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Monday, June 6, 2011

See Hoy Chan looks beyond Malaysia's shores

PETALING JAYA: See Hoy Chan Holdings, the developer of Bandar Utama township, is planning to venture abroad to widen its revenue base.

Director Datuk Teo Chiang Kok said going abroad is a natural progression for the group, especially since conditions for developers in Malaysia are getting tougher.

Teo, in a recent interview with Business Times said countries under its radar include Indonesia, Vietnam, India and secondary cities in China.

"It could be an entire township or just an office building ... we are still exploring. It is a natural progression to look beyond our borders," Teo said.

According to him, the property development environment in Malaysia makes it difficult to obtain sizeable landbank.

Its Bandar Utama land, for example, covers 405ha.

Teo added that the requirement for allocating low cost housing, cross subsidies for utility companies, Bumiputera quotas and discounts add to the cost of housing and reduces yield.

"We will go where opportunities are better and where things can be developed more efficiently. In India and China, return on investment is faster and better," he said.

SHC is also interested in participating in the 1Malaysia Mall projects proposed under the Economic Transformation Plan, that aims to take Malaysian retailers and mall operators abroad.

Besides houses, the Bandar Utama development also houses commercial properties, which includes the 1Utama Shopping Centre, Plaza IBM, KPMG Tower, the five-star One World Hotel and the 1 First Avenue office.

The next development on the cards is for a four-star 450-room hotel and a convention centre with some 18,000 sq m space.

"We will submit the proposal for approval by year-end and it should be ready within three years," Teo said.

The convention centre will be built in such a way that it will be connected to the new hotel as well as to two more office towers, each 30-storey high.

Beyond that, the plan for Bandar Utama includes the establishment of a hospital for which a 3ha site has been set aside. And next to the hospital are plans for the setting up of a retirement village.

Meanwhile, Teo, who had previously not been keen on floating its shares on the stock exchange, is now open to the possibility of listing a real estate investment trust (REIT).

"We have been approached to look at REITS. (The setting up of) REIT looks interesting, but in terms of timing, we are not there yet ... we need our commercial properties to mature a little more and reach critical mass," he said.

He added that the properties could take another three to five years to mature and the company needs a few more buildings, within or outside Bandar Utama.

By Business Times

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