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Friday, December 16, 2011

SP Setia still eyeing UK property mart

SP Setia Bhd is still planning to invest in the UK property market and will be forming a consortium with Malaysian investors after securing projects to help develop them, its chief said.

"We learned a lot of things from our failure (in bidding for a project) in London. Now we know how the system there works. We are not reckless ... we will look at basic valuation for future projects," its president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin said.

SP Setia 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.

The deal fell through as REO creditors REO had rejected its preliminary offer.

SP Setia had on November 18 instructed its investment adviser to submit a conditional non-binding preliminary offer to buy from Lloyds Banking Group plc and the National Asset Management Agency, the senior debt facilities and the swap exposure and other related claims in the Battersea Power Station site and its holding company for around RM1.3 billion.

Liew said despite the aborted deal, SP Setia still believes that property development prospects in London are positive and it will continue looking for investment opportunities.

"Looking at the situation today, we must look out of Malaysia to invest. We must be world leaders like Petronas and Tan Sri Tony Fernandes but don't be reckless in what you plan to do," he said yesterday after SP Setia's extraordinary general meeting (EGM).

Liew said the firm's long-term plan is to seek opportunities to invest in the property market in Australia and Malaysia, besides London.

SP Setia's recent success in penetrating the competitive Australian property market with the launch of its Fulton Lane project in Melbourne's central business district has given the company the confidence to explore other strategic global cities.

"We have no plans for merger and acquisition. We will continue to grow the company by buying land, launching new products and selling them," he said.

SP Setia is targeting RM4 billion in sales for fiscal 2012, driven by local and foreign property sales.

At the EGM, Liew said shareholders agreed to SP Setia's plan to acquire the remaining 40 per cent stake in the RM6 billion KL Eco City project from Yayasan Gerakbakti Kebangsaan.

"Now that we control 100 per cent of KL Eco City, there will be better prospects for SP Setia from this project," he said.

By Business Times

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