RM4 milion to RM11 million.

Lee also said DNP's immediate focus is to launch 25 units of luxury condominiums in a five-storey block along Jalan U-Thant, Kuala Lumpur, for some RM200 million, in three to six months from now.

DNP will also launch Block B and D of Verticas Residences in Bukit Ceylon, Kuala Lumpur, pending sales of Block A.

Verticas has four blocks, worth some RM800 million. Blocks A, B and C have 43 floors each, with 417 condominium units in total. Block D is a low-rise block offering only six units.

DNP has sold Block C to Kualiti Gold Sdn Bhd, a joint controlled entity, for RM139.7 million cash, while 100 units in Block A have been taken up since its soft launch in July.

"There are 67 units left in Block C. Once we have sold them, we will launch Block B and D immediately. This may happen early next year," Lee said.

Lee said he is confident that DNP will do better this year given the new launches and the market improving.

For the first quarter ended September 30 2009, DNP posted a net profit of RM9.81 million, up 23 per cent over the same quarter last year.

DNP, which has total assets worth RM936 million, is buying more land to expand its business and enhance shareholders' value, Lee said.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia yesterday, DNP said it has bought 3.76ha of leasehold land in Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya, from an unrelated party for RM56 million cash.

Lee said DNP may build shop offices on the land, but plans are still preliminary.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

'China should stop property stimulus now'

BEIJING: China should immediately halt some of its real estate stimulus policies, or risk inflating a bubble that in its bursting would wreak financial and even social trouble, a central bank newspaper said yesterday.

Debate is heating up in China about whether and how to wind down loose monetary policy and heavy spending, with officials voicing worries about asset price rises but also fearful that the broader economic recovery remains fragile.

An opinion piece in the Financial News, a newspaper published by the central bank, said rampant speculation in the country's property market was akin to a time bomb that could threaten future growth.

"If China does not exit its stimulus policy... property prices and the market may go out of control," it said.
China's housing prices have been rising since March propelled by a slew of government measures, from lower downpayments and mortgage rates to tax cuts.

Rising prices have encouraged developers to break ground on new projects, with real estate investment up an annual 18.9 per cent in the first 10 months of the year, compared with a mere 1 per cent rise in the first two months.

While the government has welcomed this surge in building activity, which is an important pillar of the economy, some officials now worry that property development is outstripping end-user demand in some locales and that prices are not affordable for ordinary citizens.

The article noted that expectations of a wind-down in stimulus policies were, in part, driving current transaction levels. November, traditionally a slack month, had been busy as people front-loaded purchases before a value-added tax exemption expired at end of the year, it said.

Separately, a senior government researcher said that China had to place the prevention of asset bubbles at the centre of any exit strategy it devises for its broader stimulus policies.

He Fan, an economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a top think tank in Beijing, said if the central bank raised interest rates too early, it might only serve to suck in speculative capital from abroad and drive asset prices still higher.

But if Beijing moves too slowly to absorb the vast liquidity sloshing around the economy, asset markets will turn frothy on domestic momentum alone, in turn drawing in hot money from abroad, he said in a research note.

Targeting the exit strategy at problem spots will be the way to handle this dilemma, by, for example, suppressing property price rises or slowing the pace of loan growth, he said.

But China should not tighten its fiscal policy, according to Chen Dongqi, deputy head of the macro economic research institute under the National Development and Reform Commission, China's powerful economic planner.

The People's Daily quoted Chen as saying that China must continue to implement large-scale spending for several more years to build up its social security system and stimulate consumption.

By Reuters

TA Global aims to develop more properties in Canada, Australia

KUALA LUMPUR: TA Global Bhd, the newly listed property development arm of TA ENTERPRISE BHD (TAE), is looking at further property development in Canada and Australia, beyond the current three hotels and one commercial building it has in the two countries.

