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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

SP Setia wins land tender in Singapore

Property developer SP Setia Bhd has won a tender bid of an 18,700sqm site along Chestnut Avenue, Singapore, for S$180 million (RM437.4 million).

"The Chestnut Avenue site has a potential development value of RM1.1 billion and a maximum allowable gross floor area of 39,270sqm," the company said in a statement today.

The land tender represents SP Setia's second foray into the Singaporean property market following its acquisition of a freehold development along Woodsville Close in April.

The group's maiden project in at Woodsville Close is expected to be launched in a few months' time followed by the proposed launch of the Chestnut Avenue site by end-2012.

In the statement, SP Setia President and Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin said the land tender provided the group with an extremely rare and excellent opportunity to showcase its core and multiple award-winning development expertise of building eco-brand sanctuaries in a lush green neighbourhood.

"We are very excited about this site which is next to the Zhenghua Park with nearby Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Bukit Batok Nature Park offering scenic views and recreation," he said.

By Bernama

LBS Bina reaps higher 9-month revenue

LBS Bina Group Bhd has chalked up higher revenue and pre-tax profit for the nine-month period ended Sept 30, 2011 of about RM302 million and RM46 million, respectively.

This represents 59 per cent improvement in revenue and 2113 per cent pre-tax profit in the same period last year, the company said in a statement.

For the current quarter under review, the group earned RM125 million revenue and RM16 million pre-tax profit, respectively.

"This represents a 57 per cent improvement in revenue and 230 per cent rise in pre-tax profit in the same quarter last year," it said.

The company attributed the better growth to its ongoing projects with good take-up rates such as D’Island Residence in Puchong, Topaz III, Ivory Residences I & II, Indigo Homes and Lavender II in Bandar Saujana Putra.

Other commercial and industrial projects such as the Tasik Perdana Industrial Park in Puchong and Saujana Business Park in Bandar Saujana Putra also contributed to the company's good showing in the third quarter.

By Bernama

Singapore private resale home prices remain flat

SINGAPORE: Resale prices of private homes rose a touch last month, reversing a slight dip in September, but the overall trend suggests a period of flat values.

The new Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI) flash figures out yesterday showed that prices rose 0.9% last month, rallying from a 0.1% dip in September. The overall SRPI which tracks a basket of completed non-landed projects points to a cautious market, with monthly price movements mostly fluctuating within a range of just 1% or less this year.

Prices of centrally located homes, excluding small apartments of less than 500 sq ft, posted a gain of 1% last month compared with the 0.4% dip in September. Non-central area values rose 0.8%, building on September's 0.1% increase. Prices for small apartments inched back 0.9% after a 3.5% drop in September.

Experts offered various reasons for the trends seen in the SRPI index, which is compiled by the National University of Singapore.

DTZ head of Asia-Pacific research Chua Chor Hoon noted that the index's ups and downs could be due to its nature as a monthly snapshot, and there were fewer caveats lodged in October.

Chesterton Suntec International research head Colin Tan said the fluctuation could be due to prices reaching a turning point.

“The underlying trend is still up ever so slightly. This is to be expected as there is still positive economic growth,” he added, suggesting that there could be a to-and-fro between the HDB resale and private resale mass market segments.

By The Straits Times

Retail rents jump 32% in Melbourne

SYDNEY: Retail rents in Melbourne surged 32.3% in the year to September, the third fastest growing market behind Hong Kong and Beijing, fuelled by international tenants tapping the market, said property services firm CBRE.

Against the backdrop of its relatively healthy economy, Australia has lured a number of high-profile international retail brands.

Zara, owned by the world's biggest fashion retailer Inditex SA, opened stores in Melbourne and Sydney this year, while UK fashion retailer Topshop is opening its store in Melbourne next month.

In the third quarter this year, Sydney was the third most expensive retail market globally and Melbourne ranked eighth, while New York retained the top spot to be the world's expensive shopping destination, CBRE said.

Still, CBRE expects Australian markets to slip down the rankings next year partly due to the record levels of outbound tourism and increasing labour and utility costs.

Globally, total retail rents edged down 0.6% quarter-on-quarter in the third quarter, with rents in the Americas dropping 2% while those in the Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa regions remained flat, according to CBRE.

By Reuters

HK plans to get tough with errant developers

HONG KONG: Hong Kong has proposed a new law that will slap fines and jail terms on developers that mislead buyers of new homes.

The government yesterday kicked off a two-month consultation period on the new law, which it hopes to introduce to the Legislative Council in the first quarter of next year.

“There are consumer protections in other areas, and there should be similar protections on selling properties,” Eva Cheng, the secretary for transport and housing, said as she called for improved transparency, as she unveiled the proposed law. “It has to be done, and there is never a better time.”

Cheng said the current slump in property prices in Hong Kong did not affect the government's motivation to put new rules in place. A steering committee has been working on the rule changes over the past year. The new law would govern all first-hand projects, whether completed or sold off-plan.

The maximum penalty for misleading the public would be a fine of HK$5mil and seven years in prison. Minor breaches would be punished by a fine of around HK$100,000.

Under the proposed rules, developers would have to make a sales brochure on each property available at least seven days before sales begin. The brochure would list the property's address and the neighbourhood it is in. The brochure would also have to provide the saleable area of the property, and would not be allowed to contain artist's impressions of the development.

Residential property in Hong Kong has traditionally been priced and promoted based on gross floor area, not the net area. But consumers have complained about misleading practices from developers, who often include an apportionment of public areas such as lift lobbies, electricity plants and clubhouses in the gross floor area of a flat.

Cheng admitted that current legislation on new-home sales was insufficient.

“We agree the current measures are not sufficient,” she said, adding that the new rules were a top priority for her bureau in the coming year.

“The public is rightly concerned about the sale of first-hand properties,” Cheng said.

The saleable area is the floor area of the residential property itself, including any verandah or utility platform, but excluding bay windows and public parts of a development.

Developers would also be required to provide a price list for the development at least three calendar days before it goes on sale. With the government cracking down on property speculation in Hong Kong, transactions have stalled and prices weakened.

Edward Farrelly, the director of research for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan at brokerage CBRE, expects residential prices to fall 20% over the next year.

The new rules would have an impact, he said. “I think there's a lot of good in getting more transparency into the market,” he said. “It remains to be seen how the secondary market responds.”

New home prices would likely rise as a result of developers building extra costs into their baseline price, Farrelly said. But they may not be able to push through that kind of increase in the current market.

“Developers will try to resist a major hit on their margin,” Farrelly said. “However, if the market is faced with a downturn, they may have to accept lower margins.”

Andrew Lawrence, the Hong Kong property analyst at Barclays Capital, has forecast a decline of 25% to 30% in Hong Kong property prices, assuming the former British colony pulls off a soft landing. The drop would rise to 35% to 45% in case of a hard landing, Lawrence predicts.

His favorite pick in the sector is Cheung Kong, run by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, since the company has been deleveraging its balance sheet over the past 24 months.

That should allow it to buy assets at the bottom of the cycle, Lawrence said. Cheung Kong is Hong Kong's second largest developer by market capitalisation, behind Sun Hung Kai Properties.

By contrast, Sun Hung Kai, the world's second biggest developer by market capitalisation, was relatively highly geared, Lawrence said. It and Henderson Land had the potential to need to issue fresh equity in the future, he said.

By Reuters

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Atria SOFO Suites popular with buyers

Bustling: The special preview and launch of Atria SOFO suites attracted a lot of buyers.

DEVELOPER of the Atria@Damansara, OSK Property Holdings Bhd, hit the ground running when its Atria SOFO Suites were sold out just after its launch recently.

The 392 SOFO (small office flexible office) units are part of the 2.23ha freehold mixed development project replacing the Atria shopping centre.

Scheduled to complete in 2014, the project also features a shopping gallery and entertainment facilities.

Housed in two 16-storey towers above the retail floors, its built-up size ranges from 488 sq ft to 1,343 sq ft. Depending on the size, each unit is priced from RM360,800 to RM1mil.

Some of the unique selling points of the SOFO units are their modular design for better space planning, high ceilings at approximately 2.8m, vertical void for better ventilation and garden terraces on selected floors.

Company director Ong Ju Xing said the development complemented the mature neighbourhood very well as it catered to the middle and upper class segments.

