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Monday, March 30, 2009

Cyberview draws up 5-year plan for Cyberjaya

CYBERVIEW Sdn Bhd is drawing up new plans for Cyberjaya - including products and development - that will cover a five-year period from 2011 to 2015, a top official said.

"We will have a round of discussion with the Economic Planning Unit to identify what are the niche areas that need to be prompted and expanded. One area where I see a lot of potential is creative multimedia," said Redza Rafiq, managing director of the government-linked entity spearheading developments at Cyberjaya.

He believes there will be an influx of investments to Cyberjaya as companies worldwide, especially Ame-rican information and communications technology (ICT) firms, relocate to keep costs low.

Cyberview has embarked on a campaign to promote Cyberjaya in North America, and several firms have indicated their intention to move to the ICT hub, Redza told Business Times in an interview recently.

"We are expanding. It is not a real estate game. We are using property as a tool to create economic opportunities in targeted sectors. We believe there are opportunities in every crisis," he said.

Redza said Cyberview is moving to develop more land and provide more buildings as demand has outstripped supply.

There are currently 500 companies operating in Cyberjaya, 465 of which are homegrown and the rest, multinationals. This is 65 per cent more than three years ago.

Redza said 26 companies have confirmed moving to Cyberjaya since July last year, including Malladi, a biotech firm from India; Rhythm & Hues Studios, which specialises in visual effects and computer animation for feature films; Experian plc, a global information services company; institutional investor services provider RBC Dexia; and a prominent US-based micro processor.

Cyberview is currently busy building eight properties for, among others, Dell, Satyam, Hewlett-Packard, KRU Studios, and the Knowledge Workers Development Institute.

These properties are worth a combined RM585 million, and will add 1.65 million sq ft of new office space in Cyberjaya by end-2010, breaching the anticipated five million sq ft mark.

Redza said it will also create 7,000 new jobs by then, increasing the current workforce of 19,000.

Cyberview, meanwhile, has postponed the launch of its flagship housing project, myHome@Cyberjaya, worth over RM100 million, to the fourth quarter.

It was aiming to launch the project, comprising 1,000 units of serviced apartments and double-storey houses worth from RM88,000 to RM168,000 respectively, in August last year.

The delay is due to unexpected demand from knowledge workers in Cyberjaya, Redza said.

Today, some 25 per cent of Cyberjaya's total land size is developed with proper infrastructure, public amenities, houses, commercial blocks, SME buildings and learning institutions.

"It would be unrealistic to assume that we would be unaffected by job cuts by companies operating from Cyberjaya. But it is realistic to believe the effect on Cyberjaya will be more muted compared to other areas," he told Business Times.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

UK's Sure Corporate eyeing property bargains in KL

FOREIGNERS are fishing for investment opportunities in Malaysia's property sector, riding on the gloomy economy that has made properties cheaper by 15 to 30 per cent, especially in Kuala Lumpur.

Property investment firm Sure Corporate Holdings Sdn Bhd, a unit of UK-based Sure Holdings Ltd (SHL), is looking for properties, but is also tightening its belt now as developers are reluctant to offer discounts on properties still under construction.

"We are not investing over the next quarter. Like most investors, we will watch for sellers to lower their price. We will only buy what we consider to be an absolute bargain that has a real potential for good rental yield," says SHL founder James Pala.

"In my view, condominiums in Mont' Kiara are over priced by 15 per cent. It's greed on the developer's side," Pala told Business Times in Kuala Lumpur.

He said there is also a big gap of property pricing range in KLCC. While a 500 sq ft studio apartment costs around RM600,000, a 5,000 sq ft condominium is priced at RM10 million to RM15 million.

"There is no price correlation. Prices need to be adjusted if developers want to sell," Pala said.

Pala is not new to the Malaysian real estate scene. He has been buying and selling luxury condominiums and expensive landed homes since 1999.

The 34-year-old British born is buying properties to lease to expatriates and foreigners under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.

In its portfolio, it has 50 properties in Mont' Kiara, KLCC, Hartamas and Dutamas, bought in bulk from PJ Development Holdings Bhd, Sunrise Bhd, Mayland Properties and Palam Mesra Sdn Bhd.