From left: TA Enterprise Bhd (TAE) managing director and chief executive officer Datin Alicia Tiah, TAE deputy CEO Tiah Joo Kim and TA Global Bhd executive chairman Datuk Tony Tiah witnessing the listing of TA Global, TAE’s property arm, on Bursa Malaysia yesterday.

TA Enterprise Bhd managing director and chief executive officer Datin Alicia Tiah said TA Global is actively looking at more than just hospitality in the two countries.

“We are looking at more than the hospitality industry in the two countries. If we decide to do something, future projects in Canada or Australia would most likely take the form of joint ventures,” Tiah told reporters after the listing of TA Global on Bursa Malaysia yesterday.

In Canada, TA Global’s business assets include Terasen Centre, a 24-storey office building in downtown Vancouver, and the 193-room Aava Whistler Hotel in Whistler, a resort town north of Vancouver. In Australia, it owns the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Sydney and The Westin Melbourne Hotel.

TA Global, which was given free to shareholders of TAE as part of the group’s move to unlock value, debuted at its par value of 50 sen per share. It closed at 47.5 sen, 2.5 sen lower on a volume of 38.73 million.

Commenting on the performance of TA Global, Tiah said that the listing price was within expectations. “I would say that a lot of the shareholders got TA Global for free from their holdings in TAE. The weak holders are the ones selling now,” she added.

In the initial public offer exercise, shareholders of TAE received three TA Global shares with three irredeemable cumulative preference shares, for every five TAE shares.

“What is important is what investors think of TA Global in terms of potential. Right now, we do not have a lot of development projects launching this year.

“But next year we will be launching our Seri Suria, U-Thant and hopefully also Dutamas,” said Tiah.

Seri Suria is a shop office, office tower and serviced apartment development in Sungai Buloh, Selangor worth an estimated RM517 million in total gross development value (GDV), to be completed in October 2017. Its U-Thant project is a low-rise condominium development in Kuala Lumpur with a GDV of RM106.5 million to be completed by March 2013 while Dutamas is a residential development in Mont’Kiara, Kuala Lumpur to be completed by April 2013.

Tiah said that the first phase of development from one or more of these three projects would be launched by the third quarter of next year, adding that economic conditions would be better by next year and “there is some pent-up demand in the (KLCC) area”.

TA Global executive chairman Datuk Tony Tiah, speaking prior to the debut of the stock yesterday, said that since its listing 19 years ago, TAE has grown from being a pure financial services company into a group with interest in property development, property investment and management in five major cities across continents.

“It is appropriate at this time therefore to spin off the property arm so that TA Global can focus on property development and management.

“We are optimistic that with this restructuring, investors can better ascertain and access the merits, prospects and performance of TA Global. On listing, TA Global will immediately — in terms of market capitalisation — be one of the leading property companies in Malaysia,” he said.

He added that the group’s winning formula has been to acquire and develop land only in prime localities.

He highlighted a prime development asset of 48.06 acres (19.45ha) freehold commercial land in Sri Damansara, which was ripe for development into an iconic business, commercial and residential centre.

“We will continue to pursue this strategy,” he added.

By The EDGE Malaysia (by Loong Tse Min)

Lukewarm debut for TA Global

Property firm opens at par before shedding 5% at the close

KUALA LUMPUR: TA Global Bhd made its debut on the Bursa Malaysia main market yesterday, the same day its holding company TA Enterprise Bhd was listed 19 years ago on the main board, closing at 47.5 sen, down 5% from its offer price of 50 sen.

TA Global executive director Datuk Mohamed Abid (left), Datin Alicia Tiah and executive chairman Datuk Tony Tiah (right) at the listing ceremony on Monday.

The second most active counter for the day traded at a high of 51 sen and low of 47 sen. Some 387 million shares changed hands.

TA Enterprise managing director and chief executive officer Datin Alicia Tiah said the 50 sen opening price was “within expectations”.

“Some analysts say that TA Global is worth much more. I would say that a lot of shareholders are getting TA Global shares for free from their holding of TA Enterprise shares. I would say weak holders are the ones selling now,” she told a press conference.

