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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sime Darby Property seeks partners to develop landbank

SIME Darby Property Bhd (SDPB), the property arm of Sime Darby Bhd, will form joint ventures with both local and foreign property developers to help develop its 14,800ha of landbank in the country.

"One of the strategies we have adopted is to accelerate the development of our landbank through joint ventures. We are now talking to a few parties," SDPB managing director Datuk Tunku Badlishah Tunku Annuar told Business Times in an interview.

He declined to name the potential parties.

According to sources, SDPB has chosen Sunrise Bhd and IOI Properties Bhd as its joint venture partners to begin with.
Tunku Badlishah also said SDPB will launch RM2 billion worth of properties this year, amid prospects of an economic recovery gaining strength.

It will launch properties ranging from affordable to high-end homes and landed to high-rise within its 10 existing townships in the Klang Valley.

The townships include Subang Jaya, Bukit Jelutong, USJ Heights, Bandar Bukit Raja, Ara Damansara, Denai Alam, Melawati, Nilai Impian, Planters' Haven and Putra Heights.

Tunku Badlishah said SDPB is cautiously optimistic that the property market will do better this year as there is strong interest among buyers.

He cited the developer's recent sale of houses in Denai Alam and USJ Heights, where each home was priced between RM500,000 and RM1.5 million and were fully taken up.

Sime launched Mandara in USJ Heights over the weekend and sold 54 per cent of the 98 units of two-and-half-storey terraced houses available for sale.

Two weeks ago, it launched Clover Park in Denai Alam, comprising 81 units of double-storey link houses. It sold 75 per cent of the homes in just two days.

Last November, Kayangan Puteri in USJ Heights was launched. It consists of 125 units of double-storey superlink homes, of which 14 per cent of the units are remaining.

"I was pleasantly surprised by our sales achievement. The success of these launches is testimony to the recovery of the property market. In times of uncertainty, people would buy from a reputable developer and we have the edge over this," Tunku Badlishah said.

He added that SDPB's "Buy Now" promotion had also helped to bolster sales. It offers buyers a "Guaranteed Buy Back" scheme, coupled with innovative financing packages.

"We will launch a loyalty or premier club programme in March, which will further strengthen our position in the market place. Under this plan, the more properties one buys from us, the more benefits they stand to get.

"We are talking to all the divisions within the Sime Darby Group such as automotive to see what they can offer for our customers. We hope to put in place everything by March."

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

Sime Darby, Sunrise to develop RM1b project

SIME Darby Property Bhd and Sunrise Bhd will jointly develop three lots of freehold commercial land measuring 8.38 hectares in the Bukit Jelutong Township in Shah Alam.

The project, located opposite the Sime Darby Pavilion, has an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM1.0 billion.

Both companies formed a 50:50 joint venture (JV) company today to develop the project. The company will be known as, Sime Darby Sunrise Development Sdn Bhd.

Speaking to reporters after the JV signing ceremony today, Sime Darby Property Managing Director Datuk Tunku Putra Badlishah Tunku Annuar said the project, would have a gross built-up area of approximately 2.7 million square feet.
It will comprise retail outlets, shop-offices, office-suites and serviced apartments.

He said the project would be launched and developed in five phases from 2011 onwards and is expected to be completed in seven years.

According to Tunku Putra Badlishah, Sime Darby Property is looking to accelerate the development of its landbank through strategic partnerships, with like-minded property developers.

The company is also in talks at the moment with a few developers on strategic partnerships.

At present, Sime Darby Property's total landbank stands at 14,800 hectares.

By Bernama

Malaysian property market to improve further this year

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian property market, estimated to have registered transactions worth RM75.42 billion last year, is expected to improve further in 2010 in line with the economic recovery.

The transactions involved 337,990 properties as compared with the 340,240 valued at RM88.34 billion in 2008, said the director general of Valuation and Property Services Department, Finance Ministry, Datuk Abdullah Thalith Md Thani.

He said the challenging economic and financial environment had affected the overall performance of the Malaysian property market last year. "2010 will be a good year for all.

"The property market for this year will improve as the number of transactions involving new housing and construction activities, increases," Abdullah Thalith told reporters at the Third Malaysian Property Summit 2010, here Tuesday.

