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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Genting's Sentosa casino gears for opening

By early 2010, a good 60-70 per cent of the new casino resort in Singapore will be opened to receive guests

Genting Bhd's new casino resort in Singapore will start receiving guests in two-thirds of the facilities by early next year, including Southeast Asia's first Universal Studio theme park and the casino.

It is aiming for 60 per cent overseas visitors, most of whom will come from Malaysia. Other key target markets are China, India, Indonesia and Thailand.

An estimated 12 million to 13 million visitors are expected to arrive in the first year at the resort on Sentosa Island, a stone's throw from the harbourfront Vivocity shopping mall.

"By early 2010, a good 60-70 per cent will be opened. We are talking about the Universal Studio, four hotels, part of Festive Walk, which is a dining and shopping area, and the casino," Robin Goh, assistant communications director of Resorts World at Sentosa Pte Ltd, told Business Times in an interview in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
"We would love to (open by Chinese New Year), but we don't have the date yet," he said.

The rest of the project, including the Oceanarium and two more hotels, will be ready in the following months.

The company is ramping up publicity and marketing efforts to prepare for ticket sales which will start towards the year-end. As a prelude to the opening, a charity concert will be staged within the resort in December, Goh said.

Both the integrated resorts in Singapore are expected to open in the first three months of next year.

Analysts are speculating that Resorts World, which started construction later, may be the first to open after Marina Bay Sands encountered some delays.

Marina Bay Sands will probably open in either January or February, its executive director of sales Paul Stocker told Business Times separately.

Analysts believe that the two resorts will strive to start operations before Chinese New Year, which falls on Valentine's Day next year, to capture the peak period for the casino.

Goh said that Resorts World had yet to decide the ticket price for the theme park or the hotel room rates, but was "mindful" of its pricing strategy to attract the crucial Malaysian crowd.

It will probably bundle hotel stays with entrance fees, apart from the day ticket, two-day pass and annual pass.

"What is important is that Malaysian families must be able to see value for money in our theme park.

"The proposition is that this will be the nearest Universal Studio among the four parks in the world, and it is a world-class facility and not a watered-down version."

There will be 24 rides in Singapore's Universal Studio compared with around 21 for the other destinations in Osaka, Japan, and Orlando and Los Angeles in the US.

Eighteen of the rides are built exclusively for the park in Singapore, Goh said.

Among the highlights, a new Transformers ride will debut in Singapore, replacing the popular Spiderman three-dimension thrill ride which is already in all the three existing parks.

By Business Times (by Chong Pooi Koon)

LBS banks on new launches

Datuk Lim Hock San in front of a show unit of Topaz II

KUALA LANGAT: LBS Bina Group Bhd is optimistic of achieving its property sales target of RM250mil this year, driven by overwhelming buyer response for its new launches.

Managing director Datuk Lim Hock San said the company’s recent launches such as Iris Garden and Ruby Garden in Bandar Saujana Putra saw the units offered snapped up within two months.

“Topaz II, the latest property offered in Bandar Saujana Putra, was also 20% taken up when we did the soft launch last weekend.

“With current sales at RM135mil, we believe we can achieve our target this year,” he said yesterday at the official launch of 67-unit Topaz II in Bandar Saujana Putra.

Lim said the company would continue to build affordable homes priced from RM150,000 to RM180,000 in Bandar Saujana Putra as it believed there was still strong demand from this market.

“However, demand remains selective, so a development’s strong take-up rate is largely dependent on location, price and quality of the project,” he said.

Topaz II comprises double-storey link-houses priced from RM179,000 to RM244,300.

Lim said LBS would this year launch more properties in Bandar Saujana Putra apart from other new developments in Taman Tasik Puchong, Batu Pahat and Cameron Highlands.

“The new properties we will launch later this year include Topaz II phase two, consisting of 156 double-storey link-houses with a gross development value (GDV) of RM31.3mil, and 218 semi-detached single-storey homes in Batu Pahat priced at RM188,000 with GDV of RM40mil,” he said.

He believed the property market would pick up by year-end, boosted by the stimulus packages and the support from banks that currently offered low interest rates.

LBS is extending its “LBS Hassle-Free Home Ownership Programme” where buyers only need to pay as low as RM1,000 upon signing the sales and purchase agreement. It is also giving free furniture to purchasers of Topaz II.

To date, LBS has completed 4,800 residential and commercial units at Bandar Saujana Putra, located along the Elite Highway, with total GDV of about RM500mil.

By The Star

Resort city to drive tourism in Kuantan

KUANTAN: Bukit Gambang Resort City, a RM1bil project undertaken by Sentoria Development Sdn Bhd, is expected to spearhead the growth of the tourism industry in Kuantan town when completed in 10 years.

Datuk Gan Kim Leong (left) at the launch. Also present is Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob (right)

Sentoria executive director Datuk Gan Kim Leong said the first phase, costing some RM140mil, had been completed.

Gan said RM100mil was spent to construct the Carribean Bay suites consisting of 578 studio, deluxe and family suites complete with a clubhouse, gymnasium, jacuzzi, infinity pool, steam room and meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition facilities.

“The water park cost RM40mil and is divided into four main components – Coco Beach, Penguin Island, Tree Top Hill Slides and Garden Terrace.

“Our target is (to attract) 500,000 local and foreign visitors in the first year of operations,” he said after the official opening of the water park by Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob last Tuesday.

