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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hap Seng Land to beef up revenue

HAP Seng Land Sdn Bhd (HSL), the property arm of Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd, will focus on building houses in Sabah and Puchong in Selangor and increasing rental income to sustain revenue this year.

"We hope to ride on income from our investment in properties and progress billing from property sales.

"We will be cautious and offer new units at our existing townships only if there is demand. Having said that, the housing market in Sabah is still hot," HSL chief executive Datuk Paul Ng Kee Seng said.

HSL's current projects are Kingfisher Palm Homes, a high-end township in Kota Kinabalu; Bandar Sri Perdana, a 62.5ha mixed development in Lahad Datu; Bandar Sri Indah, a 342ha township in Tawau; Astana Heights, a township in Sandakan; and D'Alpinia, a township in Puchong.
They are worth a few billion ringgit and will last the company another five to 10 years, Ng told Business Times at a Chinese New Year luncheon at Menara Hap Seng in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

By July, HSL will launch phase 1A of D'Alpinia, featuring 154 terrace and semi-detached homes costing RM300,000 to RM400,000 each, or RM60 million collectively.

HSL achieved RM191 million sales in 2007 against RM165 million the year before. It has yet to announce results for financial year 2008.

Property is the fourth biggest contributor to Hap Seng group revenue, behind fertiliser trading, plantation and building materials.

The group, which posted RM2.24 billion turnover in 2007, also has businesses such as automotive, credit financing and quarrying.

HSL is working on a plan to grow its property development and investment business, which has assets like Menara Hap Seng (formerly MUI Plaza), and office buildings, shophouses and warehouses in Sabah, including 2ha plantation land held under the company, under lease.

Ng said it was eyeing a few buildings in the Klang Valley which could reap good rental income.

Apart from new properties, it will buy old and abandoned buildings in strategic locations, and at the right price, and retrofit the properties.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

Hap Seng Land plans to buy properties, land in Klang Valley

KUALA LUMPUR: Hap Seng Land Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of property developer and plantation owner Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd, is looking to acquire properties or land in the Klang Valley.

Hap Seng Land chief executive (property division) Datuk Paul Ng Kee Seng said the time was right for cash-rich companies with a good reputation and access to credit lines to go bargain hunting and acquire prime properties or land in good locations.

Datuk Paul Ng Kee Seng posing at the refurbished building.

“In times of crisis, there are opportunities and we are in a good financial position to acquire properties or land, particularly in the Klang Valley as the demand for office and retail space remains strong,” he pointed out.

He was speaking to reporters after a Chinese New Year celebration at the company’s refurbished 22-storey Menara Hap Seng (formerly MUI Plaza).

Asked if Hap Seng Land was in talks with any parties for immediate property or land acquisitions, he said talks were “always ongoing” but that nothing had been finalised.

Ng had said in earlier reports that the company was pursuing niche property development in the Klang Valley.

Hap Seng Land purchased Menara Hap Seng from MUI Properties Bhd in 2004 for RM167mil and converted it into an integrated office-cum-retail building.

“The refurbishment of Menara Hap Seng, which cost RM60mil, was completed in December 2007 and is now fully tenanted,” Ng said.

According to Ng, Menara Hap Seng has rental rates of between RM5 and RM6 per sq ft for office space and RM5 to RM20 per sq ft for retail space.

Besides Menara Hap Seng, Hap Seng Land has 76.30 acres of leasehold land in Puchong where it is developing landed properties.

By The Star

'Vision City won't be hurt by aborted Labu LCCT'

Conglomerate Sime Darby Bhd says its Negri Sembilan Vision City project will not be hurt by the absence of a low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in Labu.

This is because the KL International Airport (KLIA) is still within its development area and the initial plan had been to use the KLIA as the catalyst for its project.

"It doesn't matter where the airport is. Sepang is within our area. That was our original plan, to develop the Sepang estate as an aeropolis," chief executive officer Datuk Seri Ahmad Zubir Murshid told reporters at a briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Plans for an LCCT in Labu were scrapped after a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and AirAsia Bhd group chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes on January 30.

However, a new LCCT will be built near the KLIA in Sepang. Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd, KLIA's operator, will have to work closely with AirAsia on this project.
Zubir explained that when Sime Darby was approached by AirAsia, the conglomerate had suggested that it develop an LCCT on its Sepang estate.

However, that could not happen because the Department of Civil Aviation said it would be in KLIA's flight path. The proposal for an LCCT in Labu was then mooted.

"Our Vision Valley project does not change (because of the aborted Labu LCCT)," Zubir said.

In December last year, a senior Sime Darby official had said that the Labu LCCT would be crucial to the Negri Sembilan Vision City in attracting investment and facilitating economic development.

He said the new LCCT, which would cost RM1.6 billion in construction alone, would promote economic activities, particularly in the construction industry, and create jobs.

The Negri Sembilan Vision City development is the second part of a bigger national development project called Central Vision Valley (CVV), which spans 166,000ha.

The first part is known as the Selangor Vision City.

"Sime Darby is the master planner for the CVV due to the fact that we are the biggest landowner in this area. Of the 166,000ha in the CVV, 32,000ha belong to Sime Darby," the official said.

The group expects to complete the development of the two vision cities by 2025.

By Business Times (by Shahriman Johari)

Wall Street gains on positive housing data

NEW YORK:US stocks closed solidly higher Tuesday as investors weighed a positive report on the troubled housing market, a mixed batch of corporate earnings and progress on the government’s stimulus plan.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 141.53 points (1.78 per cent) to finish at 8,078.36.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite climbed 21.87 points (1.46 per cent) to 1,516.30 and the broad Standard & Poor’s 500 index advanced 13.07 points (1.58 per cent) to 838.51.

The National Association of Realtors provided an unexpected glimmer of hope in the disastrous housing market: pending home sales rose 6.3 per cent in December. Most private economists had expected a flat reading.
“An unexpected jump in pending home sales is helping limit the sting of continued signs of carnage the recession is having on corporate profits and outlooks,” said analysts at Charles Schwab & Co. analysts noted that roughly 80 per cent of pending home sales become existing home sales within two months. “This December report should factor favourably in economists’ forecast for existing home sales, particularly in January,” they said.

Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors said the data highlighted pent-up market demand for President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan, which has swelled to US$888 billion in the Senate.

“Since housing is the root of the problems, anything that helps turn around this market would be welcomed — hint, hint, Congress,” Naroff said.

The Federal Reserve announced Tuesday it had extended for six months, through October 30, temporary programs designed to inject liquidity into the financial markets.

The strongest gainer on the blue-chip Dow was drugmaker Merck, up 6.37 per cent at US$30.24, after reporting net profit doubled in 2008.

Motorola plunged 11.01 per cent to US$4.04. The troubled mobile phone maker posted a US$4.16 billion loss for 2008 under heavy restructuring charges.