He pointed out that Malaysia is expected to steer towards a recovery path this year, driven primarily by domestic demand, with commodity prices for rubber, crude oil and palm oil also improving.

These, he said would increase the confidence level among consumers and provide a positive impact for the property sector.

"The demand for properties is returning," he added.

Abdullah Thalith said the government would continue to implement appropriate measures to restore confidence and market sentiment.

He said the liberalisation of Foreign Investment Committee (FIC) guidelines, would increase the competitiveness of Malaysia, as a preferred investment destination.

Furthermore, Abdullah Thalith said acquiring properties in Malaysia would be more attractive, as FIC approval is no longer required.

He said the review of the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) would also augur well for the property industry.

By Bernama

MK Land shares dip on news of internal dispute

PETALING JAYA: Shares in MK Land Holdings Bhd continued to fall yesterday, shedding another 0.5 sen to 38.5 sen on volume of 1.39 million shares, on news that three of its chief operating officers (COOs) would be leaving the company because of a management dispute.

Since hitting a six-month high of 45.5 sen on Jan 6, the stock has been facing selling pressure due to rumours of a management fallout.

The three COOs are R. Balasundram, Fatimah Wahab and Yusof Abu Othman, who together with Lau Shu Chuan, were appointed COOs in November 2008.

Sources close to MK Land said Fatimah tendered her resignation yesterday via email.

Fatimah is said to be unhappy as MK Land executive chairman Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal Abu Bakar had earlier promised to make her chief of MK Land.

However, when he recently appointed his eldest daughter executive director, Fatimah was said to be disheartened.

One source said that Balasundram was no longer going to office, while Yusuf would leave at the end of the month. MK Land officials declined comment on the issue.

On Saturday, it was reported that plans to rejuvenate MK Land Holdings Bhd had hit a snag as three of its four COOs, who were roped in to turn around the property development company, would be leaving.

To recap, Mustapha had returned to helm MK Land in June 2008, after earlier stepping down to focus on his private companies.

MK Land had posted losses in 2007 due to additional costs incurred to complete projects. He had great hopes of embarking on a turnaround plan in 2008 to be implemented in three phases.

Phase 1 involved strengthening the senior management team with the introduction of new COOs, adopting focus products to improve sales and the divestment of vacant plots of land to increase cash levels in the group.

This was when the four COOs were appointed. Since then, MK Land has been able to make profit and boost sales. It posted a net profit of RM18.3mil in 2008 versus a net loss of RM61mil in 2007.

For the first quarter ended Sept 30, 2009, revenue was up over 5% to RM80.81mil but net profit fell 75.5%to RM1.2mil.

Under the leadership of the four COOs, it was reported that MK Land was recording average sales of RM30mil per month, three times more than prior to their appointments.

The purported resignations of the COOs may put a stop to the second and third phases of MK Land’s turnaround plan.

Phase 2 is aimed at higher profitability with plans to move into a more high-end residential market in Damansara Perdana together with the development of purpose-built office buildings in Cyberjaya and Damansara Damai.

Phase 3 is where MK Land plans for longer term profitability and growth by exporting its expertise in quality affordable housing to other countries.

MK Land is the 16th biggest property developer in Malaysia with market a capitalisation of RM464mil.

By The Star

MK Land still focused on turnaround plan

MK Land Holdings Bhd said yesterday that its turnaround efforts were going smoothly as planned and that management remained solid.

It was responding to a report in this newspaper last Saturday, which had said that its turnaround plan might have hit a bump as several senior officials were leaving.

MK Land said it was "intensely moving ahead with its three-pronged approach", which entailed sales of properties, cost-control measures and a corporate exercise to strengthen its position.

The company said it had appointed Hong Leong Investment Bank Bhd to undertake the corporate exercise and was going ahead with the appointment of professionals to implement the plan.

It added that there was no dispute within the MK Land management and that Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal Abu Bakar was still leading its team of executives.

It pointed out that a succession plan was normal in every company and that the appointment of Felina Mustapha Kamal as executive director was approved by the board on August 1 last year as part of the company's succession plan.