He added that tenants from the former Atria shopping centre had also expressed interest in the new shopping gallery.

“We believe the development project will cater and complement the mature and affluent township of Damansara Jaya,” he said during the launch.

The project has a gross development value of close to RM1bil.

For details, visit

By The Star

UEM Land sets RM3b sales target

UEM Land CEO says the company is optimistic on hitting the property sales target.

KUALA LUMPUR: UEM Land Holdings Bhd, the country's biggest property player by market capitalisation, aims to sell RM3 billion worth of properties next year, an increase of 40 per cent from this year.

Managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim said the company was optimistic on hitting the sales target.

"We are confident as we have the right products to offer in the market. We are close to achieving this year's sales target of RM2.2 billion," said Wan Abdullah.

The merger with Sunrise Bhd has also raised UEM Land's profile, given the former's expertise in high-rise integrated developments and branding.

For the year ended Dec 31, 2010, UEM Land posted a net profit of RM194.5 million on a revenue of RM469.7 million.

Maybank Investment Bank expects the company to record a strong 37 per cent growth in net profit in 2011, mainly due to the consolidation of Sunrise's earnings.

Wan Abdullah said UEM Land had launched projects worth close to RM11 billion in the past four years and RM10 billion of that would be realised over the next few years.

"We have projects worth RM34 billion to be launched over the next several years," he said after unveiling the RM1.3 billion Angkasa Raya, Sunrise's new landmark project in the Kuala Lumpur city centre, last Tuesday.

UEM Land is the property arm of UEM Group, which owns 69.1 per cent of the company. UEM Group, in turn, is wholly owned by Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

The company became the biggest property player on Bursa Malaysia after buying Sunrise earlier this year. It now has a market capitalisation of about RM11 billion.

UEM Land is currently developing Nusajaya, one of the five flagship zones of Iskandar Malaysia in Johor.

Nusajaya spans 9,662ha, with UEM Land owning 4,161ha that are under various stages of development.

UEM Land also has projects in Bangi, Cyberjaya, Kajang and Mont'Kiara.

By Business Times

CapitaLand may place China projects into Reit

SINGAPORE: CapitaLand Ltd, South-East Asia's largest property developer, may place its US$5.3bil projects in China into a real estate investment trust (Reit), The Straits Times reported yesterday, quoting a senior executive of the company.

CapitaLand chief operating officer Lim Ming Yan said should the company decide to do that, the plan would not happen in the near future because five out of seven of its projects, under its Raffles City brand, in China were still under development, according to the report.

“That's always an option, obviously, but you have to wait for the right market timing. I think it's still too early. We have two operating Raffles City (projects) in China, the other five are still under development,” Lim said.

CapitaLand, 40%-owned by Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings, said the projects, with a total commercial floor area of more than 2.1 million sq m, were expected to be worth S$7bil (US$5.33bil) in total upon completion, the report said.

Lim also said the company was looking to start a few new private-equity funds, but did not give further details, it said.

CapitaLand was not immediately available for comment.

By Reuters

China to maintain curbs on property market

BEIJING: China will maintain restrictions on the property market, vice-premier Li Keqiang has said, despite growing speculation that curbs could be eased to prevent a damaging slump in prices.

Real estate sales and prices have been falling nationwide due to tough restrictions on purchases and bank lending, fuelling fears that the market could collapse and send debt-laden property developers to the wall.

China’s property market was “in a key stage” and restrictions needed to stay in place to “promote the healthy development” of the sector, the official Xinhua news agency quoted Li as saying on Sunday.

“We must maintain policies to prevent property prices from rising overly fast and further consolidate the results of the controls,” Li said.

China has introduced a range of measures aimed at bringing down property prices the last year, such as bans on buying second homes in some cities, hiking minimum down-payments for buyers and introducing property taxes.

A surge in bank lending in recent years has fuelled investment in the real estate sector and pushed property prices out of the reach of many ordinary Chinese, angering people struggling to buy their first home.

The government would maintain restrictions and step up construction of low-cost housing to “satisfy the multiple and diversified housing needs of the public,” Li said.

Li’s remarks echoed those of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who recently said house prices should return to “reasonable levels” before policies were eased.

Renmin University in Beijing said last week it expected the government to relax some property market curbs next year due to concerns that slumping prices could hurt growth in the world’s second largest economy.

Cash-strapped local governments were heavily reliant on revenue from land sales, and the central government would likely intervene to prevent property prices from falling more than 25%, it said in a report.

Property investment was also a contributor to economic growth, so Beijing might act to help ensure gross domestic product growth – which creates jobs and prevents social unrest – remained strong, it said.

Official data showed the number of major Chinese cities posting a drop in home prices doubled to 34 in October from September, in a sign efforts to cool the country’s surging property market are working.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Influx of office space in Klang Valley worsens oversupply situation

KUALA LUMPUR: An influx of office space in the Klang Valley is putting a downward pressure on yields.

Property consultants said the entry of more office space was making the oversupply situation worse.

However, they said the situation could be remedied should the economy perform better, thus keeping demand afloat.

“In certain areas, yields will be pressured downward because of the glut situation. But this is also highly dependent on the location of the offices. Those located in prime areas will have less chance of coming under yield pressure,” DTZ Debenham Tie Lung executive director Brian Koh told StarBiz.

Khong & Jaafar managing director Elvin Fernandez said that the slightly higher vacancies this time around was “not too abnormal a situation”.

“The thing about property cycle is that there can be a glut today but this oversupply condition can be offset if demand returns. I do not view it as being serious,

“However, there could be a lot more supply that would flood the office space sector in the medium to long term,” he said.

There were 20 million sq ft of vacant space in the Klang Valley, 22.5 million sq ft of office space under construction and 25 million sq ft which had been approved for construction.

The Government recently earmarked several areas for commercial development such as the KL International Financial District in Jalan Tun Razak, the 100-storey Warisan Merdeka, the Sungai Besi military airport and the Rubber Research Institute land in Sungai Buloh which are expected to come onstream within the next 10 years.

Meanwhile, a report by CB Richard Ellis released earlier this month revealed that office yields in Kuala Lumpur prime area had been flat from 2005 until 2011, ranging from a low of 6.25% to a high of 6.75% (see chart).

The report also showed the office space vacancy rate in the Klang Valley was under 13% on an average basis, which consultants said could rise once new space came in with the completion of several mega projects.

“With all the large-scale development projects coming in, we are looking at a potential oversupply situation but if the economy does exceptionally well despite the problems in the eurozone, this problem would ebb,” said Koh.

Vacancies had risen during the 2008 global financial crisis in prime office spaces and rental rates had been on a slight decline.

The prevalent trend among corporates was to move their bases away from the city centre into newer office buildings within other established suburbs such as Petaling Jaya and Klang as many of the workers lived in these suburbs.

“After the My Rail Transit has been completed, office development would focus back to the city centre as long as they are affordable and corporates can make a decent profit even after paying off these leases. I expect this trend to reverse and that Kuala Lumpur will remain at the primacy of development in the Klang Valley,” Fernandez said.

By The Star

Amphil to start sale of high-end Rimbun condos

Lush greenery: An artist’s impression of Amphil’s Rimbun condominium.

It’s optimistic of take-up for high-end, green condo

PETALING JAYA: P. K. Poh, the chief executive officer and director of relatively new boutique developer Amphil Corp Sdn Bhd, is a perfectionist.

The company will start selling its maiden project Rimbun, a “green” high-end condominium project, next month. However, Poh is still unsatisfied with the number of green features being offered as he feels there should be more.

Poh: ‘It’s not just about paying lip service.’

To be located in Jalan Ampang Hilir, behind the Great Eastern Mall in Kuala Lumpur, there will only be 56 units with prices ranging from RM1,000 to RM1,200 per sq ft. With a gross domestic value of RM200mil, the 17-floor Rimbun comprises 28 units with a built-up area of 3,500 sq ft and 26 units with a built-up area of 4,500 sq ft.

There will also be two triplex penthouses with built-up space of 18,000 sq ft. Poh said Amphil would retain one of the penthouses.

“We have not fixed the price for the penthouse and will probably offer it based on negotiation basis. Seeing as there will only be one owner, we give them the flexibility to redesign it.”

