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Saturday, June 12, 2010

SDB eyes Singapore’s premium property market

View of the living room at Gilstead Two.

SELANGOR Dredging Bhd’s (SDB) property arm, SDB Properties Sdn Bhd is riding high in Singapore, eyeing the premium property market there.

After the launch of its first residential project in 2007 called Jia, a 22-unit seven-storey apartment block, SDB is moving forward with its second property development, Gilstead Two at Gilstead Road near Newton MRT station.

The project, with a gross development value (GDV) of S$200mil (RM470.95mil), comprises 110 units in a 34-storey tower.

Unlike Jia, which offers larger unit sizes (two and three-bedroom units of between 1,200 sq ft to 1,600 sq ft), Gilstead Two offers much smaller units (Type A is 904 sq ft while Type B is 775 sq ft).

It is believed that Gilstead Two has received positive response; 33 of the 40 units released for private viewing recently were snapped up at prices ranging from S$1,900 per sq ft to S$2,300 per sq ft. The project is expected to be completed by 2014.

SDB managing director Teh Lip Kim tells StarBizWeek that the property market in Singapore is buoyant, like other financial hubs throughout the globe.

“Property prices there went down in 2008 by as much as 30% in certain areas but has picked up again to pre-crisis levels since the start of the second quarter of 2010,” she says.

SDB also has a parcel of land in Singapore, located in Ballestier Road that it plans to develop and launch by the end of the financial year (March 31, 2011).

“We are currently coming up with the concept for this development,” she says. SDB has picked Singapore as a sweet spot for its developments due to several reasons.

“It is close by, so it’s easy to keep track on the progress of the developments. Singapore is the financial hub of this region and the market is open and competitive. It is relatively easy to do business there, approvals are easily obtained once all the conditions are met,” says Teh. In fact, she says submissions for approvals are made on-line and approvals are also obtained on-line, making it a very efficient process.

On the contribution of the group’s projects in Singapore to its earnings, Teh says it is not significant at the moment but should pick-up due to the Gilstead Two development.

The group also has several projects in the pipeline in Malaysia to be launched soon. This includes 20Trees West, a low density bungalow development in Melawati which comprises 48 units of three-storey bungalows with swimming pools. The size of the homes range from 6,200 sq ft upward.

Teh says SDB also has a new condominium project located in a quiet enclave along Jalan Ampang, close to the British High Commission.

The development is called Dedaun and it comprises 38 units of spacious homes in a 10-storey building. “These homes measure about 3,200 sq ft, and have been designed with the sublime feel of homes in the 1970s,” says Teh.

On the outlook of Malaysia’s property market this year, Teh says it has definitely improved.

“Our launch of the second phase of Five Stones (a high-end condominium in Petaling Jaya) was very well received. The GDV for Five Stones is RM420mil and we have achieved 97% of the GDV. So things are definitely moving in the right direction,” she says.

On the company’s market focus, Teh says all its developments have been high-end projects.

“This ties in with our development concepts which focus on smaller scale, more private developments. For the moment, we will continue to focus on this type of products,” she says.

“We would like to focus on developing here (Malaysia) and in Singapore for now. However, we will look into other countries if the opportunity arises and when the time is right,” says Teh.

SDB began way back in 1962 when it was incorporated as Selangor Dredging Ltd. In 1964, the company changed its name to Selangor Dredging Bhd upon listing on the main board of the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.

For over two decades, the company’s sole business was tin mining, operating two dredges in Dengkil.

In the early 1980s, SDB began to put in motion a plan for diversification. This led to the company’s involvement in various activities including hardware manufacturing and retail manufacturing of tyre rims for national car Proton and Perodua.

In 1985, Wisma Selangor Dredging, the company’s first property was completed and in 1997, SDB’s hotel property was completed. After a period of consolidation, which was completed in 2004, SDB is now fully a property company, principally involved in hotel, property management and leasing and property development.

By The Star

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