The company’s initial public offering (IPO) of 460 million 50 sen shares comprised an offer for sale of 90 million shares allocated to the bumiputra public, 360 million shares for approved bumiputra institutions and investors and 10 million shares to eligible directors and employees of TA Global group and TA Enterprise group.

TA Enterprise shareholders received three TA Global shares and three preferred shares for every five TA Enterprise shares held. The preferred shares are valid for five years and are convertible from year three onwards. After the listing, TA Enterprise will have a 57.3% stake in TA Global.

TA Global is the property division of the TA Group with its primary businesses of hotel operations, property management, investment and development.

Tiah said what was important was what investors thought of the company’s potential.

“Right now we don’t have many development projects. Next year, we will be launching Seri Suria, U-Thant and hopefully Dutamas,” she said adding that these projects were scheduled to be launched earliest by the second quarter.

She said the company was actively looking to partner local and foreign landowners for projects.

“Our two main targets will be Canada and Australia because TA already has a presence there,” she said. The Avaa Whistler Hotel in Canada was scheduled to open on Nov 26 and be “in full swing by the Winter Olympics in January 2010”.

“We are looking to do more things there because we have enough local knowledge to be a success. Australia is another country we are interested to explore further other than just having a hotel as a passive investment. We are actively looking to see if we can do something more than hospitality,” she said.

In Australia, TA Global owns the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Sydney and Westin Melbourne. It also owns Terasen Centre in Vancouver, Canada.

On whether the company had plans to acquire more hotels, Tiah said : “If all things go well, we will be making an announcement at the end of the year. We are still negotiating the terms.”

By The Star

KPJ sets revenue target

KPJ Healthcare Bhd, the healthcare division of Johor Corp (JCorp), expects revenue to hit a record RM2 billion in 2012 with more hospital openings.

Its chairman Tan Sri Muhammad Ali Hashim said the group is confident of achieving the target based on the favourable performance of the JCorp Group and other business strategies including the opening of more hospitals.

"We now have 19 hospitals nationwide and are in the process of identifying locations for new hospitals," he said after the opening of the new KPJ Penang Specialist Hospital by Penang Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas in Bandar Perda, Penang, yesterday.

Muhammad Ali said the group has been recording strong financial growth with a revenue of RM1.4 billion last year.

Under the expansion plan, KPJ Healthcare is looking at either acquiring existing private hospitals or building new hospitals.

By Business Times (by Adie Suri Zulkefli)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bina Puri plans RM1.5b resort development

Bina Puri is in talks with local developers and foreign parties for the Kota Kinabalu project which will feature hotels, resorts, high-end condos and villas.

Bina Puri Holdings Bhd is planning a luxury resort development in Kota Kinabalu that could cost more than RM1.5 billion.

Bina Puri Construction Sdn Bhd (BPCSB) managing director Datuk Henry Tee Hock Hin, who oversees projects in Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei, said the development will feature hotels, resorts, high-end condominiums and villas.

Tee said it would be Bina Puri's first luxury development of such scale.

BPCSB is in talks with local developers and foreign parties, and a joint-venture company will be set up once all parties reach agreement.
"It is too early to say when the project will start, but we are looking at it seriously. What is important is to get the right partners in to build it together.

"We have seen a few parcels of land. BPCSB will ink some deals soon for the project," Tee said.

BPCSB will offer its expertise in design and construction, and assist the local authorities in promoting Sabah tourism, while its partners will provide the funding.

Tee said demand for luxury products in Sabah is set to improve over the next few years in line with the state government's plans to enhance tourism, education and healthcare.

"Besides the tourism project, we will continue to launch and build high-end developments in Sabah as there are fewer players in this segment in the marketplace."

Tee also said that Bina Puri, through BPCSB, will launch Phase 2 of its Jesselton condominium project in Tuaran, Kota Kinabalu, costing some RM50 million.

