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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New landmark for Kuching

An artist's impression of the Batu Lintang project that will change the skyline of Kuching.

KUCHING: Kuching skyline is set to change with the construction of a 36-storey office tower in the prime area of Batu Lintang.

The proposed tower will beat the city's tallest building, the 22-storey Wisma Bapa Malaysia in Petra Jaya which now houses the Chief Minister's office, several ministries and the state secretariat.

The tower is part of Sarawak's biggest mixed-development project jointly undertaken by Naim Holdings Bhd with Lembaga Amanah Kebajikan Masjid Negeri Sarawak (LAKMNS) and Tabung Baitulmal Sarawak (TBS), both state charitable trusts.

Naim has a 70% stake in the joint venture while LAKMNS and TBS each holds a 15% equity interest. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the project was signed recently.

Naim managing director Datuk Hasmi Hasnan said other components of the 13.6ha project were a 27-storey apartment, 18-storey condominium, a second office-tower block, hotel tower, a four-storey shopping mall, a 17,000-sq-ft showroom and multi-storey car parks.

'We will incorporate a water theme park, roof garden and plenty of green areas to make the development environment friendly and one that the local population can enjoy,'' he added.

The project site was previously occupied by government quarters. The land has been cleared and earth-filling works was completed recently.

Hasmi said the project would be carried out in phases over 20 years, with the apartments to be built first. The apartment block will have 115 units and the condominium 216 units.

“For each phase, we will do in-depth study on market demand and supply to take cognition of any changes in the economic climate to ensure the project's success,'' he said.

Hasmi said the development was expected to create 2,000 jobs and would provide business opportunities to retailers and wholesalers.

By The Star

GAIM seeks to invest more in Iskandar

Berinda Group chief executive officer and Tanjung Bintang group managing director Frank Goon Swee Kheong (right) briefing Johor Baru mayor Jaafar Awang (centre) and Charlie Taka on the Molek Pine 3 Tower.

The Macau firm has just acquired two condo blocks there for RM200mil

JOHOR BARU: Global Asia Investment (Macau) Ltd (GAIM) is looking to invest in more property projects in Iskandar Malaysia following its initial foray into Johor Baru market.

Chief executive officer Charlie Taka said the prospects in Iskandar Malaysia were good and the company wanted to benefit from long-term growth of Malaysia's first economic growth corridor.

Headquartered in Macau, GAIM is an asset-building consulting company with 10,000 members. It assists its clients, who are mostly Japanese, in investing overseas.

“Iskandar's close proximity to Singapore and its strategic location in the region is the major selling point to attract investors from all over the world,'' Taka told StarBiz at the ground-breaking ceremony of Molek Pine Tower 3 project here recently.

He said like Chinas' Shenzhen, which benefitted from the economic spillover of Hong Kong and Macau, Iskandar would benefit from Singapore's position as an international trade and financial centre.

He expects Iskandar to be fully developed in 10 years although Iskandar Regional Development Authority, under its Comprehensive Development Plan, has set a target for the economic corridor to become an international metropolis in 2025.

Meanwhile, GAIM has purchased the two condominium blocks at Molek Pine Tower 3 from Tanjung Bintang Sdn Bhd for RM200mil. The blocks would be used for its “Malaysia My Second Home” programme for its Japanese clients.

The project comprises a 28-storey tower block with 212 units and a six-storey block with 36 units on a 2.42ha site in Taman Molek.

The units will have built-up areas of 1,300 to 2,300 sq ft. The condo, with selling price from RM500,000, is expected to be completed in two years.

It is being developed by Tanjung Bintang, a unit of the Berinda Group, which in turn is a property development arm of the Kuok Group. Taman Molek was launched in 1990 and now has about 5,000 residential and commercial units.

“With European and the US economies still have a long way to recover and Japan's economy not in a good shape either, we are focusing on China and Asean countries for investments,'' said Taka.

He said GAIM would look at several options when investing in Iskandar including joint ventures with local partners, buying properties en bloc and acquiring stakes in companies.

Taka said apart from Iskandar, the company also had property investments in Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

GAIM, which has a revolving fund of RM500mil, has similar investments in Canada, China, Cambodia, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Thailand, the United States and the Philippines.

By The Star

Abu Dhabi's Tasweek buys Superboom stake

Abu Dhabi-based Tasweek Real Estate Marketing and Development is buying a minority interest in property developer Superboom Projects Sdn Bhd.