Poh said Rimbun was targeted at individuals in their mid-forties and onwards.

“These are the people who have travelled the world, stayed in the best hotels, are currently living in large, luxurious houses and whose children have flown the coop, locally or overseas.

“They may now prefer to move from houses to a more secure condominium unit that is at least 3,500 sq ft, with high-tech smart home systems and broadband connectivity. Anything smaller in size will not be comfortable for them as they are used to a spacious environment,” he said.

Poh said he was optimistic of the potential take-up for Rimbun.

“Of course, we don't expect it to be totally sold out in a week. But we don't want it to be that way as well. We want people to understand and appreciate what we're offering.

“Rimbun is just minutes away from all the excitement in the KLCC vicinity with all the dining, shopping, entertainment and commercial outlets. Yet, it does not have the noise and cramped conditions of city living.

“Our access is via tree-lined avenues and we are surrounded by a polo club, a golf club, parks, lakes, top medical centres, a number of international schools and so on. We call it the best of both worlds,” he said.

Poh said Rimbun would be marketed on a “personalised” basis. “Once they have expressed an interest in our units, all they have to do is fill in their details on our website and we will meet them personally.”

The name Rimbun, which means “lush, leafy greenery,” is matched by a plethora green features that will be incorporated into the building.

The environment-friendly features include solar photovoltaic panels, rain water harvesting system, aerated concrete blocks, high internal ceilings, high performance glass, low volatile organic compounds paint, green label fittings, energy-efficient lighting, titanium dioxide coating, motion sensors, energy-efficient lifts, recycling bins, non-chemical swimming pool, herb garden, drip irrigation with rain sensor, naturally ventilated porch and terrace, recycled rubber humps, hybrid vehicles car park and fume extract sensors.

There will be more features but right now, Poh prefers to keep them under wraps for competitive reasons.

Rimbun has also achieved the internationally recognised green-mark gold plus provisional certification from the Building and Construction Authority, Singapore.

One of the biggest challenges leading up to full construction of the building was for Amphil to ensure that it complied with the dictates of Conquas, which is Singapore's construction quality assessment body, said Poh. The project is slated for completion in the third quarter of 2014.

Poh said that the company did not decide to go green in a big way just because it felt like the “in” thing to do.

“With all the environmental degradation and global warming that are going on, we felt that we needed to build something sustainable.

“It is said that buildings contribute 40% to the total carbon emissions, which makes developing a truly green building a heavy responsibility and it behooves us to ensure that our carbon footprint is reduced as much as possible,” he said.

Poh said it was uncommon for a typical condominium project in Malaysia to have so many green features incorporated into its structure. “This makes Rimbun stand out from the rest.

“A developer may incorporate a number of green features over a range of projects but never so many into just one.

“It's not just about paying lip service. Ultimately, it's our residents who will benefit. We want to engage our residents long after the project has been completed.”

Amphil was set up in 2007 and spearheaded by Poh, who has 30-odd years of experience in the property market. He is also a director and adviser for Tradewinds Corp Bhd.

Poh said Amphil comprised “a very small team of people” that was supported by a strong group of consultants and engineers with years of experience.

The company is solely focusing on Rimbun but is open to potential joint ventures for future projects.

By The Star

Tan brothers look to 'conquer' Penang

KUALA LUMPUR: For a while now, there has been speculation about who would partner Ivory Properties Bhd in its multi-billion ringgit Bayan Mutiara project in Penang.

That was ended when it roped in Dijaya Corp Bhd. They now plan to build residential and commercial properties on the land, estimated to generate sales of some RM10 billion.

This is not their first tie-up. Within the Batu Ferringi tourism belt, Dijaya has a joint-venture project called "10 Island Resort" with Ivory.

In Bukit Mertajam, Dijaya has a mixed development project dubbed Aston Villa, in which Ivory is the turnkey developer.

But that partnership has overshadowed an interesting fact. Penang has now seen the entry of two highly successful businessmen and both happen to be brothers.

Dijaya is controlled by Tan Sri Danny Tan Chee Sing, the younger brother of Berjaya Corp Bhd founder and chairman Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun.

Barely three months ago, the senior Tan made a comeback to Penang as a property developer after a hiatus of nearly two decades.

The Berjaya Group - via Berjaya Land Development Sdn Bhd - signed a deal to buy 22.8ha of prime freehold land within the Penang Turf Club for RM459 million.

At the signing ceremony in Penang, Vincent did not mince his words in expressing his displeasure with the previous state government.

Vincent's approval of the current state administration is a strong signal to other developers that the island state has plenty of potential.

And this probably explains Danny's continued interest.

The latest alliance with Ivory is a very big undertaking and one which will ensure its presence in the state for many years to come.

Danny, the man behind Petaling Jaya's Tropicana Golf and Country Resort, will have his hands full with the latest venture. As for Vincent, he did not discount the possibility of enlarging Berjaya Group's footprint in Penang.

Together, the Tan brothers will be a force to be reckoned with in Penang.

By Business Times

LBS has land-bank with GDV of RM9bil, wants more land

Ongoing project: Lim looking at a model of the D’Island Residence project in Puchong which has a GDV of RM3.5bil.

PETALING JAYA: LBS Bina Group Bhd is looking at a few avenues to raise funds to finance new land acquisitions for its projects.

Managing director Lim Hock San said the options included internal funds, bank financing and private placement.

“We are still in the assessment process and nothing has been firmed up yet. An announcement will be made if a plan has been finalised,” he told StarBiz.

According to Lim, LBS is currently studying a few proposals on possible land acquisitions to expand its landbank.

LBS currently has a land-bank of about 2,300 acres worth an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM9.1bil.

Some 46% of its land-bank, or 1,071 acres, is in Selangor, while those in Johor make up 25% of its land-bank (574 acres), Perak 18% (406 acres), and Pahang 3% (70 acres). It also has 197 acres in China.

Its ongoing projects include D'Island Residence on 175 acres in Puchong comprising 237 super-link houses, 298 semi-detached units, 148 bungalows and 352 condominiums.

The project with a GDVof RM3.5bil will also have two blocks of commercial units. Its other flagship development is Bandar Saujana Putra that spans over 835 acres in Selangor.

The township launched in February 2003 has a GDV of RM3bil.

LBS also has projects in Cameron Highlands and Bandar Putera Indah in Batu Pahat, Johor.

In Cameron Highlands, LBS is the developer with the largest market share and the company intends to add land-bank there to cement its leadership position.

According to Lim, D'Island Residence will be the biggest growth driver contributing to 41% of its project GDV for the current financial year ending Dec 31, while contribution from Bandar Saujana Putra is expected to make up 36%.

LBS is targeting sales of RM650mil this year and RM800mil in 2012.

As of Nov 20, it had recorded sales of RM604mil. It also had unbilled sales of RM639mil as of Nov 15.

Lim said for the year to-date, the company had launched 1,295 property units worth a GDV of some RM630mil.

Next year, there will be 17 project launches comprising 2,085 units with a GDV of RM1.4bil.

The sales target for FY12 is RM800mil.

OSK Research said in a recent report that LBS Bina should be able to record decent revenue growth over the next few years since it had moved into the mid to high-end market segments from the low to medium-end segments.

The growth in revenue was underpinned by strong unbilled sales and take-up rate for its recent launches.

“To achieve its sales target, LBS plans to launch more than RM1bil worth of projects for this year, with its flagship Bandar Saujana Putra to account for about 45% of the value of the launches,” the report added.

The research house said the company's decision to move up the value chain in the residential market and re-position itself to focus on medium to high-end projects had enabled it to record over 70% year-on-year growth and make a return to the black with profit after tax and minority interests of RM16.5mil in FY10.

It said the unique concept incorporated in the D'Island project contributed to the strong take-up rate, and the project should provide a strong foundation for LBS to further strengthen its position in the high-end market segment.

As for the Cameron Highlands and Batu Pahat projects, although the market size in those areas was rather limited, having a presence there should be able to provide the right balance for LBS through geographical and demographic diversification.

