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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mah Sing to extend home campaign

The Mah Sing Group will extend its Easy Home Ownership campaign by a month to April 30 to celebrate its success in winning the BrandLaureate Award 2008-2009 for "Best Brand in Property" recently.

In a statement, Mah Sing said the campaign was a hugely successful financing programme for residential and commercial properties.

Under the campaign, buyers are required to pay only five per cent for residential properties, and the rest upon completion. For commercial properties, buyers need only pay 15 per cent first.

For completed residential properties, buyers can reduce their monthly installment payments by servicing only the interest on their loan amount for the first five years.
Mah Sing Group will also absorb the legal fees for the sales and purchase agreement, loan documentation, and memorandum of transfer for selected properties, it said.

Meanwhile, the company will sustain its momentum this year and beyond by offering medium to high end residential and investment grade commercial projects.

Mah Sing Group Bhd has 16 projects in Malaysia's three growth locations -- the Klang Valley, Penang island and Johor Baru.

The company has a RM3.8 billion remaining gross development value and unbilled sales from its 230-hectare remaining land bank as at December 31, 2008.

By Bernama

Malaysia Property Inc. heads for Japan

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Property Incorporated (MPI) will be heading to Tokyo with its Malaysia Property Fair 2009 to be held on April 25-26.

The event is a follow-up to MPI's successful seminar-cum-exhibition held in December last year, MPI executive director Yu Kee Su said in a statement on April 6.

MPI is a Malaysian government initiative set up to promote and brand Malaysia as an international property investment destination. Also involved is the International Real Estate Federation (Fiabci), Malaysian chapter in collaboration with the National Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association, the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents and the private sector.

Yu added last year’s event attracted 1,000 visitors and there was also positive feedback from the 11 property development companies, which displayed their products at the two-day event.

The successful even had prompted potential Japanese investors to visit some of the developers’ projects in Malaysia. "Sales value closed, limited to those disclosed to us to date, stands at over RM4 million,” Yu said.

The roundtable meeting session with a group of institutional investors at the December event also prompted one of the parties to take a trip to Malaysia to gather more data about investing in Malaysia real estate on a large scale.

"MPI is now following-up on this potential institutional investment party to facilitate its business development arrangements with local property development companies. We are confident the interest shown by this leading Japanese institutional investor will encourage others to follow suit soon,” Yu said.

It is organising the event again with the support of the Japan Long Stay Foundation, Japan HSBC Premier Banking and Tourism Malaysia Tokyo.

This event will be in line with MPI’s policy of organising focused seminars-cum-exhibitions for a target market of serious investors in real estate outside their country of origin.

It will also enable developers to interact better with potential foreign investors. Visitors to the event can attend a two-day seminar boasting topics related to Malaysia and opportunities available in its real estate. The presenters include representatives from Tourism Malaysia Tokyo, MPI and HSBC.

“With the global economic downturn, we are targeting retirees and soon-to-be retired who are encouraged by their government to explore long term stays outside their country as a means of stretching their pension income as far as possible,” he said.

The Property Fair is one of the key events in MPI’s calendar for 2009 targeted at its Asia-Pacific market including Singapore, China and Hong Kong.

Other regions which MPI is looking into are Europe (in particular, Britain) as well as west Asia, which includes the Middle East and India.

He said the current global economic slowdown should not affect its efforts to position Malaysia as a preferred international real estate investment destination.

“We need to keep Malaysia and its real estate on the radar of international investors, more so, now or we may risk losing a strong footing to capture market interest when the market picks up again. However, during this slowdown, the marketing expenditure will be kept as lean as possible,” he said,

Limited exhibition booth space is still available and open to property developers, estate agents and MM2H agents. Registration for participation by exhibitors will close on April 10.

By The EDGE Malaysia

Paragon pushes ahead despite property slip

Carpet maker Paragon Union Bhd may have slipped on a property deal but it is still keen to invest in the business further.

The company, which makes carpets for cars, hotels and offices, had tasted success when it sold all its houses under the Paragon Heights project in Bukit Jalil, Selangor.

Its latest plan to take over a property developer for RM18 million fell through when the seller failed to meet the terms of the deal, first announced in August last year.

"When there is opportunity, we will evaluate," executive director Tan Hong Kien told reporters after a shareholders' meeting in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Paragon signed a deal to buy Dominon Park Sdn Bhd, which has rights to develop a piece of land in Gombak, Kuala Lumpur.

The deal was terminated on March 10 when the seller, Prestamewah Development Sdn Bhd failed to give the complete documents.

Paragon is now suing Prestamewah to recover the RM18 million.

Paragon makes most of its money from its carpet business. However, higher costs led to its 2008 net profit falling to RM135,000, which is a tenth of what it made in 2007.

