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Thursday, April 9, 2009

MK Land focusing on Klang Valley

PETALING JAYA: MK Land Holdings Bhd plans to focus on ongoing projects in the Klang Valley that are still showing growth in sales despite the economic downturn.

Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal

The property developer’s chief executive officer Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal Abu Bakar said the company would, however, slow its resort and property developments in Perak and Langkawi.

“We have ample land-bank in the Klang Valley and we need not start new projects. If we just focus on the existing ones in the next three to four years, we still can survive this economic downturn,” he told StarBiz.

“Even if the projects in the northern states are not profitable, it is fine as we will still be making profits from the projects in the Klang Valley because of their locations,” he said.

The company has a land-bank of 6,776 acres with potential gross development value of RM19.7bil. It has 623 acres in Damansara Perdana, 399 acres in Damansara Damai and 59 acres in Cyberia.

MK Land is in the midst of planning and is seeking approval from the authorities for its projects in Perak and Langkawi. It will wait for the right time to launch those projects.

In the first seven months of its current financial year ending June 30, MK Land recorded RM150mil in sales, said Mustapha, who made his comeback and assumed executive powers again in June after a one-year-plus hiatus.

Mustapha said his team had put in a lot of effort doing marketing, and thus he was confident the company could achieve healthy growth going forward. “I believe that we will be able to ride through the hard times if we tighten our belt, work harder and sell more,” he said.

The company was expected to sell some 907 properties worth RM438mil in 2010 and 838 worth RM487mil in 2011, said Mustapha.

Its ongoing projects in Damansara Perdana comprise the Armanee Terrace duplex condominiums, the Rafflesia three-storey semi-detached bungalows and Metropolitan Square commercial and residential development.

Mustapha said all the ground work, including piling and facilities, was completed when the first block of Metropolitan Square condominiums and retail units were launched.

“If we build the last two of the five condominium blocks now, comprising 448 units worth RM196mil, we will bring in solid profit,” he added.

With the lower construction costs due to the sharp fall in raw material prices, Mustapha said the company would plough back the savings into its projects, including repackaging the property products to benefit the buyers.

Of the 45,964 properties launched by the company so far, 42,829 worth RM5.1bil had been sold, he added.

“We have a huge land-bank and by offering various types of properties, we can adapt to any economic condition,” Mustapha said.

On the company’s Tasik Bukit Merah mixed development project in Perak, Mustapha said the nursing college there (which is part of the development) was doing very well.

“We want to expand the college further under the second phase of development.

“Instead of totally relying on the tourist market, we believe that by having a college, we will be able to create a critical mass for our project there,” he said.

By The Star (by Rachael Kam)

Berjaya postpones opening of The Chateau to end-2009

BERJAYA Hills Bhd, a subsidiary of Berjaya Corp Bhd (3395) , is to postpone for a second time the opening of its five-star resort, focusing on spa and wellness, in Berjaya Hills, Pahang, on concerns that the leisure market may continue to weaken in parallel with other regional markets.

The Chateau Spa and Wellness Resort, which has 210 rooms featuring a luxurious neo-classical interior design concept, was originally scheduled to open in November 2008, but was postponed to April this year.

Built after the medieval Haut Koenigsburg Castle in Alsace, France, for RM100 million last year, the resort will now open by end-2009, Colmar Tropicale general manager Bjorn-Henning Buth said.

The Chateau is located about 1,000m above sea level in the French- and Japanese-influenced Berjaya Hills (formerly known as Bukit Tinggi Resort), which spans 6,320ha of tropical greenery.
"We are targeting the international wellness market. (However) the market has softened due to the economic turmoil and we are hoping for an improvement in the second half. We expect significant contribution from The Chateau after its first year of operation," Buth told Business Times in an interview.

Berjaya Hills is expecting RM45 million to RM55 million in revenue this year from Colmar Tropicale, which is a French-themed resort offering 248 rooms, the Berjaya Hills Golf and Country Club and the Japanese Village.

For fiscal year ended April 30 2008, the company posted RM40 million in revenue, with around 25 to 30 per cent profit margin.

The company is drawing up more attractions at Berjaya Hills. It will open a street mall this quarter, encompassing souvenir, artifact and clothing shops, and art galleries, among others.

Berjaya is also promoting its 800-people capacity convention centre at the hills, to grow its meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition business.

Buth said the aim is to increase room occupancy at Colmar Tropicale from 54 per cent currently, and sell rooms at The Chateau when it opens.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

Fall in prime London housing values slowing

KUALA LUMPUR: London’s prime housing values are still dropping but the rate of the fall is slowing, according to Savills Research.

It said buyer interest is beginning to emerge although this has not been translated into more transactions which are still significantly curtailed.

“We are by no means out of the woods yet. Further deterioration in the outlook for the economy, both nationally and internationally, along with the prospect of further widespread job losses means the short to medium term outlook for the economy has worsened,” it added.

Savills Research said, nevertheless, the rate at which capital values in central London are falling had slowed significantly in the first three months this year, suggesting that the worst of the falls might be over. Average values fell by negative 4.2% in the quarter to March 2009, half of that seen in the last quarter of 2008.

“We have not yet reached the bottom of the market but buyer registrations in the prime London markets as a whole have doubled over the past quarter but, more importantly, deals agreed this month have risen to levels not seen since March 2008.

“Deals are now settling at negative 25% to negative 30% off peak. A shortage of stock is beginning to manifest, demonstrating that falls of this magnitude are sufficient to motivate need-driven domestic buyers,” it said.

Savills Research expects prime central London housing market to cease falling by end-2009 as investor demand starts to revive against still-low levels of stock. Any growth in values, however, is likely to be suppressed until there is a return to confidence in the UK economy.

“We stand by our forecast that total falls from peak will not exceed negative 30% in prime central London and negative 25% in the prime regions,” it added.

Meanwhile, rental values across prime central London have fallen a negative 11.7% from their peak.

The corporate lettings sector continues to be worst hit with a quarterly fall of negative 6.6% in rents in the core area of Knightsbridge, Chelsea, Mayfair and Belgravia. Average rents in this area are now down negative 15.6% from their peak, according to Savills Research.

By The EDGE Malaysia