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Saturday, June 11, 2011

GAAM: Japanese interested in Iskandar property

JOHOR BARU: Global Asia Assets (M) Sdn Bhd (GAAM) sees Iskandar Malaysia as offering good prospects to Japanese looking to invest in property development projects outside their home country.

Chief executive officer Fujimura Masanori said the company planned to bring more Japanese investors to invest in the Iskandar Malaysia property market.

He said Johor Baru or Iskandar Malaysia still had ample land for future developments with the prices of properties here still cheaper compared with Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

Fujimura said since setting up its office here last September, about 300 of its Japanese clients had visited Johor Baru and many had shown strong interest to invest in the property market in Iskandar Malaysia.

“They are attracted to Johor Baru's close proximity to Singapore which is a popular destination among Japanese and also the long term prospects of Iskandar Malaysia,'' he told StarBizWeek.

Fujimura said this after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with United Malaysian Land Bhd's subsidiary Seri Alam Properties Sdn Bhd at the Wealth of Iskandar Malaysia Conference recently.

Seri Alam Properties will develop 110 units of bungalows on an 8.09ha site overlooking a lake in Bandar Seri Alam township in Pasir Gudang with a gross development value between RM200mil and RM400mil.

The project is known as Japanese Holiday Homes with each bungalow having a built-up area of 2,200 sq ft and a land size of 4,500 sq ft with its own swimming pool and a club house.

GAAM is a subsidiary of Global Asset Asia Investment Ltd (GAAI), a holding company incorporated in Hong Kong whose clients are mostly high net worth Japanese investors.

“It (the group) has 10,000 cash-rich Japanese clients who are serious investors and always on the look-out to enhance their investment portfolios,'' said Fujimura.

GAAM general manager Takahiro Sakanoue said this was the company's second purchase in the Johor Baru market after the acquisition of two high end luxury condominium blocks of Molek Pine 3, in Taman Molek for RM200mil early this year.

The 28-storey tower block consisting of 212 units and a six-storey block with 36 units, are being developed by Tanjung Bintang Sdn Bhd, which comes under Berinda Group, a property development arm of Kuok Group.

On the bungalows at Seri Alam township, he said it was impossible to get a bungalow of similar size in Tokyo as the city was already densely populated.

Takahiro said a similar bungalow located in the suburbs of Tokyo, about 30 minutes by train to the city centre and minus the lake view, cost a whopping RM37mil each, and a that bungalow in an area about one hour's train ride from the city would sell about RM19mil.

“Our clients love properties in Johor Baru as they are considered bargains for them,'' he said.

Takahiro said Johor Baru was well known to the Japanese after the country's soccer team qualified for the World Cup after beating Iran at Larkin Stadium here in 1997. He said Iskandar Malaysia would also be a good location for Japanese manufacturers planning to relocate their operations elsewhere in view of the natural disasters in Japan, such as earthquakes.

Takahiro said the company would be looking at several options when investing in property projects in Iskandar Malaysia, including having joint-ventures with local partners, buying the properties en bloc or acquiring certain equities in companies. Other than Malaysia, GAAI has similar investments in Canada, China, Cambodia, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Thailand, USA and the Philippines.

By The Star

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