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Monday, December 28, 2009

RM6m refurbishment, rebranding for Mint Hotel

Property tycoon Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, the owner of Mint Hotel, is now drafting a business plan to turn the hotel around

The three-star Mint Hotel along the Kuala Lumpur-Seremban highway will undergo a RM6 million refurbishment and rebranding programme and re-open by the first half of next year.

Property tycoon Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, the owner of Mint Hotel, said he is now drafting a business plan to turn the hotel around, which had ceased operations since February 2005.

This follows the conclusion of Lee's acquisition of Mint Hotel from Ambank (M) Bhd for RM45 million, which Lee said was not voluntary.

A sales and purchase agreement was signed with the liquidator, Ernst & Young, in June this year, via his privately-held firm Lambang Raya Sdn Bhd.
"The hotel is not worth that much now. I am a victim. If i don't buy it, the bank will sue me. I will end up in a legal suit. I am caught because of the undertaking I had with the bank a few years ago," Lee, who is also the founder and executive chairman of Country Heights Holdings Bhd, told Business Times.

Property valuers have estimated Mint Hotel to be worth some RM23 million.

Ambank declined to comment.

The issue started when Jennico Associates Sdn Bhd, which is 50 per cent owned by Lee through Lambang Raya, was liquidated by a creditor in January 2000.

At that point, Jennico had already defaulted on a term loan of RM47 million granted by AmFinance Bhd in 1995, under the stewardship of Datuk Major (R) Zulkifli Abdul Mokti and KifliMokti Sdn Bhd, who owns the balance 50 per cent of the company.

Mint Hotel was then auctioned by Ernst & Young in 2005 and this attracted many bidders, including Lee, Lotus Family Group and Majestic Hotel.

They were keen to buy the 413-room hotel as it overlooks the Selangor Turf Club race course and is close to the Mines Exhibition Centre, Mines Wonderland, the Mines shopping mall and a golf course.

Business Times reported in August 2006 that Lotus won the bid to buy the hotel.

But a tussle broke as Lee claimed he was the rightful owner of the property.

According to Lee, he had submitted a bid for RM55 million for the hotel in October 2005 after being advised by AmBank, and a 5 per cent, or RM2.75 million, deposit was made to Ernst & Young.

Lee said his bid was based on a letter of undertaking he signed with Ambank in October 1995 stating that he will buy the hotel for RM55 million in the event of default of a loan taken by Jennico.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

Mega success in property deals

SEVERAL years ago, real estate agents and practitioners attended the Malaysian Annual Real Estate Convention primarily to fulfil their statutory obligation in obtaining 10 Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points - required by the Board of Valuers, Appraisers & Estate Agents - to renew their certificate of practice annually.

In the last few years, this has changed somewhat. The quality of such conventions, now known by its catchy acronym MAREC, has improved. Practitioners now no longer look at the convention simply as an avenue for them to obtain their necessary points. Instead, MAREC has now built a reputation as a platform for estate agents to learn, expand their mind as well as meet and network among their peers, all in an environment of friendship and comradeship.

Recently, MAREC which is organised by the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) has taken another turn for the better, with more focus on training programmes for negotiators. MIEA recognises the importance of negotiators in an estate agency and the need for them to be continuously trained.

As such, MAREC 08 and MAREC 09 were remodelled to encompass entire sessions centred on negotiators. Parallel training sessions were organised for negotiators and have proven popular with negotiators, with larger numbers of them attending each year.

MAREC 10 is no different. An entire day has been set aside for negotiators. Topics have been chosen with great care, to ensure that they meet with the highest standards possible. MIEA has sought views and opinions from negotiators themselves to help formulate relevant topics and points of discussion.

Big deal
Among the topics at MAREC 10 include, “Road map to greater success in the profession.” This topic will guide negotiators through their journey to become registered estate agents. It will deal with professional examinations, required working experience, keeping of a work diary, preparing project papers and finally, attending and successfully passing the oral interview.

On hand to guide negotiators will be Kelvin Yip, who has over 20 years of experience in the real estate industry. Kelvin was in the Council of Management of MIEs for many years, having served in various capacities, including that of treasurer. He also served as a member of the Board of Valuers, Appraisers & Estate Agents and was the examiner for estate agents while in the board. Kelvin currently runs his own estate agency, Property Mall.

Meanwhile, estate agents can also look forward to topics like “Big deals count.” Every estate agent knows the never-ending battle within themselves, “Do I do many small deals in a year or do I focus on one or two big deals?” While there isn’t a correct answer to this question, it is common knowledge that some semblance of balance must be achieved to gain financial success. This session will deal primarily with handling big deals and how they will affect the estate agency. It will attempt to show practitioners that while doing the small “bread & butter” deals are important, true “mega success” can only come if big deals are concluded.

The presenter of this topic is Previndran Singhe, chief executive officer of Zerin Properties. Previndran graduated with a Bachelor of Surveying specialising in property management and valuation from UTM. He has worked in the hospitality industry in various capacities from operations analyst to chief officer marketing. He has more than 15 years experience in the property industry and was the winner of the “Real Estate Agent of The Year” award from MIEA this year.

“Size does not matter” is another topic that would appeal to participants. For a long time, the image of financial success has been equated to size. To a large extent, it has been proven true, as businesses continue to focus on expanding and growing bigger. But what about the practitioner who does not want to grow large, but yet seeks to do meaningful deals and get rich in the process? This session will attempt to dispel the myth that only large firms get all the big deals. It will give you pointers and help you create winning strategies, while remaining a small boutique agency.