Tan said the company seeks new export markets to grow as overseas sales make up 15 per cent of revenue. It now exports to South Korea, Australia, India, Singapore, Brunei and Thailand.

"Locally, the commercial sector is a very big market for us such as hotels and offices. We also supply carpets to royal palaces," Tan said after the company's 45-minute extraordinary general meeting in KL yesterday.

In Malaysia, commercial properties make up about 60 per cent of Paragon's carpet sales, while the rest is from the automotive sector.

It supplies carpet to carmakers like Perodua, Mercedes, Honda and Nissan.

Shares of Paragon closed 15.4 per cent or 6 sen lower, to 33 sen yesterday.

By Business Times (by Hamisah Hamid)

HLG maintains hold on IJM Land

IJM Land Bhd is the latest property firm to offer an easy payment scheme for its customers under the My Space Plan.

With 16 projects on offer and an expected RM875 million in new launches in FY2010, HLG Research is confident that IJM Land will be able to achieve its RM250 million new sales target from the campaign.

The recent soft launch of Summer Place in Penang alone has garnered around RM60 million in bookings, said HLG, adding that it expected fourth-quarter (4Q09) earnings to be slightly lower compared to 3Q09, due to higher interest expense as a consequence of higher debt levels to repay inter-company loans and persisting low margins.

“Overall, FY09 results are not reflective of the enlarged entity going forward, as we believe kitchen sinking and one-off items like merger costs, rebranding costs and debt restructuring costs, will not recur.”

Some 2,700 acres of land under the Canal City project had been alienated to the JV company Canal City Construction Sdn Bhd, and the renegotiation on the flood mitigation project will have minimal impact on IJM Land.

HLG also said it expected the Canal City renegotiation to have minimal impact.

The research house has not imputed potential earnings from Canal City in its forecasts due to its long dated gestation and lack of a concrete masterplan.

HLG reaffirmed its hold call on IJM Land at 83.5 sen, with sum of the parts valuation derived price target of 89 sen per share imputing RM17.7 billion in future property launches.

It said FY09 results are expected to be disappointing, although not reflective of IJM Land’s long-term potential.

FY10 earnings are backed by RM800 million of unbilled sales and the expected RM875 million new launches. IJM Land’s high net gearing level of 0.6 times (0.4 times excluding redeemable convertible unsecured loan stocks), constrained IJM Land’s potential to grow its landbank during the current slowdown, said HLG.

IJM Land added six sen to 89.5 sen yesterday.

By The EDGE Malaysia

High-end property market may stabilise next year

The value of high-end properties, which has been on the decline by five to 15 per cent as a result of the current economic downturn, may stabilise when the economy recovers, according to an industry player.

"High-end properties will start to correct by next year, when the economic conditions recover. We expect it to be either stable or flat. It won't be down anymore but will slowly go up again," said Ho Chin Soon of Ho Chin Soon Research Sdn Bhd.

He said despite the current situation, some high-end properties were still able to command good prices, citing those in the KLCC area which went up by more than 15 per cent.

Ho said though the overall demand for the high-end properties has declined, the situation will correct itself over time.

"A lot of developers are holding back their launches, so there will be less supply and after some time, the demand and supply situation will correct itself," he said.

According to Ho, the developers will usually change their layouts during an economic downturn to offer more lower-end properties to keep their operations going.

As a result, the demand for low-cost and middle-cost properties has remained stable despite the current economic conditions, he said.

Ho also said that the recent interest rate cut by Bank Negara Malaysia was expected to boost demand for properties, especially for lower-end properties.

"During conditions like this, some developers will change their layout to more lower-end properties. When the condition stabilises, they will change back to high-end to meet the demand for such properties," he said.

For lower-end properties, Ho said: "From October last year until last month, we saw no downside. Asking prices are still very strong."

By Bernama

June launch for Bluwater's RM3b Sri Kembangan project

BOUTIQUE property developer Bluwater Developments Bhd will launch the first phase of its RM3 billion residential project in Seri Kembangan, Selangor, in June, offering 18 bungalow lots worth a combined RM25 million, or RM150 per sq ft, for sale.

The bungalow lots, dubbed "Bluhaven", are part of the upscale Bluwater Estate, which sprawls over 100ha and will be developed over eight years by phases.

And depending on market demand, it will launch a few lakeside villas, priced from RM800,000 to about RM1 million each, in the second half of this year.

Bluwater Developments is a unit of Clearwater Group, controlled by Dian Lee Cheng Ling, eldest daughter of property tycoon Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew.

Dian Lee, who is Bluwater Developments managing director, said she believes in Bluwater Estate's product offering, which is planned and designed by award-winning architect Sim Boon Yang of Eco-id Architects.

