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Monday, December 12, 2011

UDA to build affordable shoplots

ROMPIN: UDA Holdings Bhd will build affordable shoplots at 15 strategic locations with a RM30 million allocation provided by the government.

Its chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said among the locations identified for the "kedai desa" were Kuala Pahang, Kuala Rompin and Mentakab (Pahang); Changkat Jong and Pangkalan Alor (Perak); Muar and Ledang (Johor); Jasin (Malacca); Kuala Pilah (Negeri Sembilan) and Jeli (Kelantan).

He said each location will have between five and eight double-storey units depending on the cost involved and the demand in the areas.

He said the cost for each location would only be RM2 million on average as the sites would be provided by the local authorities.

Construction of each project will only take eight months and once completed, UDA will hand it to the respective local authorities.

The local authority will then let the shoplots to local entrepreneurs at reasonable rates, Nur Jazlan said at the signing of a memorandum of understanding in Rompin, Pahang, yesterday.

By Business Times

Ascott plans to double portfolio in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Singapore-based The Ascott Ltd, the world's largest international serviced residence owner-operator, plans to double its serviced apartment portfolio in Malaysia over the next five years.

Ascott regional general manager for Singapore and Malaysia, Tan Boon Khai said it aims to open one or two properties a year as it is bullish on the market.

"We see Malaysia as a very good market. Although there is economic recession in some countries, Malaysia is holding up," Tan told Business Times.

"There is a lot of foreign investments flowing into Malaysia. This alone will create demand for our properties. The more properties we have, there will be economies of scale," he said.

Ascott aims to own and manage serviced apartments in Sabah and Sarawak, Johor and Penang. It plans to build the properties from scratch, or buy over existing buildings, Tan said.

Currently, Ascott owns and manages Ascott Kuala Lumpur, Somerset Seri Bukit Ceylon and Somerset Ampang. It also manages Marc Service Suites and Tiffani by i-Zen for third parties.

The average occupancy for the five operating properties between January and October 2011 was 62 per cent.

Over the next five years, the group will manage Ascott Sentral Kuala Lumpur (owned by GSB Sentral Sdn Bhd, an associate of MRCB and Gapurna Group); Citadines Uplands Kuching; Citadines D'Pulze Cyberjaya; Somerset Puteri Harbour, (owned by Nusajaya Consolidated Sdn Bhd and a joint venture between United Malayan Land Bhd and UEM Land Bhd); and Somerset Uptown Damansara (owned by See Hoy Chan Sdn Bhd).

"If the owners are keen to sell their serviced apartments, we will consider exploring. The trend is building where people want to stay in serviced apartments during their travel. We will look at all angles to grow," Tan said.

It operates serviced apartments under three brands - Ascott, Citadines and Somerset.

The flagship Ascott-branded properties are premier serviced residences that offer residents discreet service in an exclusive environment.

Citadines serviced residences cater to independent travellers while Somerset serviced residences are designed for business executives who travel with their families.

The Ascott has about 22,000 operating serviced residence units in key cities of Asia Pacific, Europe and the Gulf region.

By Business Times

SYF ready to enter property development business

Kuala Lumpur: Datuk Chee Hong Leong has a growing reputation in the market and he is putting it at stake by driving SYF Resources Bhd into the property development business.

In the meantime, he has also emerged as its second largest shareholder, owning slightly over 10 per cent of the company.
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe that the property business for now is the best model for SYF,” said Chee, who was recently appointed as an executive director.

Chee emerged as a force in the company at the same time as Datuk Chew Lak Seong and Datuk Eric Ong Kook Liong, the two men
behind privately held KIP Group, which is involved in the property business.

The two own just slightly more than 14 per cent of SYF. Chee is banking that by cleaning SYF’s balance sheet, he will be able to take the company to the next level. The spring cleaning of the
balance sheet has helped SYF to post a net profit of RM39.24 million in the first quarter ended October 31, 2011.

Now that the restructuring is done, SYF is hoping that the property development business will become the company’s second core business and help provide it with a stable income stream.
“We are also expecting our timber manufacturing business to post double-digit growth,” said Chee.

A double-digit growth should help the manufacturing business to rake in as much as RM200 million this year.

The margins, according to industry experts, could be as high as 10 per cent due to the flooding in Thailand.

Nevertheless, Chee, who has been involved in the property business for nearly half a decade, felt that it was the property business that would take SYF to the next level.

He added that in the initial stage, SYF would not be depleting its cash reserves, saying that the company would instead enter into joint ventures to help develop properties.

The rationale is that SYF wants to build up its brand name first before undertaking bigger jobs.

"With land ownership, you can't go wrong because as they say 'God don't make land any more'," said Chee, whose goal in the current financial year is to keep SYF as a single-digit Price-to-Earnings company.

By Business Times

Genting to invest RM100m in JPO expansion plan

JOHOR BARU: Genting Bhd plans to invest another RM100mil in the second phase of the expansion plan of the Johor Premium Outlets (JPO) in Kulaijaya, north of Johor Baru.

Genting chairman and Genting Plantations Bhd director and chief executive officer Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay had personally told Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on the group’s plan.

The expansion plan would see an additional 60 new outlets, bringing the total to 130 outlets from 70 presently, and a water theme park.

Genting’s total investment in the project is about RM1bil. Other components in the pipeline include a hotel with 2,000 rooms and hospitality facilities for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions.

“The expansion plan will take place in the near future,” Najib said yesterday at the opening of the JPO, the 70th centre in the Premium Outlets portfolio and the world’s largest collection of upscale outlets centres.

He said the JPO, a project earmarked under the Economic Transformation Programme, would boost the economy via tourism and help transform the industry in Johor as well as the country.

StarBiz learnt that the expansion plan would probably take place either in 2014 or 2015 and Genting’s main focus now was to position JPO as the leading retail outlet in the region.

JPO is the only Premium Outlets centre in South-East Asia. There are 58 other Premium Outlets in the United States, one in Puerto Rico, one in Mexico, eight in Japan and two in South Korea.

Among the brands on the offing at the outlets are Armani, Burberry, Canali, Coach, Ermenegildo Zegna, Guess, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren and Salvatore Ferragamo.

The Premium Outlets is a 50:50 joint venture between Genting Plantations and Premium Outlets, the outlet division of Simon Property Group Inc.

Meanwhile, Lim said JPO would benefit from the Genting group’s expertise in hospitality and marketing to promote the outlets to customers globally.

By The Star