Pala says the properties, which are 70 per cent occupied, are leased for RM2,500 to RM10,000 a month, 20 per cent cheaper than a year ago, as depression heightens.

"Our philosophy is to buy high-rise properties in bulk, hold for five years, then sell. For landed properties, we will hold for 5 to 10 years. If the market is good, you can double your money when you sell," he said.

Pala said for new purchases, SHL will stick to areas like Mont' Kiara, Bangsar, Golden Triangle, Sri Hartamas and Dutamas to invest.

It may look at potential growth areas being developed like Segambut.

"Malaysia has a lot of scope for growth. The properties are by far cheaper in comparison to Singapore and Hong Kong, hence making it a viable place to invest," Pala said.

SHL also trades in Fine Vintage French Wines, to complement its property investment business.

"We buy and sell for our private clients and build portfolios for them. They are the same investors who buy our properties," he added.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

Pan Arab Dev-Hong Bee project talks

PAN Arab Development Co Sdn Bhd, controlled by a Pakistan businessman, aims to develop a commercial project in the Klang Valley, in partnership with the Hong Bee Group.

Its founder Aftab Adamjee said its investment in the development will be over RM200 million, but declined to elaborate as plans are still preliminary.

The project is a first in a series of investments Aftab will make in Malaysia.

Founded in 1933, Hong Bee is run by the low-profile Gan family, with interests in textile.

Aftab is in talks with Hong Bee to also build houses for the Muslim community from the Middle East, Pakistan and the West.

"I am talking to Glomac Bhd and Ireka Corp Bhd for similar purpose. But the bigger plan is to get investors from Pakistan and the Middle East to invest here," he told Business Times in an interview.

Aftab is also buying houses in bulk from developers in choice locations, and selling to the Muslim community worldwide.

"I see large groups of Muslims from the Middle East and Pakistan coming here over the next five years under the Malaysia 'My Second Home programme'. They feel insecure because of what is happening in their home country," he said.

Aftab, via a private firm, has sold RM50 million worth of properties for Ireka, to high-net worth people in Pakistan, and is in talks with Glomac to sell its properties in the same country.

"Developers are giving good rebates if you buy in bulk. If you have the heart to weigh it out during this turmoil, it is a good time to do it. You will be getting better deals now than six months ago. Obviously, this is the time to also negotiate," he said.

Aftab does not foresee the downtrend cycle to be long term as he expects a turnaround in three to five years' time.

But the biggest challenge is getting funds as banks have increased margin requirements, he said.

"For Malaysian acquisition, we try to get funding from local banks. I have been successful so far in getting more than RM50 million in credit from UOB, Affin and CIMB," he said.

Aftab said he is looking at downstream projects to do with oil- and gas-related firms, and derivatives of palm oil like pharmaceutical grade by-products.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

Kampong Baru project may cost RM500m

The Puncak Baru project, a mixed deveopment venture on the site of the Sunday market in Kampong Baru, Kuala Lumpur, is estimated to cost RM500 million.

Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique said the project on the land owned by City Hall (DBKL), provides a balance, by taking into account the needs of local residents and that of the property market.

He said that the project comprises four main components,a 60-storey condominium tower with 392 residential units, 40 floors of office units, three floors for shopping and businesses as well as an integrated development for the Kampong Baru LRT station and business space or "Bazaar".

"The Puncak Baru project is expected to change and enhance the image of Kampong Baru into a modern village cum commercial centre with the same world status as that of the Kuala Lumpur City Centre or KLCC," he said at the ceremony to launch Puncak Baru in conjunction with the redevelopment of the Sunday market site here today.

The project was launched by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Zulhasnan also hoped that the project would serve as the catalyst for the development of Kampong Baru as a whole.

Meanwhile, Naza TTDI chairman SM Nasarudin SM Nasimuddin said the project is expected to begin within three months and slated for completion in four or five years time.

By Bernama

Country Heights in luxury villa deal

COUNTRY Heights Holdings Bhd said its 70%-owned Borneo Heights Sdn Bhd will cooperate with Coughar Properties Sdn Bhd to develop, construct and market up to 20 premium luxury villa units in Sarawak.

Under the agreement, Borneo Heights will contribute land for the project while Coughar agreed to a minimum total sales value of US$160mil.

By Bernama