In addition to bungalow lots and villas, the estate will have semi-detached homes and condominiums. Some 1,000 households will live there after its completion.

The company is targeting to sell the properties to buyers in Europe and Asia Pacific, including Malaysia.

"The market sentiment has weakened due to turmoil. There are, however, astute investors who continue to look for good quality and priced properties thus, we do see sales in our projects, albeit at a slower pace," Dian Lee told Business Times in Seri Kembangan recently, after inking a deal with GD Baby Programme (S) Pte Ltd for rights to distribute Glenn Doman learning tools in Malaysia.

She believes there is possibility of some form of recovery in the second half of 2009 as trillions of dollars are being pumped into global economies in the form of fiscal stimulus.

"There is a chance that recovery would be sooner. The stock market will probably lead the recovery, followed by the property markets," she added.

Glenn Doman Baby Malaysia Sdn Bhd, the lifestyle arm of Clearwater, will provide the learning kits and programmes for normal and brain injured babies and toddlers up to age six.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

The hammer fails to fall again?

The auction of Putra Place, which houses The Mall, The Legend Hotel and an office tower, is likely be put off for the third time

A group of banks may have to wait a tad longer to recover their money as the auction of a prominent commercial property in Kuala Lumpur would likely be put off for the third time.

Putra Place, which houses The Mall, The Legend Hotel and an office tower, was meant to go under the hammer on April 16.

But this was disrupted after property owner Metroplex Holdings Sdn Bhd got a restraining order against any action by its creditors, which in effect put a stop to the auction. The restraining order, obtained without the knowledge of the lenders, was set aside last Friday.

"They filed for and obtained the restraining order without serving our clients first. Based on these grounds, the judge has set aside the order," said Alan Gomez, counsel for Commerce International Merchant Bankers Bhd (CIMB).

CIMB and RHB Investment Bank Bhd are agents to the group of banks that gave a loan to Metroplex.

Putra Place is located opposite the Putra World Trade Centre in downtown Kuala Lumpur.

The Mall is a shopping complex with eight floors, the office tower covers the 10th floor to the 33rd floor, while the 25-storey Legend Hotel includes serviced apartments and penthouses.

The freehold property was first put up for auction in April 2008. The reserve price then was RM705 million. Since no bids were received, the price was cut by a tenth to RM634.5 million.

Its second date with the hammer was on January 20 2009, but this was postponed to capture a wider net of bidders.

Due to the size of the sale, the judge decided in January that one advertisement was not enough and more notices were needed locally and abroad. This covered Canada, Los Angeles (the US), Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.

But Metroplex on January 22 2009 got the restraining order, and the notices, which were supposed to be put up twice before April 16, did not appear.

"Because of the order, we were unable to advertise. We will be meeting our clients to seek their instructions towards the sale and a new auction date is likely to be fixed," Gomez said.

By Business Times (by Vasantha Ganesan)

Bluwater project is learwater's second niche evelopment

The RM3 billion Bluwater Estate residential project in Seri Kembangan, Selangor, is the second niche development by local property developer Clearwater Group.

The group's flagship project is Clearwater Residence, a RM150 million boutique condominium in Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur, which is slated for completion by the end of this year.

More than 80 per cent of the condominium units, priced from RM900,000 each, have been sold since its launch a year ago, said founder and managing director Dian Lee Cheng Ling, eldest daughter of property tycoon Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew.

In expanding the group's business, Wisma Antah, a nine-storey office block adjacent to Clearwater Residence, was acquired from Antah Holdings Bhd for RM18 million, four years ago. The building will be refurbished and renamed WORK@Clearwater.

Clearwater also has 0.7ha of prime land in the upscale Bukit Tunku area in Kuala Lumpur, where it intends to build super luxury villas, worth over RM20 million each.

"We are waiting for approval to build the villas. Clearwater is expanding its lifestyle division, but property development will remain its core business," Dian Lee told Business Times.

The Bluwater Estate was previously known as the Mines Southlake, which was being developed by Mines Resort Bhd (MRB), the privately-held company of the elder Lee.

As he was scaling back his privately held local property development activities, Clearwater approached him to buy over MRB (now known as Bluwater Developments Bhd), which also owns The Heritage, for around RM350 million in mid-2008.

The Heritage features 842 condominium units in five 18-storey blocks, an eight-storey office building, and the two-level Heritage Village, which offers 120,000 sq ft of retail space.

"My father made a decision to relinquish some of his duties and responsibilities last year to focus more on his passion of charitable works and building his Mines Golf City. We saw the Mines Southlake as a dream project and took over from him. The company and the development were rebranded," Dian Lee said.

By Business Times