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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sime Darby Prop awaits approvals for Selangor Vision City

SHAH ALAM: Sime Darby Property Bhd is awaiting the approval from the state and federal governments on its plans for its proposed 10,861-acre (4,395ha) Selangor Vision City (SVC) development, said its managing director Tunku Datuk Putra Badlishah Tunku Annuar.

Speaking to reporters after a presentation of the SVC development to Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim here today, Tunku Badlishah said the proposal had taken a while as it was a massive project.

According to Sime Darby Property, 3,450 acres of SVC's 10,861 acres have already been developed.

The SVC is located along the Guthrie Corridor Expressway (GCE) from Lagong to Bukit Jelutong where 11,000 acres of the proposed 45,175 acre stretch belong to Sime Darby. It would also incorporate existing townships such as Subang Jaya and Bukit Jelutong.

At a separate event in i-City later, Khalid said he hoped to announce the status of the application by Sime Darby Property next month through the regular approval process.

The idea for the SVC was first mooted in 2007, while a masterplan, the Sime Darby Vision Valley (SDVV), was unveiled in 2009. The SDVV, comprising the SVC and the Negri Sembilan Vision City, is expected to generate a gross development value (GDV) of up to RM30 billion and span over two decades.

It has been reported that the entire SVC project will have an estimated GDV of RM10 billion and is envisioned to be the backbone of the northern Shah Alam and southern Selayang areas.

"Instead of doing this project piecemeal, we are trying to get the entire approval under a special area plan, which also involves getting approval at the federal level," said Tunku Badlishah. "There will be a meeting with the (federal planning) authorities on March 17, and once they are okay with this, we can move ahead with details."

He said Sime Darby Property was "always open" to joint-ventures with other developers, although it was not talking to any party now.

"The project is still in the concept stage and there has been no approval given yet, so we cannot move ahead until we get this," he said.

He said the two main priority areas of the SVC are the Bukit Jelutong City Centre and an environmentally-friendly township named Elmina East, which has an estimated GDV of RM6 billion.

By The EDGE Malaysia (by Melody Song & Max Koh)

Takaful Ikhlas to build up property role

Takaful Ikhlas Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MNRB Holdings Bhd, wants property to account for at least a fifth of its investment portfolio for the year ending March 31 2011.

The takaful operator recently made its maiden property investment when it paid RM87 million for its new corporate office, IKHLAS Point, in the fast-developing commercial area of Bangsar South, Kuala Lumpur.

Its president and chief executive officer, Datuk Syed Moheeb Syed Kamarulzaman, hopes the investment will be the beginning of its plans to broaden income through properties.

The investment portfolios of takaful operators are similar to their conventional counterparts' and include equity, cash and bonds.

"We are keen to buy rentable office premises that offer long-term sustainable revenue. However, we are cautious in our investment policy, which trends towards capital preservation," Syed Moheeb told reporters after a media tour of IKHLAS Point.

The company bought the building, which include two office blocks, using funds from contributions paid by policyholders, which number about 1.3 million currently.

"We are, in fact, renting the building from our policyholders. But, more importantly, the investment will ensure rental income for our policyholders," Syed Moheeb said.

"This is a really good investment for us because the yield is higher. We bought this building at a very low price during the recession," he said, adding that the property had already appreciated by more than 26 per cent in just one year.

The purchase was done through the company's Family Fund, which was given the approval by the operator's investment committee in July 2008.

Takaful Ikhlas' total assets currently stand at more than RM1.2 billion, out of which 60 per cent comes under its Family Fund and the balance under its Shareholder Fund and General Risk Fund.

Depending on the size of the investment, future property investments could be a mix of the funds available.

The company is also looking to house its existing 10 branches in its own buildings in future.

All the branches occupy rented premises at present.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin officially launched IKHLAS Point yesterday.

Takaful Ikhlas also spent another RM10 million to renovate the property, which has a build-up of 99,286 sq ft.

The company occupies all 10 floors in Tower 11A as well as another three floors in Tower 11, which also has 10 floors. The other seven floors are rented out.

By Business Times (by Rupinder Singh)

YTL on the prowl for hotels in Asia, Europe

YTL Corp Bhd, a diversified group with interests in property and power generation, is on the lookout for hotels and resorts in Asia-Pacific and Europe to grow its hospitality business.

The company, which is sitting on a huge cash reserve of more than RM10 billion, wants to buy completed properties, or build new ones, and manage more assets, the resort manager for Pangkor Laut Resort, Jeffrey Mong, said.

YTL, through leisure arm YTL Hotels, owns and manages hotels and resorts in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the UK.

By July, YTL will open a boutique hotel in France, called Muse, a new brand on an existing hotel in St Tropez which YTL bought in 2007.
"We are converting the hotel from 35 rooms to 15 suites, with plunge pools and a spa, introducing our Spa Village brand," Mong said in an interview with Business Times in Kuala Lumpur.

YTL's wholly-owned properties include the Cameron Highlands Resort; JW Marriot Hotel Kuala Lumpur; Spa Village Resort Tembok Bali in Bali, Indonesia; Villa Tassana and Villa 13 in Phuket, Thailand; and Bray House, Berkshire, in the UK.

It has stakes in the Majestic Hotel in Malacca and Kuala Lumpur, The Chedi in Phuket, Tanjong Jara Resort in Terengganu, and Vistana Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Kuantan.

All the properties are managed by YTL Hotels, including Pangkor Laut Resort and The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur, which are majority owned by the Yeoh family.

Its latest management contract is for the Swatch Art Peace Hotel, a seven-suite retail-cum-hotel project in Shanghai, China, which will open in August.

YTL will also manage the Pangkor Laut Luxury Resort, Residence & Spa Village, a multi-module development on The World in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, from 2012.

On the home front, YTL will set up two resorts in Sabah at a cost of some RM200 million by the middle of next year.

YTL executive director Datuk Mark Yeoh Seok Kah had earlier told Business Times that it would open a resort on Pulau Gaya, the largest island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park and the closest to downtown Kota Kinabalu, and on Pulau Tiga, off the western coast.

The two yet-to-be-named luxury resorts would have 132 and 75 luxury villas respectively.

"We will target travellers from Asia-Pacific and Europe. The islands have good diving spots. So we are confident of long-haul travellers," Mong said.

By Business Times

Australian property prices spiral upwards

SYDNEY: Australian real estate prices are rising strongly and show no signs of abating, analysts said yesterday, after weekly sales in one state hit a record A$1.025 billion (A$1 = RM3.04).

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria said last week saw "the largest dollar volume of transactions ever recorded" amid growing confidence in the economy as people took advantage of low interest rates.

"We've seen more physical sales in a week period, but never have they passed the billion dollar mark," research manager Robert Larocca told AFP.

"So that's partly a sign of how strong the market is and it's also a sign that people are spending more than they have in the past."
Larocca said the surge in sales was the result of historically low interest rates following the global financial crisis and the growing population in Melbourne, Australia's second largest city, outstripping available housing.

"People are confident, they are confident because the economy is going much better than they expected it to," he added.

David Airey, president of the Real Estate Institute of Australia, said Melbourne was one of the country's strongest markets but noted that Australian property prices were strong and rising.