By The Star

techpark@enstek expects to draw more foreign biotech firms

KUALA LUMPUR: TH Properties Sdn Bhd expects more foreign biotechnology companies seeking expansion to set up shop at techpark@enstek in Sepang, Selangor.

techpark@enstek is the biotech hub at Bandar Enstek, TH Properties's ongoing 2,046ha integrated township development in Sepang.

So far, Phase 1 of techpark@enstek has attracted 21 companies with a combined investments exceeding RM1 billion.

TH Properties group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Roszali Othman said the company expects to ink agreements with three more companies by early next year.

"They are serious in expanding their operations and are targeting our biotech hub because of the facilities we provide and its close proximity to the airport," he told Business Times in an interview recently.

Roszali said that there are more enquiries now from local and foreign parties on available land at techpark@enstek.

"We have 30ha remaining under Phase 1 and this will be fully taken up when the three companies come in. We expect to launch Phase 2, which will have 160ha of land valued at around RM400 million, a year from now," he said.

Bandar Enstek is located nearby the Sepang F1 Circuit and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

The township comprises four main components, namely residential, a commercial hub, institutional zones and techpark@enstek.

Since its inception in 1999, the township has attracted investments of more than RM2 billion from government bodies and the corporate sector.

"We are planning more recreational facilities at the whole of Bandar Enstek. We want to get more profits. As the township matures, we want to rake in high margins," he said.

By Business Times

TH Properties hungry for more infrastructure jobs

TH Properties is targeting private finance initiative projects under the Economic Transformation Programme.

TH Properties Sdn Bhd, the property arm of pilgrims fund management institution Lembaga Tabung Haji, will take on more infrastructure projects in Malaysia to expand the company.

Group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Roszali Othman said the company has about RM1 billion worth of construction jobs in hand and this is expected to increase next year.

TH Properties is targeting private finance initiative projects under the Economic Transformation Programme.

It expects to conclude several deals with the respective government agencies by early next year.

"We are looking into the bigger role now, especially to drive up our construction activities. We have very low gearing and substantial cash in TH Properties to move up a notch," he told Business Times in an interview recently.

Roszali said if the need arises, TH Properties will raise funds through a bond sale, among others.

TH Properties is involved in property development, construction and facilities management.

Its ongoing construction contracts include a RM400 million job to develop a complex in Putrajaya for the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia.

TH Properties is also involved in Tabung Haji's integrated Haj Pilgrims Complex development at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, besides carrying out its own two property development projects in the Klang Valley.

The two projects are the RM9.2 billion Bandar Enstek township in Sepang and a residential project in Keramat, worth RM700 million.

TH Properties will launch several new phases at Bandar Enstek and the project in Keramat next year.

"What we intend to do is to grow all our businesses. It is a positive move forward," Roszali said.

By Business Times

Comments from fair visitors

Said NTV7 news anchor Sheahnee Iman Lee, “This is my first time attending the Star Property Fair. There are a variety of projects showcased by top developers."

Currently staying in a condominium in Shah Alam, Lee is looking for landed property with a built-up area of 325sq m (3,500sq ft) within the Klang Valley.

“I’m keeping my options open and hope to find a house that is spacious and convenient for me and my husband to travel to and from work," said Lee, who is expecting her second child.

Penangite Chin Yoon Ming, 29, was looking to buy a high-rise property near the Second-Link in Penang. “I’m looking for a three-bedroom condominium. My budget is around RM500,000."

This was Chin’s first time at the fair and he hoped that there will be more mid-range properties showcased in the next property fair.

Electrical engineer Laurence Xin from China has been staying in Malaysia for one-and-a-half years and was looking for a condominium unit within Mont' Kiara.

“My main priority is security. I want a place with good security,” said Xin. He was shopping for a condominium unit that was at least 279sq m (3,000sq ft) with a minimum of three bedrooms.

Touted as one of the first luxurious condominium developments in the Klang Valley overlooking a golf course, the Tropicana Grande project was one of the developments promoted at the Dijaya Corporation Bhd booth.

Located in Persiaran Tropicana, the Tropicana Grande development boasts a total of four blocks with only two units per floor – ensuring privacy and exclusivity.

With a total of 328 units, the most popular layout choices among the buyers were the "smaller" units, ranging from 212sq m (2,283sq ft) to 254sq m (2,733sq ft). Prices range from RM1.4mil to RM1.9mil.

For buyers with larger families, they can opt for the more spacious units that offer a built-up space from 308sq m (3,311sq ft) to 341sq m (3,666sq ft). Prices for these units start from RM2.4mil.

By The Star

Chinese developer livid at Iceland’s rejection of resort

Huang: ‘You can come and buy a house, and you can emigrate here and bring your riches with you, or you can buy my luxury goods, but if you want to touch my natural resources, then I’m sorry, I won’t let you.’ — AFP

BEIJING: A multi-millionaire Chinese developer is livid at Iceland’s rejection of his plan to build a sprawling resort, saying it reveals Western “hypocrisy and deep prejudice”.

Foreigners also wrongly assumed Chinese companies automatically had ties to China’s military, Huang Nubo said in comments published in Chinese media yesterday.

The Iceland government on Friday rejected a bid by Huang to buy 300 sq km on the island nation because it did not meet legal requirements on foreign ownership.

Some commentators have said the plan raised questions over regional security because of Iceland’s strategic location in the Arctic where a number of nations are competing for resources, suggesting that Huang could be a surrogate for Chinese expansionism.

“I’m not buying land, I’m investing in tourism infrastructure,” Huang said in an interview with Sina Finance, an online news service.

“The difficulties that Chinese enterprises encounter are numerous, like the view that state-owned enterprises represent your country, that whatever your background is you’re a military business and touch on national security,” he said.

Huang said unspecified foreigners “use all kinds of such reasons to build an invisible wall to surround and contain you.”

“You can come and buy a house, and you can emigrate here and bring your riches with you, or you can buy my luxury goods, but if you want to touch my natural resources, then I’m sorry, I won’t let you,” he said.

Huang, who is chairman of Beijing-based Zhongkun Investment Group and was 161st on the Forbes list of the richest Chinese in 2010, accused Westerners of double standards.

“They come to China and say, ‘this isn’t open, that isn’t open’, which just shows their hypocrisy and deep prejudice and unjust nature,” he said.

Such Western businesses “encourage the opening of the Chinese market while they close their doors to Chinese investments,” Huang said in an interview with the China Daily. “The denial reflects the unjust and parochial investment environment facing private Chinese enterprises abroad.”

Huang had agreed to pay one billion Iceland krona (US$8.3mil) to buy Grimsstadir farm in northeast Iceland, where he planned to build a golf course, hotel and outdoor recreation area.

But Iceland’s Interior Ministry said on Friday that the deal did not meet legal requirements for land sales to companies outside the European Economic Area, including that company directors must be Icelandic citizens or permanent residents for at least five years, and that 80% of shares in purchasing firms should be held by Icelandic citizens.

The deal would have marked the first major Chinese investment in Iceland, which is still recovering from the collapse of its banks in 2008 during the global financial crisis.

By Reuters

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cabinet nod for green guidelines

New township: (From left) Miss Universe Malaysia 2012 Kimberley Ann Estrop- Leggett, Lee, Chor and Tan looking at a residential model during The Star Property Fair 2011 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Friday.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet has approved a green neighbourhood and low carbon city framework and assessment system aimed at reducing the nation's carbon emissions.

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung said the guidelines would bring the country a step closer to achieving the goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 40% by 2020 as announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in Copenhagen last year.

“We are going all out to push the guidelines.

“Studies have shown that urbanisation contributes more than 50% of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Our small cities and townships are getting bigger,'' Chor said after launching The Star Property Fair 2011 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre yesterday.

Also present were Star Publications (M) Bhd executive deputy chairman Datuk Vincent Lee and chief events officer Iris Tan.

A Cabinet paper on the guidelines was approved yesterday, said Chor, adding that it was a joint collaboration between his ministry and the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry.

The guidelines, which would be distributed to local authorities, would promote 3R (reduce, reuse and recyle) practices as well as other environmental-friendly policies.

“We hope developers will help spur green neighbourhoods by providing more cycling and walking paths to reduce vehicle use.

“The guidelines are not compulsory but it makes good business sense to do it,” he said.

Chor also congratulated The Star for organising the property fair which had not only attracted developers but lifestyle companies as well.