By Business Times

MRCB set to buy strategic land

PETALING JAYA: The completion of Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd’s (MRCB) rights issue by the middle of next month will pave the way for the company to acquire some parcels of strategic land owned by the Federal Government in the Klang Valley, according to industry observers.

“It is a prelude to strategic land deals, which involve substantial amounts of money,” an analyst said. “And if the deals (go) through, it will be a boost to MRCB’s plan to be an integrated property developer.”

It is understood that MRCB’s management recently reiterated its intention to acquire several plots of such land in the Klang Valley, including a 60-ha parcel in Jalan Cochrane and 8-12ha at Ampang Hilir.

But analysts believe there are more to it than that, specifically highlighting the much sought-after 1,360-ha plot belonging to the Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia in Sungai Buloh as well as some pockets of land within the KL Sentral and Brickfields area.

At the company EGM last month, chief executive officer Mohamed Razeek Hussain said the company’s one-for-two rights issue at RM1.12 per share, was to raise funds for business expansion in line with the global economic recovery.

He said the bulk of the proceeds raised, which could total between RM508mil and RM541mil, would be used to increase its landbank, particularly in the Klang Valley, for commercial and residential developments.

Industry observers believe the award of the Federal land deals will only be finalised in June during the tabling of the 10th Malaysia Plan.

The Government is said to be very tight-lipped about the land deals, with MRCB quoted as saying that it was up to it to decide on which company to award those land deals to.

It is believed that several government-linked corporations have also been contending for those land deals.

Nevertheless, analysts believe MRCB stands a good chance of clinching most of the significant land deals that it has bid, simply because the company has strong backing from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), which is its largest shareholder with a 30.6% stake.

MRCB chief financial officer Chong Chin Ann confirmed last month that EPF had taken up its 130 million rights shares for more than RM150mil.

This has further reinforced market belief that MRCB remains the front-runner in the Federal land deals because industry observers believe those potential land deals are important to EPF, which is an active property player and financier.

“Another thing going for MRCB is that the (parcels of) land are somewhat viewed as the company’s territory,” an analyst said, particularly referring to the KL Sentral area, where MRCB is one of the major developers of the integrated township.

By The Star

Borneo Resources in RM40mil swiflet eco-park JV

KUCHING: Sarawak State Economic Development Corp (SSEDC) and Peninsular Malaysia-based Borneo Resources Synergy Sdn Bhd (BRS) have agreed to jointly develop a RM40mil swiftlet eco-park in Balingian, Mukah Division within the Sarawak Corridor for Renewable Energy.

BRS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of property development and investment firm Masmeyer Holdings Sdn Bhd, has a 80% stake in the joint venture. SSEDC holds the balance 20%.

Sited in a rural setting along the Mukah-Balingian coastal highway, the project will involve the development of 40 three-storey units and 15 three-storey bungalow units.

“The project is targeted to be completed not later than 2012. Ideally, it is to be ready this year,” BRS director Choo Beng Kai said after the joint venture agreement signing ceremony. Golden Swift Resources Sdn Bhd, a swiftlet farming expert, has been engaged to provide technical expertise to the project.

SSEDC was tasked by the state government to spearhead the development of swiftlet farming on a well-planned, sustainable and eco-friendly manner.

The state authorities recently took action against hundreds of unlicensed swiftlet operators who used shophouses in town for swiftlet farming. The proposed park will provide an alternative venue for swiftlet farmers asked by the state government to shift their operations to approved sites.

Newly appointed Sarawak Assistant Tourism Minister Datuk Talib Zulpilip, who witnessed the ceremony, said the development of the proposed park was to ensure an orderly development of the lucrative swiftlet farming industry.

Talib, who was former SSEDC chairman, said SSEDC planned to develop similar swiftlet eco-parks in other parts of the state.

“We (SSEDC) are looking to bring in more joint venture partners in similar projects.” He said SSEDC-BRS would process and market the bird’s nests the joint-venture company produced. A kg of unprocessed bird’s nest now fetches about RM4,250.

Talib said Sarawak was well-known for its high quality bird’s nest, adding that this was evident as the early traders from China had come to Sarawak to buy bird’s nests.

By The Star