Superboom is developing the RM250 million high-end condominium project named The Haven Lakeside Residences in Ipoh, Perak.

The deal was signed last weekend. Superboom chief executive officer Peter Chan declined to specify the stake size nor the amount paid by Tasweek.

"This is a strategic alliance between us and Tasweek to take on more projects in Malaysia. They were very impressed with our development and have decided to invest in Malaysia," said Chan.

He added that the group will provide funds for the project and market the units in the Middle East.

The deal comes just a week after Superboom appointed Best Western International Inc, one of the world's largest hotel chains, to manage, market and lease the units internationally.

Set for completion in 2013, The Haven will see its three 26-storey towers with 165 units each becoming the tallest buildings in Perak.

China's Beijing Construction & Engineering and Bina Puri Holdings Bhd have been given a contract worth RM109 million to construct the buildings.

According to Chan, 85 per cent of Block A and 60 per cent of Block C have been sold to property investors in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Europe and the Middle East in the last nine months.

Block B was launched last weekend and he expects half of the building to be sold within three to six months.

Buyers are attracted to The Haven as it overlooks a 1.6ha private natural lake with running water, a 14-storey high monolithic limestone rock formation, and the existing 280 million-year-old limestone hills.

The Haven is aimed to be among the first developments to embark on all feasible avenues of harvesting nature's renewable and sustainable resources such as wind, water, bio-gas and pro-active mechanical resources to power and maintain common areas.

By Business Times

Sunway REIT targets RM7bil asset value

PETALING JAYA: Sunway REIT Management Sdn Bhd, the manager for Sunway REIT, is looking to make some sizeable and meaningful asset acquisitions in the medium term and widen the REIT's presence in the country.

Datuk Jeffrey Ng says one of the acquisitions involved a shopping mall from a third party vendor. However, he expects more competition for good assets, especially with the emergence of more well capitalised REITs in the country.

Chief executive officer Datuk Jeffrey Ng said one of the acquisitions involved a shopping mall from a third party vendor.

Ng said one of the growth plans for Sunway REIT was to expand its asset value to RM7bil in the next five to seven years.

However, he expected more competition for good assets, especially with the emergence of more well capitalised REITs in the country.

“Besides shopping for good assets from third parties, Sunway REIT also has the first right of refusal for Sunway City Bhd's (SunCity) assets which guarantees a ready pipeline of assets for injection into the trust,” he told StarBiz.

Among the new commercial projects underway by SunCity include a number of office towers and office cum retail projects in the Klang Valley.

A new commercial project, Sunway Velocity in Cheras will feature office suites, service apartments, and a shopping mall.

“Sunway REIT will remain as a a retail-focused REIT with an asset portfolio that comprises 60% of retail assets and the balance will be a mix of hospitality, office buildings and other commercial assets,” Ng added.

The trust's eight assets are Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall, Sunway Carnival Shopping Mall, SunCity Ipoh Hypermarket, Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa, Pyramid Tower Hotel, Sunway Hotel Seberang Jaya, Menara Sunway and Sunway Tower.

Sunway REIT was listed on Bursa Malaysia on July 8 last year.

For the second quarter ended Dec 31, 2010, Sunway REIT recorded gross revenue of RM85.3mil compared with RM72.4mil in the previous quarter. Net property income rose to RM62.8mil from RM55.2mil previously.

The trust would be paying 1.75 sen per unit to its unitholders, a 15.9% increase over the payout in the first quarter.

Total income for distribution amounted to RM46.9mil from realised net profit of RM44.7mil, which is equivalent to a 105% payout ratio.

Ng said the strong second quarter performance was mainly due to a 17.1% increase in the rental renewal rates for the next three years in Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall.

“The vibrancy of and business synergy within Sunway Integrated Resort City (previously Bandar Sunway) is a key driver to the double-digit rental growth recorded for the retail space at Sunway Pyramid,” he said.

Ng said the rental reversion of Sunway REIT's portfolio of 16% was stronger than other REITs in the country and the improved performance starting this quarter would flow through to unitholders over the coming years.

An analyst with a local brokerage said it was important for Sunway REIT to pursue a consistent asset acquisition strategy to enhance its yield accretive potential.

“It must buy assets that offer potential for higher net lettable area and spruce up the properties to improve the rental rates. Sunway REIT is pretty much a yield play and unitholders mostly invest in the REIT for its dividend yield of 7% to 8% a year,” the analyst added.

By The Star