“It is fair to say that The Star Property Fair is by far the largest. Congratulations for a fantastic job.”

On errant developers, Chor reiterated that the amendments to the Housing Development (Control and Licensing Act) 1966 would ensure “fly-by-night” operators are severely dealt with.

The Bill, which is expected to be tabled in Parliament soon, would see errant developers facing criminal charges and jail sentences for abandoning housing projects.

The Star Property Fair 2011 is open from 11am to 7pm and ends tomorrow. Entrance is free.

By The Star

Residents want development to benefit community

KUALA Lumpur mayor Ahmad Fuad Ismail said the Bangsar Seafood Garden restaurant in Jalan Ara Bangsar still has the right to operate until the Court of Appeal hears the case.

Fuad said the developer of One Bangsar, Markibra Services, had procured a stay order and no date had been fixed for the hearing.

The entire stretch along Jalan Ara Bangsar was filled with chic outlets like Sagar Restaurant, House of Tang, Signature Snips Hair Salon, CungDinh Vietnam Restaurant, Saigon, Divino, Zens Korean BBQ and Vincenzo Ristorante Italiano.

No more: Only the signboards are indications of the outlets that once operated in One Bangsar.

About three months ago, the shops slowly started moving out following a court case that arose after the status of the land that was converted from residential to commercial expired in December 2009.

Unhappy residents who had to deal with a host of problems opposed the renewal of the business licences and asked the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to revert the status to residential.

The Markibra Services in turn filed a judicial review to stop the planning permission. However, City Hall won the case and Markibra has filed an appeal.

Only the Bangsar Seafood Garden restaurant is still opearting along the stretch.

Bangsar Baru Residents Association president Datuk George Joseph said it was up to the owner of the land, Eng Lian Enterprise, to propose future developments on the site.

“Of course we hope to have developments that will benefit the community like a carpark. It will definitely reduce the number of cars double parked in the area,” he said.

However George firmly said they would oppose any future plans for restaurants. According to him, restaurants would only increase noise pollution and traffic congestion.

Lone ranger: The Bangsar Seafood Garden Restaurant is the only outlet still operating at One Bangsar.

“We want the place to be developed because leaving it idle may turn the stretch into a dumping ground,” he added.

Bukit Bandaraya Residents Association deputy president M. Ali said they preferred to revert the land status to residential.

“The land should be used for bungalows according to the original plan,” he said.

Eng Lian Enterprise Property Management head Tan Joon Kai said it was premature to have plans for the land.

He added that they would wait for Markibra Services to enlighten them on the status before deciding on the type of development.

Tan also said their company considered the feedback from the residents and business community important in the decision-making process.

“We ultimately must ensure that the land will be used for the greater good of the neighbourhood,” he added.

Representatives from Markriba Services could not be reached for comments.

By The Star

Friday, November 25, 2011

Factors that define the best places to live

PETALING JAYA: The high cost of a property and the relative prestige of the neighbourhood are only two of the factors that define the best places to live for the super-rich.

Depending on personal priorities, elite property buyers will consider a combination of factors when deciding on the best home for themselves or investment. And for the ambitious, there are newer residential enclaves to consider.

According to Henry Butcher Marketing Sdn Bhd chief operating officer Tang Chee Meng, the preferred residential locations in the Klang Valley still relate to well-established and high-priced real estate, namely Damansara Heights, Bukit Tunku/Taman Duta, KLCC, Ampang Hilir/U Thant, Bangsar, and Mont'Kiara.

“Besides pricing, I would consider other factors such as quality of the residential environment, security of the neighbourhood and availability of amenities such as schools, shops, eateries and entertainment outlets as well as accessibility,” pointed out Tang, who has been in the real estate business since 1979.

“The areas mentioned are prestigious locations which have snob appeal,” said the veteran consultant, who himself lives in Damansara Heights.

Is it too expensive now to buy properties in areas like Bukit Tunku, Damansara Heights or even Bangsar?

“Well-heeled locals are still keen on properties in these areas. They are prestigious addresses which command good rentals and enjoy strong potential for capital appreciation due to the scarcity of land for the development of new homes.

“Foreigners, too, tend to buy in established locations and, as such, will still consider these areas.”

However, living in an elitist neighbourhood is not without its share of negative factors.

For one thing, the residents here are mainly well-connected and powerful personalities. Some would not hesitate to be litigious should their property rights be infringed by neighbours, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

Newer residential enclaves such as Mont'Kiara are viewed by certain property investors and agents as being “over-developed”. Despite that, their prices keep going up.

“People have been talking about an oversupply situation in Mont'Kiara for years but new projects have continued to enjoy a good take-up rate in terms of sales. This is due to the perception that Mont'Kiara properties enjoy good capital appreciation. And units can easily be rented out due to its popularity with the expatriate community.

“However, with recent project launches which have large units and are priced at around the RM1,000 per sq ft threshold sales have been sluggish.

“As most Mont'Kiara developments are high-rise condominium projects, population density is much higher than other residential areas such as Ampang, Bangsar and Bandar Utama.”

Apparently, it may take some time for the market to “digest” such units available, provided economic factors remain stable and government regulations do not affect demand adversely.

And for those with not-so-deep pockets, Tang who has witnessed his fair share of property ups and downs in the market picked certain upcoming and promising residential areas as having high potential for property investment.

The “good” areas include Setia Ecopark, Bandar Utama-Mutiara Damansara-Desa ParkCity residential belt and Kemensah Heights.

Similar positive factors also apply to other established residential developments in Tropicana in Petaling Jaya, Sierramas in Sungai Buloh and Country Heights in Kajang.

“Buying into an established and prestigious location cannot go wrong as prices will hold better during a downturn and recover faster,” advised Tang.

“So, the strategy is to go in when the market has started to move up and sell when the price has gone up to a level which will give the investor an attractive gain. Never regret having made less if the prices go up higher as the market could have turned the other way.”

For more of this story, including a table of comparison on the preferred residential locations, log on to

By The Star

An oasis up in the skies

Luxurious: The Verve Suites serviced apartments development by Bukit Kiara Properties.

STANDING amid a well-manicured lawn and sipping cocktails under the stars while listening to jazzy tunes, the small gathering of people might feel they were at a resort.

Well, a resort it is not, but it is an oasis in the midst of the urban hustle and bustle of Mont’ Kiara.

The little party of guests would tend to agree that Bukit Kiara Properties had accomplished its mission of creating a stylish space for the contemporary lifestyle of professionals.

Its four blocks of serviced apartments — Viva, Vibe, Vogue and Vox towers — collectively known as the Verve Suites have each been assigned a “living concept.”

The first two towers, sporting the Vertigo and the Hypercubes concepts, were completed in 2009 and 2010 respectively. They have been handed over to the homeowners and are now occupied.

Vogue, the reason for the cocktail do, will be handed over in early 2012.

The showpiece for this tower’s Concentrico living concept, named after the concentric circles of a tree trunk, is set out on the 31st floor. It was also where dinner was served for the guests invited to “experience” the showpiece.

The Gardens of Concentrico features three main layers of a “jungle.”

The top layer is formed by 52 Leopard Trees, the second layer consists of 80 tree ferns and 45 wild water plums, while the last layer is made up of 20 species of low shrubs and ground covers. The amount of soil used for this “jungle in the sky” could fill 75 six-tonne lorries.

At the far corners of this sky lounge, which has a built-up of 6,240sq ft, are platforms called Podium Panorama furnished with hammocks for residents to chill, shoot the breeze or just enjoy the vista.

Fun in the water: Gardens of Concentrico includes a hydro-gym in a heated pool. — Pix courtesy of SC SHEKAR

There is also an open-air theatrette, whimsically named Cinema Paradiso, a mere stroll away.

As if all these are not impressive enough, the designers have achieved a coup of sort by setting up a hydro-gym, the first in a high-rise residential property in Malaysia.

The gym equipment were specially sourced and imported from the UK.

The whole of Vogue Tower has 255 fully furnished one- and two-bedroom suites ranging from 462 to 926sq ft.

Residents have access to all sky lounges in the Verve Suites, including that in the upcoming tower.

The Vertigo sky lounge houses foosball and pool tables, jacuzzi and sauna among other things while Hypercubes features a spa.

