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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hong Leong plans more Guoman Hotels in China

SHANGHAI: Hong Leong Group (HLG) hopes to open more of its signature Guoman Hotels in China after launching its flagship here.

Guocoland China group managing director Violet Lee said it was eyeing to have five Guoman Hotels in China in the next five years.

Guocoland is Hong Leong Group’s property development and investment arm in China.

“Our hope is to have five – in Shanghai, Beijing which is expected to be ready by next year, Nanjing, Tianjin and Chengdu.

“We are still on the lookout for opportunities to develop more Guoman Hotels in Beijing and Shanghai as the huge population in these two cities are capable of supporting more than one in each city,” she told reporters here on Sunday.

The launch of the first Guoman Hotel in China on Saturday was witnessed by the group’s executive chairman Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan. The 442-room hotel cost around USD80mil.

The renowned hotel brand from Britain already has four establishments in central London – the Royal Horseguards, the Cumberland, the Tower and Charing Cross.

Both the Guoman Hotels in Beijing and Shanghai are located within a mixed development measuring some 600,000 and 500,000 square metres respectively.

Besides the hotels, the development – termed Guoson Centre – also comprises shopping malls, a transportation hub, residences, office blocks and SOHO buildings.

The entire Guoson development in the northwestern Putuo district Shanghai cost some USD600mil.

Lee said the group was confident that Guoman Hotel would find its place among the crowded marketplace in both Beijing and Shanghai.

“The hotels there are located within or near transportation hubs,” she said, adding that Guoman hoped to capture the niche market for businessmen and diplomats who were frequent travellers.

She said the launch was also opportune in view of the city hosting the World Expo, which would run from May until end of September.

The expo was expected to bring in 70 million visitors to Shanghai, she said, adding that Guoman Hotel Shanghai projected a 70% occupancy rate during these period.

By The Star

Paramount unit buys land for mixed project

PARAMOUNT Corp Bhd’s subsidiary Omni Assets Sdn Bhd, is buying a 20ha plot of freehold land in Cyberjaya, Selangor, for RM78.4 million, from Cyberview Sdn Bhd.

Paramount group is proposing to undertake a mixed and exclusive mid-upper to high-class secured and guarded residential landed development and high-rise condominium on the land with a gross development value of about RM530 million.

The proposed development is expected to start in 2011, and span six to eight years.

By Business Times

Loh & Loh bids for jobs worth RM2b

Loh & Loh Corporation Bhd is bidding for a RM2 billion worth of construction projects, including water-related ones, in the country.

Its chief executive officer Jason Loh said the company has about RM1.5 billion worth of ongoing projects in the construction and property sectors.

"Currently, property comprises 20 to 25 per cent of our turnover. We are aiming for a higher contribution from the property division," he told reporters after the company''s annual general meeting.

By Business Times

Nod for Starhill REIT disposals

STARHILL Real Estate Investment Trust (Starhill REIT) unitholders yesterday gave the nod to dispose of Starhill Gallery and Lot 10 shopping centres in Kuala Lumpur for RM1.03 billion.

Pintar Projek Sdn Bhd, the manager of Starhill REIT, said the disposal of the two properties to Ara Bintang Sdn Bhd is part of a rationalisation exercise to reposition Starhill REIT as a hospitality REIT, the first of its kind in Malaysia.

The disposal will provide a platform to enable Starhill REIT to focus on a single and dedicated class of assets.

"We are happy that unitholders approved the sale. Now we can proceed with what we have intended to do," Pintar Projek chief executive officer Tan Sri Francis Yeoh said in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Starhill Gallery is being sold to Ara Bintang for RM629 million and Lot 10 at RM401 million.

The sales exercise, to be completed by the third quarter of 2010, will be satisfied by both RM625 million cash and Singapore dollar denominated convertible preference units in Starhill Global REIT worth RM405 million.

The disposal will unlock the value of Starhill Gallery and Lot 10 as Starhill REIT is expected to realise an estimated distributable income of RM204.18 million for the financial year ending June 30 2011.

By Business Times