Phase 1, comprising 133 luxury condominium units worth RM64 million, was sold within a year of its launch at end-2006.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

PNB may turn MAS building into 5-star hotel

PERMODALAN Nasional Bhd (PNB) may convert Bangunan MAS into a business or five-star hotel and demolish the multi-level podium next to it to make way for a luxury serviced apartment tower worth a combined RM1 billion.

PNB bought the 35-storey building on Jalan Sultan Ismail from Malaysia Airlines (MAS) three years ago for RM130 million.

The building, the former MAS headquarters, is currently 60-70 per cent tenanted at an average RM3.50 per sq ft.

Its biggest tenants are Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara and Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd, each occupying 10-12 floors.
It is learnt that PNB is finalising details of the building plans and working on getting the necessary approvals from the relevant authorities.

"It would be wise for PNB to build the apartments from scratch instead of the hotel. Once PNB has finalised the details of the plan, it would demolish the podium, maybe around the second half of 2010 to make way for the apartments," sources said.

The podium levels have a huge advantage of large floor plates boasting some 15,000 sq ft to 23,000 sq ft, enabling efficient space allocation for the apartments to generate higher returns.

On Bangunan MAS, PNB will be refurbishing the whole building while retaining the existing structures.

"The hotel will have world-class standards. It would be operated by a third party," a source said

PNB president and group chief executive Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman, when met at the launch of the Malaysia 1000 (Malaysia Top Corporate Directory) 4th Edition in Kuala Lumpur recently, told Business Times the redevelopment of Bangunan MAS would take place "soon".

He declined, however, to give details of the plan but said it would feature high-end products.

Meanwhile, the tenants of Bangunan MAS have yet to get any letter from PNB to vacate the building.

"If they want us to vacate, they should give us six months notice so we have time to find a new place," said the official of one company, who declined to be named.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

PKNS to accrue RM380m property sales next year

PETALING JAYA: The Selangor State Development Corp (PKNS) expects to accrue RM380mil from the sale of properties next year, said its deputy general manager (administration and development) Md Nasir Md Arshad.

He said the corporation hoped to sell RM342mil in properties this year as demand from the upper-middle class was growing.

“PKNS will continue to engage with potential customers on new projects to be launched next year through a comprehensive awareness campaign,” he told Bernama after the official sale of Kasturi Idaman apartments here on Saturday.

Under the “luxury and comfortable” campaign set for next year, Md Nasir said the corporation aimed to sell 314 residential property units in Alam Nusantara, Shah Alam, with prices starting from RM335,000.

He added that PKNS also planned to offer semi-detached luxury residential units in Kota Damansara with prices starting from RM1.2mil.

Earlier, Md Nasir said the Kasturi Idaman project, launched in June 2007 and scheduled for completion in March 2010, would have a gross development value of RM42mil. “Eighty five per cent of the project is completed and everything is on schedule.” he said.

By Bernama

TA Enterprise not keen to venture into investment banking

TA Enterprise Bhd (TAE) does not plan to enter the investment banking business now, said its chief, citing concerns over costs and returns in the crowded sector.

Group managing director and chief executive officer Datin Alicia Tiah said the premium to apply for a investment banking licence was costly compared with the amount of work in Malaysia.

TAE would have to pay RM52 million if it wants an investment banking status.

"It doesn't make economic sense to pay that much premium to be an investment banker, especially when the field is overcrowded and there are not enough jobs to go around.

"I am not saying we won't apply for a licence at all as the situation could change in the future. If there is business to do and money to be made, I may do it," she said.
TAE's stockbroking rivals such as OSK Hwang-DBS and K&N Kenanga started operating as investment bankers in 2007, while ECM Libra started investment banking operations in February 2008.

Its focus now is to expand its stockbroking arm and it may do venture capital as well.

"We will evaluate the market situation before we do things. If the timing is not right, I will not do what is not right then," she said in an interview with Business Times in Kuala Lumpur.