The final block, known as Vox Tower and near sold out, is expected to be completed in 2014.

It will have 250 units of 462sq ft to 1,394sq ft, the largest of which will consist of three bedrooms.

Sitting atop them, on the 34th floor, will be a — believe it or not — sky beach!

Preview is open for Vox Tower. For details, visit

By The Star

Unique landscape for condos

A PRE-launch ceremony for the Se terra — boutique homes — and a Night of Appreciation was recently held to thank associates, consultants, bankers and lawyers for its success.

Hosted by property developer Briswood Sdn Bhd, more than 100 guests attended the occasion, which was held at its showroom located along Jalan Masjid in Kayu Ara, Petaling Jaya.

Se terra promises a breathtaking landscape, which is one of its unique selling point.

Sprawled over 0.6ha of land, Se terra consists of low-density leasehold condominiums designed to provide a secured living set in natural surroundings.

Informative: Briswood Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Kee Cheng Teik (left) talking to potential buyers at Se terra’s pre-launch ceremony.

The living space per unit ranges from 1,813 sq ft to 3,778 sq ft.

Each unit (standard and duplex) has a private lift lobby with the living and dining spaces opening onto a balcony that oversees a beautiful landscape.

The double kitchen area is made for families to spend quality time during mealtimes or for those who love to cook.

One need not incur additional costs for an expensive kitchen cabinet as each unit comes with a fully outfitted kitchen.

Comfortable abode: A place for play and study in the children’s bedroom.

Each unit has four bedrooms — a master bedroom, children’s room, guestroom and maid’s room.

Every bedroom has an attached bathroom with modern fixtures.

The duplex units, which is 3,568 sq ft in size, offers space across two levels. Perched above are the 5,744 sq ft penthouse units.

The entrance leads you to the centre of the penthouse with a living room for unwinding or entertaining, while the dining area overlooks an outdoor garden with water features.

The development is equipped with facilities such as an infinity pool, wading pool, barbeque area, an outdoor gymnasium, children’s playground, a multipurpose hall, parking bays and utility storage areas.

Se terra is located within Bandar Utama with access to Damansara-Puchong, NKVE and Sprint highways.

It is close to 1Utama, Centrepoint, Tropicana City Mall, The Curve, Ikea and Ikano Power Centre.

For those who to love golf, Bandar Utama Golf Course and the Tropicana Golf and Country Club are also nearby.

The smallest unit is priced at RM1.3mil, while units from 3,778 sq ft onwards is priced at RM2mil and above.

Se terra is designed by HMSK Architecture.

The project is expected to be completed by 2013.

By The Star

Three-in-one offering in Puchong for potential buyers

TAMAN Tasik Prima in Puchong will soon become a lively place when The Wharf Residence makes its debut soon.

The residences which comprises of three blocks of waterfront apartments by Bolton Berhad is located on a 6.07ha tract as part of the area’s development plans.

The project has a mix of residential and commercial developments.

Smart offerings: The public taking a closer look at The Wharf Residence.

“The first is the The Wharf Residence comprises three blocks of high-rise towers featuring 1,002 high end apartment units overlooking Tasik Prima, followed by the integrated three-in-one development which has boutique showroom offices, flexi suites a retail mall,” said Bolton Berhad executive director Chan Wing Kwong during the launch of Tower 8 — the first of the three The Wharf Residence’s towers.

The tower features 334 units with a built-up area ranging from 795 sq ft to 1,173 sq ft.

With a starting price of RM275,130, The Wharf Residence also provides owners with facilities such as swimming pools, a gymnasium, a playground, a yoga zone, a jogging track and a garden.

Chan said a unique feature of the apartment units was the introduction of an external storage room on each floor.

“There is one storage room for every unit which you can turn it into a store room,” he added.

Check it out: Bolton Bhd sales general manager Pamela Tan pointing to the available units for the Wharf Residence.

Besides the apartment units, the public also had a sneak peek into the BizWalk comprising 32 units of three-storey boutique showroom offices.

The offices were launched in August last year and had sold out since.

However, Chan said Bolton plans to follow-up the success with the launch of specially-designed flexi suites, a two-in-one commercial offering.

“The flexi suites can be used as an office and a residential space as well.

“You can stay in one and operate your office in the other or you can even rent it out,” said Chan.

As for the retail mall, it has a gross floor area of 506,510 sq ft and some 1,296 parking bays.

When completed, the mall will also see a link bridge from the apartment blocks.

Chan also shared that the mall will also be incorporating green features such as using less energy, less treated water, thus reducing chemical footprint in general.

The Wharf Residence show unit at the Bolton Studio sales gallery in Taman Tasik Prima Puchong is open seven days a week between 9am and 6pm.

For details, call 03-7844 6333/8068 4030.

If you have upcoming projects, property sales previews or launches to highlight, e-mail us at

By The Star

Dijaya Q3 revenue up 28% on strong sales

KUALA LUMPUR: Dijaya Corp Bhd registered a 28.2% increase in revenue to RM89.2mil for its third quarter ended Sept 30, 2011 from RM62.2mil in the previous corresponding period.

The company attributed this to the strong sales performance and recognition of progress billings from its project launches.

“The increase in revenue and improvement in operational results was mainly due to higher profit margin contributions from its new property launches such as Tropicana Grande golf-fronted condominiums and Casa Tropicana final Block E condominium at Tropicana Golf & Country Resort as well as villas at Tropicana Indah Resort Homes,” it said in a statement Bursa Malaysia.

Due to accounting standards, Dijaya has also made a fair value adjustment on marketable securities of RM22.3mil which had caused it to record a technical net loss of RM12.84mil. Excluding this fair value adjustment, Dijaya had registered an adjusted profit after tax and minority interest (Patmi) of RM9.5mil from RM5.6mil previously.

Meanwhile, year-to-date revenue rose by 14.3% to RM217.5mil from RM190.3mil before. The year-to-date Patmi was RM26.1mil, which represented a RM17.4mil increase from the previous corresponding period’s RM8.7mil.

Dijaya’s CEO Tan Sri Danny Tan Chee Sing expects the company to continue posting improved numbers moving forward based on the current set of results and the good location of the company’s current and upcoming new developments.

“Dijaya now owns sizeable land bank worth RM28bil in GDV spread across the main cities in Peninsular Malaysia to be launched in the near future. Dijaya now has its footprint in central, southern and northern regions, which are the major property development area. With all these projects in the pipeline, we are poised for growth,” Tan said.

By The Star

More than 200 Bungalows left to rot

Nobody’s home: An abandoned unit covered with thick undergrowth next to an occupied residential unit in the Rasah Kemayan township.

The Rasah Kemayan (RK) housing estate has now become a ghost town with more than 200 bungalows left abandoned, some with real estate banners hanging over the gates for years while others are slowly being swallowed by thick undergrowth.

All the bungalows come with huge compounds and some have been renovated extensively into large mansions.

Retiree Luciano Charles De Silva said there were many bungalows, bought by speculators were now not cared for or maintained.

“Some are well-maintained but have been unoccupied for years,’’ said De Silva, who bought a bungalow because of its strategic location and the Rasah Kemayan golf course.

The housing estate’s proximity to KLIA and talks that a new highway to be built to link to the airport were another reason why many opted to buy their retirement homes here.

“However, now with another new town, Bandar Sri Sendayan near Rasah Kemayan would turn this once quiet and peaceful residential housing area into a ghost town.

“More houses are being vacated and people moving out recently for better homes in other well-planned townships,’’ said De Silva.

He said the thick undergrowth had become a home for snakes, monitor lizards and rodents.

And due to the large number of abandoned houses, security has also become a problem with increasing number of thefts.

The residents once pooled their resources to build a two-storey guardhouse at a cost of RM15,000 in view of the increasing number of thefts and burglaries and to help control traffic in the residential area.

However, the guardhouse is also abandoned and there is no control over traffic movement into the area.

By The Star

SP Setia denies London deal

Kuala Lumpur: Property developer SP Setia Bhd rebuffed claims that it has agreed terms with Irish group Real Estate Opportunities to take control of London’s landmark Battersea Power Station and fund a RM27.2 billion redevelopment of the site.

