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Saturday, April 21, 2012

BLand seeking partners for Great Mall of China

KUALA LUMPUR: Berjaya Land Bhd (BLand) is in talks with several Malaysian and foreign investors to help develop Phase Two of its RM7.5 billion Great Mall of China (GMOC) project in Hebei Province in China.

Its chief executive officer Datuk Francis Ng Sooi Lin said BLand is also seeking funding for the second phase of the project.

BLand is developing the integrated mall complex, the biggest in the world, through Berjaya Great Mall of China Co Ltd (BGMOC).

BGMOC is a 51:49 joint venture between BLand and Berjaya Group founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan, via his private arm Berjaya Times Square Cayman Ltd.

Ng said two of the biggest banks in Malaysia have offered financing of up to US$200 million (RM614 million) each for the phase two development.

"We are also looking at Bank of China for our funding options. We have not made a decision," Ng told Business Times in an interview.

Ng said Phase Two is estimated to cost around RM3 billion and will take three to five years to complete.

The GMOC project will cover over two million sq ft of retail space and feature two hotels, two serviced apartments, office towers, a convention centre, a theatre and a parking complex. There will also be an indoor monorail, three theme parks and aquarium.

Phase Two will comprise the development of hotels, serviced apartments, office towers, convention centre, theatre and monorail. Piling work will begin in June, Ng said.

The phase one construction, comprising a retail and pedestrian mall, three theme parks and parking bays, began in 2010 and is expected to complete by October next year.

BGMOC has a paid-up capital of US$165 million (RM507 million), almost half of which has been utilised for the phase one development.

Ng said the key selling points of the GMOC are the theme parks, the aquarium, the theatre and the 455,000 sq ft convention centre with seating capacity of 10,000.

"These will be the main attractions for the project. The main challenge will be funding for Phase Two. Once we have secured the financing, we expect the project to sell on its own," Ng said.

By Business Times

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