Stockbroking contributes around 70 per cent to the group's net profit and revenue, and will continue to do so in the coming years.

TAE, which has stockbroking operations here and Hong Kong, is also looking to invest in China.

The group also has interests in TA Futures, which is a licensed futures broker and asset management.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

TA Global opens at par in market debut

TA Global Bhd made its maiden debut on Bursa Malaysia today but opened at par with its offer price of 50 sen with 2.96 million shares changing hands at the opening bell.

Non-Executive Director Datin Alicia Tiah said the opening price was within the group's expectation.

"We are confident the stock has much greater value than its current trading price. It is not reflective of the true value of the company," she said after the company's listing today.

As of mid-day, the share price slipped to below par at 48.5 sen and stay unchanged as at 3.45pm.
Under the IPO, the company offered 460 million shares of 50 sen each, or 12.78 per cent of the company's enlarged issued and paid-up share capital of 3.6 billion shares and 1.2 billion irredeemable convertible preference shares (ICPS).

Businesses under TA Global include hotel operations, property management, construction, property investment and property development.

Upon listing, Alicia said TA Global would look for more joint venture projects in the domestic and international market.

"We already have presence in Canada and Australia. We believe we have enough local knowledge to become a successful property development group.

"TA Global is looking at strengthening our presence there with more joint ventures in property development. We want to invest further in Canada and Australia," she added.

Currently, in Canada, TA Global owns Terasen Centre, a triple A office building, and the four-star Aava Whistler Hotel. In Australia, it owns the five-star Radisson Plaza in Sydney and the Westin Melbourne.

TA Global aims to launch an office tower and service apartment project in Sri Damansara, condominium development in Ampang and residential development in Mont'Kiara.

Alicia said the company was planning to launch the first phase of the shop office project by the second quarter or third quarter of 2010.

The office tower and serviced apartment project in Sri Damanara, with a gross development value of RM517 million and RM218 million, respectively, is expected to be launched by May and September next year.

Meanwhile, the 106.5 million low-rise condominium project in U-Thant will be launched in October while Phase 1 of the residential development in Mont'Kiara is scheduled for launch by November.

By Bernama

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Luxury bungalow in hillside setting

MUTIARA Goodyear Development Bhd plans to launch an integrated high-end development project in Taman Melawati by 2010 and has spent RM70mil to prepare the site.

Mutiara Goodyear deputy CEO Alex Chiang (left), Hamidon Abdullah, GM sales and marketing Gerald Wong (right) at the Prime Avenue development.

According to chairman Hamidon Abdullah the project, which sits on 32ha is located at a scenic hillzone area and set to “become a better alternative than Kenny Hills (Bukit Tunku)”.

“We intend to create a new high-end community with Melawati Nadayu,” he enthuses.

The project is strategically located as it is accessible via major highways and is 25 minutes away from KL city. It will comprise 142 units of high-end bungalows and 46 units of superlink homes and located at close proximity to modern conveniences and an International School.

“This township would be different; most bungalow townships are set in small pockets with maximum units of 50-60 bungalows in the area,” he says, adding that Melawati Nadayu is all about luxury bungalows in a hillside setting.

Hamidon adds that the company is mindful of the safety aspects of hillzone properties as it prepared the earthwork and infrastructure at the site.

“The site will be proper and it will be well blended within the environment. Most important the site will be safe.

“It is a hill area and there are concerns. But we are a responsible developer. It has taken us two years to prepare the site and we were overly critical in addressing the terrain,” he adds.

Quite clearly, he is optimistic about the property market for high-end residential properties: “We know we are addressing a smaller group of people. The market in this region is doing well. Recent launches of property market worth RM4mil-RM5mil are doing well. The market is there and it is expanding.”

Meanwhile, Mutiara’s Prime Avenue project at Dataran Prima is poised to become a hotspot for work and play.

In what he calls a “new manifestation of space”, he says the concept originated from a shoplot but has taken a different twist. Prima Avenue boasts beautiful landscapes and ample space for people to congregate.