It said the lenders to the site, Lloyds Banking Group plc and the National Asset Management Agency, did not intend to engage further on its preliminary offer in a letter dated November 23 this year.

SP Setia, however, said it “still firmly believes that property development prospects in London are positive”.

“Accordingly, the group will continue to look out for and assess other possibilities to invest, via strategic partnerships and landbanking opportunities,in this exciting market,” it said in a reply to a Bursa Malaysia query yesterday.

By Business Times

SP Setia cancels London project

PETALING JAYA: SP Setia Bhd confirmed that it was in talks with Irish group Real Estate Opportunities (REO) to acquire a stake in the redevelopment of the Battersea Power Station in south London but the deal had fallen through as the creditors of REO had rejected its preliminary offer.

In an announcement to Bursa Malaysia yesterday, SP Setia said the lenders, Lloyds Banking Group Plc (Lloyds) and the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), had in a letter dated Nov 23, informed SP Setia that they did not intend to engage further on SP Setia's preliminary offer.

The property group said it had on Nov 18 instructed its investment adviser to submit a conditional non-binding preliminary offer to acquire from Lloyds and NAMA, the senior debt facilities and the swap exposure and other related claims in the Battersea Power Station site and its holding company for 262mil (RM1.3bil).

“The preliminary offer was conditional upon satisfactory results from a technical, environmental, financial, corporate, tax and legal due diligence exercise to be carried out on the opportunity, and results of the detailed due diligence being presented to SP Setia's board and shareholders for approval,” it added.

SP Setia said its preliminary offer was made in the ordinary course of the group's activities to always seek out good opportunities in both local and selected international markets to expand its operations.

An official from SP Setia told StarBiz that the group had decided not to pursue the deal or make another offer.

Despite the deal having fallen through, SP Setia said it still believed that property development prospects in London were positive and would continue to look out and assess other possibilities to invest via strategic partnerships and landbanking opportunities there.

“Our recent success in penetrating the competitive Australian property market with the launch of our Fulton Lane project in Melbourne's central business district has also given us the confidence to explore other strategic global cities where the group's branding and strong customer base can be effectively deployed.”

An analyst with a bank-backed brokerage said the redevelopment of the Battersea power station would continue to be challenging given the need to set aside funds to conserve the derelict power station.

“There is a plan to link the site to the London Underground station, of which REO must agree on a 600mil financing terms. It is not certain whether the funding for the London Underground station has been sorted out.

“Plus the presence of a waste transfer station and a cement plant on the river frontage would make the development even more challenging,” he added.

Another analyst said if SP Setia had clinched the deal, it would be a shot in the arm for the group to take its brand to the global market.

“The location of the site in the border of London's Zone 1 and Zone 2 is strategic, given that London is still attracting massive foreign funds to invest in its real estate market.” The analyst said SP Setia could still shop around for other development opportunities in London.

Its healthy financial position with a net gearing ratio of only 0.2 times would afford it the opportunity to leverage on more bank borrowings for its expansion to the United Kingdom, he added.

By The Star

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Developers offer houses that comply with Vasthu

HOUSING developers in the country offer over 70% of ready-built houses which comply with Vasthu Sastra (Indian feng shui) and are auspicious for occupancy, said Sunday Star columnist T. Selva.

He said his survey showed that builders were incorporating geomancy values in their construction and many houses were now built on a rectangular or square plot, which was favourable.

“I believe developers are more aware of buyers’ demands to incorporate ancient sciences of construction like Vasthu and feng shui in their designs,” he said, adding that Vasthu was a 5,000-year-old science which focused on harmonious living.

However, Selva noted that problems arose when property owners made alterations and renovations on the built-up area or land to match their convenience and comfort without taking into account the effects to the environment and the dweller.

“Some extensions are favourable and some are not, depending on which sector of the plot is extended or cut,’’ said Selva, who is the author of the Vasthu Sastra Guide book.

He will present a talk titled “How to choose an auspicious property and using pyramids to attact positive energy” at 2pm on Sunday at The Star Property Fair 2011 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC). Admission is free.

The talk is among the highlights of Malaysia’s Premier Fair for stylish living, organised by Star Publications (M) Bhd.

The mega event promises an array of new property launches, irresistible package deals and attractive rebates offered by major developers.

Selva said Vasthu was the equivalent of architecture plus a result-oriented science to ensure harmony.

Sharing insights into Vasthu, Selva said that if the north-east corner of the land was cut, it would be regarded as inauspicious and would affect the family growth and ancestry.

“North-east is given a lot of importance in Vasthu because the cosmic rays hit the earth at the north-east corner of the earth,” he noted.

At the talk on Vasthu, Selva will be giving away mini pyramids to attract subtle positive energy to participants.

The nine pyramids embedded in the micro-pyramid are powerful energy enhancers and those having them will enjoy improved dynamism.

The pyramids, imported from India, will be given away to the first 100 participants attending the talk which will also see Selva explaining the science of pyramid power.

“The pyramid has been known from ancient times as a powerful design that connects to energy forces and its shape is identified with healing qualities,” he said.

He said one of the pyramid’s main functions was to remove or recycle stagnated and negative energy and focus on harmonising energies.

“Pyramids are gaining popularity in homes as means of enhancing energy flow, particularly in homes that are governed by dullness.

For details on the fair, call 03-79671388 ext 1165 or 1168.

By The Star

Pavilion REIT expected to raise RM710m from IPO

KUALA LUMPUR: Pavilion Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), a shopping mall trust part-owned by Qatar Investment Authority, is raising RM710 million in an initial public offering (IPO), two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The company plans to sell units at 90 sen apiece to institutions and at 88 sen to retail investors, said the people, who asked not to be identified as pricing details are private.

Pavilion REIT had marketed the units at 88 sen to 90 sen.

The IPO will be the Southeast Asian nation's fourth biggest this year, after share sales by Bumi Armada Bhd, UOA Development Bhd and MSM Malaysia Bhd.

Pavilion REIT said earlier this month it is seeking acquisitions within the country and throughout Asia.

Pavilion REIT, which is expected to list next month, owns the Pavilion mall and an adjacent office tower in the capital's Bukit Bintang area.

The mall, with a gross floor area of 2.2 million square feet, has an appraised value of RM3.4 billion as of June 1, according to its prospectus, and houses luxury retailers including Bulgari SpA and Prada SpA.

Qatar Investment Authority will be the single largest owner of Pavilion REIT with a 36 per cent stake, according to its pros-pectus.

The trust aims to start trading in Kuala Lumpur on December 7. Pavilion REIT plans to pay out at least 90 per cent of its distributable income on a half-yearly basis from 2012, it said.

From the listing date to December 31 2012, it will distribute 100 per cent of its income.

CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, Malayan Banking Bhd and Credit Suisse Group AG are among managers of the sale. Bloomberg

Pavilion REIT owns the Pavilion mall that has a gross floor area of 2.2 million sq ft and an appraised value of RM3.4 billion as of June 1.

By Business Times

Pavilion REIT IPO oversubscribed

PETALING JAYA: The retail offering of Pavilion Real Estate Investment Trust’s (REIT) initial public offering (IPO) has been oversubscribed by 7.5 times. Total demand for its institutional book, excluding allocation for cornerstone investors, was oversubscribed by about 28 times.

The price for institutional investors was fixed at 90 sen per unit, while the final retail price is 88 sen. The IPO is expected to raise RM710mil.

En route to a listing on Dec 7, Pavilion REIT is issuing 790 million new shares or 26.3% of its total issued units upon listing. This comprises 755 million shares offered to institutional investors, and the rest came under the retail offering.

By The Star

SAAG in talks on RM600mil Tamil Nadu project

PETALING JAYA: SAAG Consolidated (M) Bhd said it is in the final stages of clinching a contract worth more than RM600mil to build houses in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia yesterday, the group said its India-listed subsidiary SAAG RR Infra Ltd is presently in advanced stage of negotiations with the main licensee of the affordable housing project in India which has the rights for the German technology to build 60,000 solar-powered affordable homes per annum for Tamil Nadu.

“SAAG RR has built seven model homes, financed by the main licensee, which are ready to be handed over by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to the underprivileged shortly,” it said, adding that appropriate announcements would be made if and when the project was awarded to SAAG RR.

SAAG RR would have the rights to manufacture, assemble and sell composite panels for the houses.

