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Monday, July 25, 2011

For Hua Yang, it all starts with good homes

Hua Yang CEO Ho Wen Yan's ambition does not differ from the founder of the company, none other than his late father, Ho Mok Heng, who aspired to build quality homes in strategic locations that were affordable for everyone.

KUALA LUMPUR: Hua Yang Bhd is on a drive is to see the country does well by providing good homes for first-time buyers.

"From the first house, the buyer can build a family unit, who will then develop the nation. It all starts with having a good home," said Hua Yang chief executive officer (CEO) Ho Wen Yan.

Ho's ambition does not differ from the founder of the company, none other than his late father, Ho Mok Heng. Mok Heng aspired to build quality homes in strategic locations that were affordable for everyone.

From the first project, comprising eight units of four-storey shops in Ipoh, Perak, the group expanded to other states. Today, it has completed over 10,000 commercial and residential units worth RM1.2 billion.

As a trained architect, Ho is very passionate about buildings and urban planning.

Ho, who holds a Masters of Science degree in Construction Economics and Management from University College London, practiced architecture in the UK prior to joining Hua Yang. In 2003, he was made Hua Yang's project coordinator in Johor and promoted to chief operating officer in June 2007.

Come next month, it will be a year since Ho has led as the group's CEO.

"Here, we treat everyone as equal ... Everyone drives the business for the company," he said.

Married with one child, 37-year- old Ho likens his job to a cheerleader. "My role is to support them (employees), so that they can produce good work for the company."

He believes that Hua Yang has the right balance of experiences and perspectives to expand further.

"We have a right balance as the board consists of more senior people, while the younger people are on the operation side," he said.

He himself taps the experience of those who have served the company longer than him. "As a young CEO, it gives me a different perspective and drive," he said.

Ho's emphasis in family life and health are reflected in the group's activities, which involve sports and family outings.

By Business Times

Hua Yang targets maiden home buyers

Kuala Lumpur: Property developer Hua Yang Bhd is banking on strong demand for affordable houses from Malaysia's large young population to more than double its revenue to over RM500 million by 2015.

While most property developers are targeting high-end market to ride on the rising income of Malaysians, Hua Yang prefers to focus on the niche, untapped market of medium-cost properties.

Chief executive officer Ho Wen Yan said the company wants to fill the gap in the industry by providing affordable quality homes, especially to first-time home buyers and be a leading affordable housing market player.

"The loan-to-value ratio of 70 per cent for housing loans will not impact our target market (first-time home buyers)," he told Business Times in an interview recently.

Backed by 30 years experience in property development, Hua Yang has built over 10,000 units of commercial and residential worth RM1.2 billion.

The company is currently involved in a dozen projects throughout the country with an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM650 million.

The total GDV for this year will reach RM1 billion inclusive of project launches until year-end, Ho said.

He said the group has a 314.8ha of undeveloped land with a GDV of RM2.2 billion. Its landbank is located in Selangor, Johor, Perak and Negri Sembilan.

Ho said Hua Yang posted strong growth in the past three years as the take-up rate is almost 100 per cent for each project. He attributed this to rising awareness and trust among buyers on the company's products.

For the year ended March 31 2011, Hua Yang reported RM25.2 million net profit on the back of RM188.9 million revenue, up 82 per cent and 118 per cent from the net profit and revenue achieved in the previous year.

Ho said the company's profit margin is comparable with other developers because Hua Yang controls the land cost and construction process, thus enhancing the efficiency.

"Everything is tendered out on competitive basis and everyone in the company is professional, so we have already cut the inefficiency," he said. The company also practises zero-stock policy, where it only has less than 1 or 2 per cent of unsold stock.

For this year, Ho is optimistic that Hua Yang will do better than in 2010.

This is due to more project launches by the company, strong demand for affordable houses and active property market.

"Generally, demand (in the property market) is still stable. When the economy is good, demand goes up and when the economy is down, the demand falls," he said.

He acknowledged that the government's My First Home Scheme will contribute further to Hua Yang's growth as the banking sector is more prepared to give out loans to home buyers.

Launched in March this year, the scheme allows the younger generation earning less than RM3,000 per month to obtain 100 per cent financing from selected financial institutions for houses costing between RM100,000 and RM220,000 with a repayment period of 30 years.

Ho said Hua Yang is keen to work with the government in building affordable houses under the scheme.

"If the government thinks that affordable housing is an important sector, we are comforted that we are in this segment," he added.

By Business Times

SP Setia buys 40pc of KL Eco City for RM75m

KUALA LUMPUR: Property developer SP Setia Bhd has proposed to acquire 40 per cent equity interest in KL Eco City Sdn Bhd(KLEC) from Yayasan Gerakbakti Kebangsaan for RM75 million.

The acquisition will be through the issuance of 19,379,845 new ordinary shares of RM0.75 each in SP Setia at an issue price of RM3.87 per share, SP Setia said in a filing to Bursa Malaysia today.

The KLEC project is an integrated commercial and residential development.

The development was master planned by Jerde Partnership, an international award-winning architect and master planner well-known for integrated mixed-use commercial and residential developments.

"The management of SP Setia believes that in addition to the integrated master planning by a world-renowned planner and its plan for green accreditation, the development’s key advantages are its strategic location near the affluent Bangsar area and its connectivity to key roads, highways, the KTM Commuter and the LRT Kelana Jaya lines," it said.

The acquisition resulting in KLEC becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of SP Setia will enable it to reap the full benefits of the project to be developed.

It is also envisaged that a consolidation of KLEC’s shareholding structure would provide SP Setia and its subsidiaries with greater funding flexibility for the KLEC project, it added.

By Bernama

Developers be warned, China's a tough market

KUALA LUMPUR: More developers are venturing into China's property market but their investments may be at risk because of red tape and fears of overheating, analysts say.

A MIDF Research analyst said the China market is a tough one to conquer without good connections with local authorities and partners who can deal with changing rules.

He said this could be the reason why the big boys such as Sunrise Bhd, TA Enterprise Bhd, SP Setia Bhd, Berjaya Land Bhd, Selangor Dredging Bhd, Ireka Corp Bhd and PJ Development Holdings Bhd are investing in Canada, Australia, the UK, Singapore and Japan as risk is less.

LBS Bina Group Bhd recently said it aims to launch its maiden property project in Zhuhai, worth RM7.5 billion, in 2012.

The project was mooted more than five years ago and according to a property industry observer, LBS is still having issues with the government.

"Bureaucracy in China is extremely complex, while expansion in the Chinese market represents a significant investment as foreign developers are required to put a 50 per cent deposit on the value of their project with the government.

"And since developers cannot sell their houses until upon completion, they have to fork out money to settle the high interest rates and for keeping stock in the event of unsold properties," said an analyst at OSK Research who is not authorised to speak to the media.

Developers such as Golden Plus Holding Bhd (GPlus) have lost money in China. GPlus' 3 billion yuan housing project in Shanghai, The Royal Garden, had incurred cost and time overruns in the last few years.

The project, which was slated for completion much earlier, now requires two to three more years.

Some other developers who have yet to launch projects planned few years ago include IJM Land Bhd and Sunway Group.

IJM Land has been in talks with various parties for mixed property developments in China's second-tier cities in the last four to five years.

In 2008, IJM Land managing director Datuk Soam Heng Choon said it was planning a RM500 million mixed property project in Changchun.

When contacted recently, Soam told Business Times that IJM Land is aiming to launch the project in 2012, pending approvals.

As for Sunway, it signed in April 2010 a collaboration agreement with Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City Investment and Development Co Ltd to develop a RM5 billion mixed development in Tianjin. The project has not started.

By Business Times