“While today it is a medium-end location, it could very well be a high-end in time to come,” he points out.

Prime Avenue is accessible via three different routes, New Klang Valley Expressway, Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong Highway, Sprint Highway and Federal Highway.

Developed by Puncak Kencana Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mutiara, the project takes up 1.36ha of freehold tract within Dataran Prima.

“Mutiara’s expertise is in acquiring sites which were previously not considered choice locations and transforming them into up-market and high-value property investments,” he says, adding that it plans to launch RM1.5bil properties starting from November till end-2010.

Prime Avenue will consists of two office towers development with a total GDV of RM122mil comprising 342 office suites as well as 33 double-frontage shop office duplexes housed in a retail podium called The Tube.

Each tower will house 171 office suites on 12 levels, while the rest will be parking lots. Units are priced from RM174,000.

The single-level executive suites come with built-up of between 603 sq ft and 1,635 sq ft, while duplex business suites have built-ups from 1,186 sq ft to 3,250 sq ft. Phase 1 is 85% sold and phase 2 is open for sale now.

By The Star (by Eileen Hee)

SunwayMas seeks to be prominent high-end player

SUNWAYMAS Sdn Bhd, the property arm of Sunway Holdings Bhd, is looking to stamp its mark as a prominent high-end developer, says executive director Andy Khoo.

“The economic downturn has not had much of an impact on the high-end segment. Property prices within this segment have even escalated,” he tells StarBizweek.

Khoo is clearly optimistic about the prospects for the local property sector in 2010.

Andy Khoo at the site of its Sunway Rydgeway in Melawati Heights

“Market sentiment is on the rebound. There is good liquidity in terms of transactions and this should augur well for the property market next year.”

He says SunwayMas would be focusing on integrated commercial developments for 2010.

The boutique developer currently has two ongoing (integrated commercial development) projects within the Klang Valley – Sunway PJ@51a and Bangi Integrated Commercial Centre (BICC).

Sunway PJ @51a will comprise 88 office suites, 11 retail outlets and six showrooms. Located next to Cycle & Carriage, the development is accessible via the Federal Highway, Jalan 225 via Jalan SS9A and New Pantai Expressway.

The company says its BICC project will be a “first-of-its-kind” development in Bandar Baru Bangi, comprising dual frontage, four-storey shop offices.

“Both projects are under construction and the progress has been healthy,” Khoo says, adding that SunwayMas was also looking for opportunities to embark on other projects within the Klang Valley.

“We have about 120ha of undeveloped landbank there and we are always looking for opportunities. We are also constantly looking for landbanks,” he says.

SunwayMas has commenced work on its first high-end residential development in Melawati Heights.

Called Sunway Rydgeway, the project will comprise 40 bungalows and 30 semi-detached homes with a gross development value of RM180 when construction is completed in 2011.

Khoo says the project is 20% complete and the semi-dees have been snapped up while only six bungalows are remaining.

“We felt that it (Melawati) was a nice area to build a boutique development. It is a matured township, but there were still pockets of undeveloped land and we ceased the opportunity to embark on our own project,” says Khoo.

Inspired by the word ‘ridge’ which refers to a place on elevated ground, Sunway Rydgeway overlooks a quartz ridge.

Khoo notes that potential purchasers and investors were cautious about hill-slope developments after the landslide disaster at Bukit Antarabangsa earlier this year). However, he ensures that the homes were safe to inhabit.

“Our projects are on flat, elevated land,” he says, adding that the encouraging take-up rate experienced to date clearly indicated that the design and concept of the homes were what purchasers have been looking for.

A lot of effort was put into maintaining and conserving the natural environment and surrounding landscape, Khoo says.

Security features at Sunway Rydgeway will include an external fibre option CCTV system, home alarm system and unlimited intercom system between the residents.

On another note, Khoo says the Government’s proposal to reimpose the real property gains tax (RPGT) of 5% effective Jan 1 could have an impact on the secondary market.