The Tamil Nadu government is expected to fund the project and construction works are expected to start by year-end, of which about 180,000 rupees (RM11,112) will be allocated for the construction of each house.

By The Star

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pavilion REIT said to raise RM710m IPO

Pavilion Real Estate Investment Trust, a Malaysian shopping mall trust part-owned by Qatar Investment Authority, is raising RM710 million (US$223 million) in an initial public offering, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The company plans to sell units at 90 sen apiece to institutions and at 88 sen to retail investors, said the people, who asked not to be identified as pricing details are private. Pavilion REIT had marketed the units at 88 sen to 90 sen.

The IPO will be the Southeast Asian nation’s fourth biggest this year, after share sales by Bumi Armada Bhd, UOA Development Bhd. and MSM Malaysia Bhd. Pavilion REIT said earlier this month it’s seeking acquisitions within the country and throughout Asia.

Kuala Lumpur-based Pavilion REIT, which is expected to list next month, owns the Pavilion mall and an adjacent office tower in the capital’s Bukit Bintang area, which Malaysia is developing to rival Singapore’s Orchard Road. The mall, with a gross floor area of 2.2 million square feet, has an appraised value of RM3.4 billion as of June 1, according to its prospectus, and houses luxury retailers including Bulgari SpA and Prada SpA.

Qatar Investment Authority will be the single largest owner of Pavilion REIT with a 36 percent stake, according to its prospectus. The trust aims to start trading in Kuala Lumpur on Dec. 7.

Pavilion REIT plans to pay out at least 90 per cent of its distributable income on a half-yearly basis from 2012, it said. From the listing date to Dec. 31, 2012, it will distribute 100 per cent of its income. CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, Malayan Banking Bhd and Credit Suisse Group AG are among managers of the sale.

By Bloomberg

China to ease property curbs

SHANGHAI: China will likely relax some property market curbs next year due to concerns that slumping prices could hurt economic growth, a prominent Chinese university said in a report.

China has introduced a range of measures aimed at bringing down property prices in the last year, such as bans on buying second homes in some cities, hiking minimum downpayments for buyers and introducing property taxes.

But Beijing-based Renmin University has forecast that the government would likely relax limits on bank lending to the property sector and purchases of new homes in the third quarter of 2012, according to a report published in the state-run China Securities Journal.

Industry officials and analysts are divided over when the government might ease curbs, originally put in place to cool the red-hot property sector after a surge in prices put homes out of the reach of many.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao recently dashed hopes of any change in the short term, saying housing prices should return to “reasonable levels”.

But cash-strapped local governments were heavily reliant on revenue from land sales, and the central government would likely intervene to prevent property prices from falling more than 25%, Renmin University said.

Property investment was also a contributor to economic growth, so Beijing might act to help ensure gross domestic product (GDP) growth which created jobs and prevented social unrest remained strong, it said.

The prestigious university's economic research institute forecast annual GDP growth of 9.2% in 2012, against an estimated 9.4% in 2011.

Official data showed the number of major Chinese cities posting a drop in home prices doubled to 34 in October from September, in a sign efforts to cool the country's surging property market are working.

Housing prices in the capital Beijing, commercial hub Shanghai and the southern cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen among the most speculative markets all fell slightly in October from September, figures showed.

The report said property prices and sales volume were likely to continue to fall through the first quarter of 2012, but it ruled out a large-scale selloff and a hard landing for the economy.


52% of London office blocks owned mostly by German and US investors in 2011

LONDON: British investors own less than half the office properties in London city's financial hub, with foreign ownership of towers such as the Gherkin likely to continue, a report said.

Property company Development Securities said that 52% of city office blocks were foreign owned in 2011, up from 8% in 1980, with German and US investors hiking their stakes considerably over that period.

“City offices are perceived to offer quality and transparency, a safe haven for foreign buyers who have in turn deepened liquidity in the market,” chief executive Michael Marx said in the report, Who Owns the City.

IPD figures show property values fell 50% during the global financial meltdown to August 2009, subsequently rebounding 25%, creating a buying opportunity for cash-rich investors such as sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, insurance firms and real-estate investment companies.

“Traditional owners livery companies, institutions, established property companies have experienced a sharp decline in city office ownership,” Development Securities said, noting these investors now held 17% of the office stock, from 29% in 2005.

In their place, German investors hiked their market share to 16%, from 1% in 1980. US investors held 10%, from zero, while Middle East investors weighed in at 6%, from 3%, the survey found.

The 180m tall Gherkin tower, so-called because of its shape and one of the most distinctive in the city, has been part owned by German property behemoth IVG Immobilien since 2007.

Foreign ownership increased during the global financial crisis, Development Securities said, noting the changing dynamics of globalisation and international investment would continue to be reflected in city office ownership.

“Such resilience would appear all the more remarkable in the light of the city's associations with the failures of the international financial system. What offsets the systemic risk in relation to the city's lack of diversification is the exceptional liquidity that characterises its office market,” it said.

The Development Securities survey also showed the changing profile of owners, with a growing trend towards private ownership by high net worth individuals.

In terms of functional ownership, 41% of the office space was owned by companies in the finance, insurance and real estate sectors, and 57% by financial and business services firms.

By Reuters

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

IJM Land set to launch "Canal City" project

SINGAPORE: IJM Land Bhd, a leading property developer in Malaysia, is set to mount a roadshow to launch the "Canal City" project in the Klang Valley early next year.

Chief executive officer and managing director Datu Soam Heng Choon said:"We are going to launch the "Canal City" in the Klang Valley middle of next year.

"So, we are going on a road show for the launch (of the project) may be by the beginning of the year. "It was called the Canal City last time, but we are going out there (during the roadshow) to give it a rebranding," he told Bernama today.

The project with a gross development value of more than RM10 billion will be sprawled over 800 hectares at the back of the Kota Kemuning and Kota Permai Golf Course in Shah Alam, Selangor.

"The design will be based on the green city concept. It is one of the the first green township that we are developing and the project will be one of the first few big green townships in Malaysia" he added.

Soam said the project, comprising a mixed township of commercial and residential components, would be fully completed within 12 and 15 years.

Touching on the city concept, Soam said a water and canal feature would be incorporated to run through the entire development.

On the probability of looking for investors, Soam said:"Not so much because we already have experience in carrying out township developments.

"We actually have township and niche project developments like "The Light Waterfront Penang" project," he said.

Spread over 60 hectares, the RM5.5 billion iconic waterfront development will comprise residential and commercial components complete with 100 per cent fibre optic infrastructure.

Soam said IJM Land was currently undertaking projects in Penang, Klang Valley, Johor, Sabah and Kuching.

Currently, IJM Land has a landbank exceeding 4,000 hectares with a gross development value of more than RM20 billion to be realised over 20 years.

By Bernama

Malaysia property sector remains buoyant

Despite talk of a recession, the Malaysia property scene is still buoyant with many people wanting to buy homes, especially in the city centre and in Johor. country manager Steven Tan said there is a lot of interest among overseas investors to buy homes in Malaysia via the Malaysia My Second Home programme, especially in places like Sabah, Kuala Lumpur and Johor.

“As for Penang, the trend is different as many locals are snapping up properties there, mostly luxury condos,” Tan said in an interview with Business Times.

He added that another emerging trend in the Penang property market was that in recent months, there has been a lot of interest among Singapore investors to snap up heritage buildings on the island.

“You will be surprised that after Malaysians and Singaporeans, the third most visits we get for our website are the Europeans,”
he said.

On HomeGuru’s recently concluded survey, in which some 2,800 people were interviewed on the local property market, Tan said 63 per cent of the respondents felt that properties across the board in Malaysia were expensive.

The survey also revealed that 78 per cent of the respondents felt that bungalows were the most expensive type of property.
Tan added that some 18 per cent of the respondents also indicated that they were planning to invest overseas in the coming months.

HomeGuru is a Singapore company which has been in Malaysia for slightly under a year. Its 11-month-old website has about three million visitors a month, Tan said, adding the Malaysian HomeGuru website has over 10,000 agents with more than 70,000 properties to buy and sell.

HomeGuru is the second most popular property portal in the country, but it holds pole position in three other countries, namely Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.

By Business Times