Gan added that safety and security features were among the group’s main priorities and the water park and hotel had created 300 job opportunities for the locals.

“I believe the idea of a water park in the east coast is workable as people still need some form of entertainment despite the trying times.

“Our concept is nature-friendly and leans towards family-oriented activities,” he said.

He said the first phase included an active academy centre which would provide team-building facilities such as a 18-part obstacle course and high rope challenges, mini zoo, paintball and jungle trekking activities.

“At least, half the components in the water park were made locally while the remaining 50% were imported from the West.

“Among the suppliers for fibreglass structures and water pumps were renowned firms from Canada, Scotland and Australia, which conform to international standards,” he said.

Gan said the second and third phases would comprise the adventure park, forest park, east coast bazaar, global heritage and heritage square.

“In the later stages, the public can look forward to themed accommodation namely Andaman Bay, Arabian Bay, Mediterranean Beach and Hawaiian Beach,” he said, adding that the integrated city would be the “gateway to Kuantan and east coast states.”

Gan said despite the global economic slowdown, Sentoria was not hard hit as its other properties such as housing and mixed-development projects were still doing well.

He said early this year, it had completed and launched its 108-room budget hotel in Taman Indera Sempurna, which was opened to the public in March.

By The Star (by Simon Khoo)

Mah Sing receives CNBC 5-star achievement award

Mah Sing Group Bhd became the only Malaysian property developer to receive a five-star award in the commercial category from CNBC Asia-Pacific Property Awards 2009.

This is the highest level of achievement awarded by CNBC Asia-Pacific Property Awards 2009 to the property industry in Asia.

Its Southgate commercial development in Kuala Lumpur was awarded five stars for Best Development in Malaysia. It comprises five blocks of retail units and offices surrounding a covered boulevard.

Its 315-acre township project called Aman Perdana in Meru-Shah Alam, Selangor, was also awarded four stars for Best Mixed Use Development in Malaysia. The project involves over 2,000 units of semi-detached homes, bungalows and community shops.

By Business Times

HK's property market sees good sales, low rental values

KUALA LUMPUR: The Hong Kong property market is being pulled into two directions. On one hand, sales are rising but leases are on a downward trend. According to Colliers International Hong Kong 2Q 2009 property report, the general market mood is still conservative but investors are snapping up properties to ensure they are in good position to reap the benefits when the global economy recovers.


Due to ample liquidity and with near zero interest rates, real estate purchasers, including a number of local private investors, have entered the market in anticipation of a global economic recovery in 4Q2009 to achieve capital gains, said the report.

As a result, prices increased in 2Q. For example, the average asking price for strata-titled office buildings in Admiralty rose to between HK$10,000 to HK$13,000 psf compared with between HK$8,000 to HK$9,000 psf in the previous quarter.

Rental, on the other hand, have gone down, with tenants preferring to play it safe with downgrades to less expensive offices or second-tier buildings. The vacancy rate across the various business districts increased 0.43% from 7.43% in February to 7.89% in 2Q2009.

Overall, Colliers predicted that Grade A office rentals will see a further slide of 15% over the next 12 months unless there is a change in the economic climate.


The luxury residential sector also saw an increase in sales in 2Q09 thanks to the low mortgage rates of as low as 1% per annum based on certain conditions making investment buying attractive. The number of sales in the three traditional luxury residential districts of The Peak, Mid-levels and South Side all saw a leap of more then 100%.

On the leasing front, however, the market is weak, no thanks to the low occupational demand for luxury units by multinational companies' employees. A number of tenants have opted for cheaper areas due to tightening purse strings.

Colliers said luxury residential capital values should rise by 5% over the next 12 months, although rentals are likely to edge down 3% during the same period.


Transactions in the industrial sector rose 129% quarter-on-quarter from 393 in March 2009, the lowest level since 1999, to 900 in May 2009. The most active areas were industrial districts of Kwai Chung/Tsuen Wan and Kowloon East.

There was a rather subdued feeling in terms of leasing due to the global recession. Although individual warehouses are taking advantage of the market downturn to upgrade their premises to be in prime position when the economy recovers, tenants remain cautious when it comes to rental expenses. As a result, industrial rentals are expected to fall by 5% to 15% over the next 12 months.


The drop in tourist numbers, the A(HINI) flu pandemic situation and the global slowdown has resulted in a downward trend in rents of retail property. The average retail rent in the four traditional shopping districts of Central Causeway Bay, Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui showed a decrease of 4.7% quarter-on-quarter in 2Q2009, compared to the fall of 3.1% quarter-on-quarter in Q12009.

Nonetheless, Colliers predicted that rentals will decline further by another 12% over the next 12 months.

However, investment buying has grown thanks to increased capital inflow and more relaxed lending policies by local banks. The number of major transactions with lump sum considerations of HK$10 million or above increased by 70% quarter-on-quarter.

By The EDGE Malaysia (by Wong King Wai)

Mudajaya wins RM75mil job

PETALING JAYA: Mudajaya Group Bhd’s wholly-owned unit Mudajaya Corp Bhd has been awarded a contract for the construction of a hospital in Pahang for RM75.39mil.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, Mudajaya said the contract was awarded by Mudajaya-Takdzim Joint Venture, which was awarded the project by Takdzim PMC Sdn Bhd.

“The project is expected to contribute positively to the future earnings and net assets of the company,” it said.

The project is expected to be completed by Jan 31, 2012.

By The Star