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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

MP Corp’s RM4bil expo city project to begin in 2010

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Pacific Corp Bhd (MP Corp) hopes to start the construction of the RM4bil Asia Pacific Trade & Expo City (APTEC) in Iskandar Malaysia next year.

Datuk Bill C.P. Ch’ng ... ‘This is a very ambitious project.’

President and chief executive officer Datuk Bill C.P. Ch’ng said the company was finalising joint-venture partners for various parcels of the project which he dubbed as “a unique one-stop sourcing and trade centre”.

“This is a very ambitious project and we are targeting to complete everything within eight years,” he told reporters after the group’s AGM yesterday.

Ch’ng said the intention was to build the whole place in one go, saying that the project was not designed to be operated on a “piece-meal” basis.

To do this, APTEC will be broken up into 18 or 20 different parcels, each to be funded separately.

By dividing the project into smaller parcels and forming joint ventures, Ch’ng said the various components would be able to take off simultaneously without incurring heavy financial burden to the company.

MP Corp had pared down net current liabilities to just RM5.6mil as at June 30 compared with RM150mil a year ago.

The company had proposed to issue rights shares earlier this year to raise as much as RM54mil and to enlarge its capital base.

This would enable it to undertake “substantial corporate exercise in the pipeline,” Ch’ng said in his statement in the group’s latest annual report.

At the briefing, Ch’ng walked through the APTEC that will accommodate a total of 2.5 million sq ft of exhibition space in four trade halls as well as retail malls.

Hotels, including a 50-storey five-star property, as well as offices and commercial units are being planned on the 60-acre site.

“We are not just building the hotel but we want to find the right partner who can operate it,” Ch’ng said.

He declined to reveal any of the potential or identified partners but said that “more announcements” would be made next year.

Last week, MP Corp announced that Asia Pacific Trade & Expo City Sdn Bhd (APTEC SB) had signed a letter of intent with a potential partner from Thailand to explore join-venture possibilities related to the project.

APTEC SB is a unit of Lakehill Resorts Development Sdn Bhd. MP Corp owns a 78% stake in Lakehill while the rest is held by AmanahRaya Bhd.

The APTEC project will be surrounded by a mixed development undertaken by Lakehill.

By the Star (by Izwan Idris)

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