Award-winning agency owner Govin Balaguru will talk about the pros and cons of big and small agencies. Govin started his career in engineering and ventured into real estate in 1982, setting up his own agency GDS Properties in 1992. His company was awarded “Commercial Agency of The Year” by MIEA this year.

MAREC 10 is scheduled for Jan 23-24 at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur. On Jan 22, there will be a welcome dinner for delegates, VIPs and speakers. Participants will be able to network with fellow practitioners as well as with the speakers attending the dinner.

From now till Dec 31, early bird discounts are offered to members, non-members and negotiators. The convention is also open to the public at RM800 per participant.

- For details, contact MIEA. Tel: 03-79602577 / Fax: 03- 79603757 / E-mail: secretariat@ / Website: www.miea.

By The Star

YNH may revise tower project

PROPERTY developer YNH Holdings Bhd may revise the proposal to build a 45-storey Grade A office building in Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, after Kuwait Finance House (M) Bhd (KFHMB) aborted plans to buy part of the property.

The proposed YNH Tower was to have featured two wings on a luxury three-level retail podium. The development would take up 1.2ha next to the Shangri-La Hotel.

Changes to the original plan may be made after KFHMB decided against buying one of the wings for RM926 million.

YNH's head of corporate services, Daniel Chan, said it has received more than five offers from investors in Malaysia, Europe, Singapore and Hong Kong since the KFHMB deal was aborted. They include property and pension funds, private equity and real estate investment trusts, which want to buy the whole block.

"If they offer us a good price, we will sell them the whole block. Otherwise, we are in no hurry to sell. We aim to sell the first wing for more than RM926 million, and the second wing for around RM1.2 billion," Chan told Business Times.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

Dubai Properties axes top executives

DUBAI: Dubai Properties Group, owned by the ruler of Dubai’s holding company, replaced several executives including its chief financial officer yesterday and pledged better corporate governance to improve operations.

Changes at the property firm – a unit of Dubai Holding, the private company of Dubai’s ruler – included new chiefs of financial affairs, marketing, legal affairs, operations and property development, it said in a statement.

A planned merger between three of Dubai Holding’s property firms – Dubai Properties, Sama Dubai and Tatweer – and Emaar Properties was called off on Dec 9, adding to uncertainty about the debts of Dubai state-linked firms.

Flagship conglomerate Dubai World, faced with a US$26bil debt pile, rocked global markets on Nov 25 after it indicated a need to restructure.

Dubai Holding has about US$1.9bil of debt maturing in the first half of next year.

Dubai Properties said yesterday it would set an advanced corporate government framework “to ensure efficiency”.

By Reuters

KFH, not KFHMB, pulled out of Icon deal

KUWAIT Finance House (Malaysia) Bhd (KFHMB) has clarified that it is not a party to an aborted deal to buy a building in Kuala Lumpur.

Rather, it was Prompt Symphony Sdn Bhd (PSSB), a special purpose vehicle created by Kuwait Finance House KSC and a subsidiary of Autron Corp Ltd, that pulled out of a deal to buy The Icon building from Mah Sing Group Bhd for RM237 million.

KFH is the parent company of KFHMB. KFH would take up 80 per cent of PSSB while Autron would subscribe for the rest of the shares, according to Mah Sing's initial announcement on the deal in 2007.

"As far as KFHMB is concerned, it maintains a positive outlook in conducting business in the country and continues to seek potential investment opportunities," KFHMB said in a statement released last week.

By Business Times

KFHMB refutes new report’s allegations

KUALA LUMPUR: Kuwait Finance House (M) Bhd (KFHMB) has refuted an article titled Kuwait Finance House aborts deal to buy The Icon published in a local newspaper (not The Star) on Dec 25 and a related announcement made by Mah Sing Group Bhd on Dec 24.

In a statement, KFHMB clarified that it was not a contractual party to the sale and purchase transaction of the East Wing of the Icon property. The Icon is an upscale commercial development slated to become a 20-storey Grade A office building in Jalan Tun Razak.

Kuwait Finance said it maintained a positive outlook in conducting business in the country and continued to seek potential investment opportunities in line with the Government’s objective of making Malaysia an international Islamic financial Centre.

By Bernama

BSLI to buy land, factory for RM4.8mil

PETALING JAYA: BSL Corp Bhd’s wholly-owned unit Ban Seng Lee Industries (BSLI) has signed an agreement to sell a piece of freehold land in Gombak measuring 31,501 sq ft and a single-storey detached factory on it to MyDecor Marketing Sdn Bhd for RM4.8mil.

The gross proceeds would be used to repay bank borrowings (RM3mil), for working capital (RM1.7mil) and disbursements (RM100,000), BSL said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia.

BSLI’s operation will be transfered to a newly acquired freehold industrial land in Rawang.

By The Star

Crest Builder awarded RM175.5m contract

CREST Builder Holdings Bhd has been awarded a RM175.50 million contract by Exceljade Sdn Bhd, for the superstructure works on two towers of a 40-storey serviced apartment in Kuala Lumpur.

The contract was awarded to its a wholly-owned subsidiary, Crest Builder Sdn Bhd, the company informed Bursa Malaysia today.

The contract period is 24 months from the date of site possession which has been set out for Jan 2, 2010. The contract is expected to be completed by Jan 1, 2012.

Crest Builder said the contract will not have any effect on its issued and paid-up share capital or the substantial shareholder's shareholdings.
The contract, however, is expected to contribute positively to the earnings of the group for the financial years ending Dec 31, 2010 and onwards.

By Bernama