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Friday, January 22, 2010

Naza lines up RM6.4b property projects

Naza Group, Malaysia’s biggest luxury vehicle importer, has lined up RM6.4 billion (US$1.9 billion) of property projects this year and is in talks for its first overseas real estate foray in China.

The company, which was picked by Peugeot Automobiles this month to lead its expansion in Southeast Asia, is counting on an economic recovery to draw local and foreign investors to its real estate projects as it aims to more than double its property unit’s revenue to RM2 billion in five years.

It has longer-term plans for a property trust and is lining up investors for a proposed a 100-floor tower in Kuala Lumpur.

“It’s going to be a better year,” said Naza’s 27-year-old joint chief executive officer S.M. Nasarudin S.M. Nasimuddin who has been helping run the unlisted company for the past two years after his father passed away. “I expect the property market to pick up,” he said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur.

Nasarudin and his brothers Faisal and Faliq, are sons of the late Nasimuddin Amin, the group’s founder. Nasimuddin began selling luxury cars in Malaysia when he was 21 and built Naza into one of the nation’s biggest auto groups after securing the rights to assemble Kia Motors Corp. vehicles in Malaysia. He died of cancer in May 2008 at 53.

Naza, which Nasimuddin founded in 1974, expanded into transport, property, hotel and the food and beverage industry. Its real estate business today accounts for 30 per cent of group sales, its second-biggest contributor.

Generation to Generation

“The benchmark for the family is that we want to be like the Tata Group, the Jardine Group, that will last generation after generation,” Nasarudin said. “We’re only on the second generation and there’s still a long way to go, but those are our targets to grow as a conglomerate.”

Among its seven projects planned for this year is the RM4 billion Platinum Park project at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre, comprising three office towers, three residential towers and a hotel.

Naza, which sells Ferrari and Maserati cars and Ducati motorbikes, is also lining up foreign investors for Kuala Lumpur’s biggest property project, Nasarudin said. It won land rights in November from the government to construct an exhibition center, on top of which it may build a 100-floor tower as part of a 15 billion ringgit, 15-year project. That’s potentially higher than Kuala Lumpur’s 88-floor Petronas Twin Towers, previously the world’s tallest building before being surpassed by Taipei 101.

Top Three

“The idea is that we would like to attract foreign investors to come in,” Nasarudin said. “It brings significant value to the development overseas.” The master-plan for the project will be ready next month, he said.

A REIT is also “something we will look at eventually, after five years,” Nasarudin said. That’s when Naza TTDI Sdn HBd, its property unit, may rank among the top three developers in Malaysia, he said. “If we do a REIT, we’ll look at a few of the assets that are owned by the company.”

Naza is seeking property deals in China, Singapore and the US to rely less on its home market, Nasarudin said. It may conclude an agreement for a residential and commercial deal in China this year, he said, without giving details.

The company expects its property unit to contribute about 40 per cent of sales in five years time, up from the current 30 per cent, said Nasarudin. Naza’s automotive business will remain the dominant income earner, Nasarudin said, adding he expects to sell 22,000 Kia cars in Malaysia this year, up 87 per cent from 2009, he said.

By Bloomberg

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