However, he adds that buyers and investors should be happy that the RPGT was capped at 5% and not higher.

By The Star (by Eugene Mahalingam)

Star Property Fair makes KL debut

The Star Property Fair will make its debut in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 27. The three-day fair will be held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

Themed “Stylish Living”, the fair will showcase wide-ranging property developments, including superbly-designed condominiums, luxurious bungalows and affordable link houses, to cater to everyone.

There will also be public auctions by CIMB Property Mart that feature many noteworthy properties.

Big names in the country’s property development landscape will showcase their projects namely SP Setia Bhd, Sime Darby Bhd, Sunway City Bhd, Lucky Bright Star Sdn Bhd and KH Land Sdn Bhd.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to obtain advice on financing options from participating financial institutions, and attend talks and forums by industry experts on property investment, feng shui and home aspirations.

Renowned bestselling Malaysian author and speaker, Captain Azizi Ali, will be sharing his secrets on how to be a property millionaire. There will also be a special guest appearance by supermodel Amber Chia and her interior designer Edwin Cassian, where they will talk about the design and theme of her home and also provide tips and ideas on interior design.

There will be a contest for visitors with prizes worth over RM20, 000 to be won.

Interested home buyers or property investors should therefore mark their calendar for the upcoming Stylish Living Star Property Fair 2009. For more information on the fair, log on to

By The Star

A night to remember

It was a prestigious night as the creme de la creme of the country’s property sector were honoured at the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) Malaysia Property Award 2009 on Monday.

Dubbed the “Property Oscars” by industry players, the highlight of the night was the ‘Property CEO of the Year’ award that was bagged by Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) group managing director Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, who humbly attributed the win to his MRCB team.

MRCB group MD Shahril Ridza Ridzuan with his Property CEO of the Year award.

“I am very thankful to my team at MRCB who are instrumental in me winning this award. It is a testimony to all the hard work done by them. I am just lucky to be their CEO at this point in time,” he said.

“This will also give my team a lot of motivation going forward in terms of the business and improving the (quality) of the properties for the future as well,” said Shahril.

No less important were the six other awards that were presented the same night to some of the top property developers in the country.

The winners were UEM Land Bhd’s Puteri Harbour in Nusajaya, Johor (Master Plan Category); SDB Properties Sdn Bhd’s Park Seven in Kuala Lumpur (Residential Development – high rise); Perdana ParkCity Sdn Bhd’s Adiva in Kuala Lumpur (Residential Development – low rise); Boustead Curve Sdn Bhd’s The Curve, Mutiara Damansara in Petaling Jaya (Retail Development); Menara Hap Seng Sdn Bhd’s Menara Hap Seng in Kuala Lumpur (Office Development Category) and MRCB’s Sooka Sentral in Kuala Lumpur (Purpose-Built Project).

Boustead Curve’s director Datuk Ghazali Mohd Ali said winning the award was another milestone for the company.

“I believe that winning is not the end. It’s a journey we have to go through from now on.”

Boustead director Datuk Ghazali Mohd Ali with his award for Boustead Curve Sdn Bhd’s The Curve.

Perdana ParkCity group chief executive officer Lee Liam Chye was clearly thrilled.

“It’s a recognition for some of the ideas we’ve been doing for ParkCity. FIABCI has stature in the market. Winning it is a recognition by our peers that we did something extraordinary for the particular year.”

The event was held in a glittering ceremony at The Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

It was graced by the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and attended by local and foreign guests.

The 2009 Malaysia Property Award was organised by FIABCI Malaysia, with Malayan Banking Bhd as the official sponsor.

The emphasis for this year’s event was “Intrinsic Value in Holistic Living”.

Winners of the Malaysia Property Award in their relevant categories will represent Malaysia next year at the International Prix d’Excellence in Bali, Indonesia.

By The Star (by Eugene Mahalingam, Edy Sarif, Leow Yong May and Lavonne Cheah)