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Thursday, September 22, 2011

BRDB eyes more govt jobs

KUALA LUMPUR: Bandar Raya Developments Bhd (BRDB) is looking to participate in more government-linked property developments, as it looks to become a full-fledged property player, said its chief executive officer Datuk Jagan Sabapathy.

Jagan: ‘We are constantly looking out for land deals.’

BRDB has put in a bid to participate in the Rubber Research Institute (RRI) land in Sungai Buloh as well as the Lever Brothers site in Bangsar. It is among parties that have been shortlisted to put in their proposals for the Lever Brothers land.

BRDB also aims to deliver property developments worth RM1bil in gross development value (GDV) every year, starting from its year ending Dec 31, 2012.

If BRDB's proposed disposal of BR Property Holdings Sdn Bhd which owns Bangsar Shopping Centre (BSC) and Menara BRDB, CapSquare Retail Centre and Permas Jusco Mall for the indicative value of RM914mil goes through, the company will be a lot leaner and will be in a position to capitalise on opportunities. Its gearing automatically drops from about 0.7 time (x) to 0.38x.

“We want to become an out-and-out property player and to be able to participate in government projects. Many of these projects are land-bank based, and we need firepower. The sale of the assets will give us that, and flexibility to gear up. We are constantly looking out for land deals,” said Jagan.

The master developer of the RRI land is Kwasa Land Sdn Bhd (KLSB), a 100% subsidiary of the Employees Provident Fund.

The development, over 3,300 acres, will consist of an integrated township with a mix of residential, commercial and industrial properties and has been dubbed as the new Klang Valley hub.

BRDB's proposal is skewed more towards residential developments on the RRI land, while for the Lever Brothers land, it will be a mixture of residential and commercial.

The Lever Brothers land's, over 20 acres, has been empty since Unilever Malaysia moved out in 2003. Pelaburan Hartanah Bumiputra, a government unit formed to foster bumiputra ownership of property presently owns this prime land.

Currently, BRDB has RM10bil worth of jobs at hand and is expected to be kept busy over the next 3 to 5 years.

For the next two financial years, BRDB will recognise GDV from its projects in Verdana, BluWater, Medang Serai and Elita of The Straits View Residences in Johor.

Jagan said BRDB would maintain its core team to manage BSC.

“We have skills in building malls. That is our core competency and we still want to be in the business of developing malls. So the key retail management in BSC will still be from BRDB,” said Jagan.

Meanwhile, there is a 23.57% equity stake in BRDB held by Credit Suisse. Jagan says this is an omnibus account which consist of a few nominees.

An omnibus account is one which consists of individual accounts that are combined into one account, allowing for easier management.

This 23.57% block will hold a lot of sway in the way the BRDB asset sale will be voted on. In fact, foreign offshore nominee accounts collectively hold 60.9% shareholding in BRDB, according to the company's latest annual report. The ultimate shareholders of these blocks are not disclosed in any documents.

By The Star

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