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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

UEM Land to leverage on Sunrise expertise and S’pore infrastructure

Good linkage: The future development’s proximity to the Marina Bay and future Downtown MRT stations will ensure that it is well served and easily accessible. — AFP

PETALING JAYA: The coming together of Khazanah Nasional Bhd and Temasek Holdings to develop RM30bil worth of real estate projects in Singapore and Iskandar Malaysia will help UEM Land Holdings Bhd make a great leap forward, both financially and in terms of branding, say analysts.

The tie-up also puts into focus why UEM Land launched an RM1.4bil takeover of property developer Sunrise Bhd, which was completed early this year.

“We believe UEM Land will be able to leverage on Sunrise's expertise in lifestyle integrated developments to take on the proposed developments. As such, Sunrise will be taking the lead on behalf of UEM Land in undertaking these development projects,” said an OSK Research report.

UEM is among the top landowners in Iskandar Malaysia, with 1,300 acres of development land in the southern economic corridor. Among the several economic corridors spearheaded by the Government, Iskandar Malaysia remains the most upbeat and vibrant. In many ways, according to analysts, the alliance of the two government investment holding companies is expected to be a win-win proposition for both sides.

As a result of the Khazanah-Temasek joint venture (JV), UEM Land, together with Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd, have been appointed to oversee the marketing and development of four parcels of land at Marina South in Singapore.

UEM Land is the property arm of Khazanah, while Mapletree Investments is one of Temasek's two real estate portfolio companies. The other Temasek property company is CapitaLand group.

The planned mixed-use development on the 2.62ha white site at Marina South would comprise two office towers with ancillary retail and two blocks of residential towers with a combined gross floor area (GFA) of 341,000 sq m, a statement from the Mapletree website said.

Located on adjoining sites behind the Marina Bay Financial Centre in the new financial and business cluster of Downtown Marina Bay, the development will be positioned between the proposed linear park and a major public open space above the Marina Bay MRT station. Its proximity to the Marina Bay and future Downtown MRT stations will ensure that it is well served and easily accessible.

Construction works are expected to commence in June 2012 with completion estimated in mid-2016.

At the same time, UEM Land will work with CapitaLand to oversee the Ophir-Rochor project in Singapore, located between the Kampong Glam Historic District and the Beach Road Conservation Area, in a new growth area envisioned to become a 24/7 mixed-use cluster. Like the Marina South parcels, the Ophir-Rochor parcels also have excellent connectivity.

By virtue of having Khazanah as an ultimate controlling shareholder, UEM Land (as with both Mapletree and CapitaLand in relation to Temasek) will be playing a huge role in this JV.

Sunrise, with its expertise and tangible portfolio of high-rise and high-end condominium in Mont'Kiara, will also have a huge role to play.

Hong Leong Research said: “UEM Land's business model is primarily a two-pronged strategy of developing townships and niche projects townships for stable income, complemented by niche projects to achieve enchanced growth and market branding. The bulk of its land is in Johor.”

With Khazanah's JV, UEM Land's opportunities have now broadened to include Singapore, where real estate is hot.

A UEM source said the success of Iskandar Malaysia is due to its proximity with the city state and its tremendous infrastructure, both economically and physically. Besides being a service and financial hub, it has an integrated transport system and other infrastructures like no other in South-East Asia.

“We are leveraging on Singapore's tremendous connectivity. When we sell Iskandar, potential investors always ask how many flights do we have in Iskandar Malaysia out to London? We ask them in return how many flights do you want?

“The issue is not how many flights our domestic airport in Johor has, but how many flights does Changi Airport have? That is how close geographically we are to Singapore. Multiply that with the whole range of services that Singapore offers and you have the big picture. When we sell Iskandar, we are not just selling Johor; we are selling Johor and Singapore,” said the source.

By The Star

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