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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Iskandar waterfront zones open to investors

JOHOR BARU: The doors are now open for investors keen in waterfront development in Iskandar Malaysia.

Businessmen and groups such as the chambers of commerce and industry are encouraged to participate actively in development at the Danga Bay waterfront, the central business district and the Tebrau basin.

The three zones make up the southern part of Iskandar Malaysia, the up-and-rising growth area in the country.

In a media briefing here yesterday, Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Lim Kang Hoo said infrastructures, such as trunk roads, are already in place.

He added that the three zones are considered the most strategically located in Iskandar Malaysia.

As such, this is an opportunity for businessmen to invest in prime waterfront land to develop high-value projects such as hotels and condominiums.

"Any parties interested to engage in the development of the three areas are encouraged to do so.

"As the areas are part of the urban planning, do not expect to pay a low land premium. This is because we have invested in land reclamation and dredging which do not come cheap," Lim said.

Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ) chief executive officer Johar Salim Yahaya, who was present at the briefing, said KPRJ, which owns several parcels of waterfront land in Iskandar Malaysia, is merely consolidating pieces of its interest with IWH.

"As we are moving into a different phase of development, we need to have commercial input through our consolidation with IWH," he said.

"We have created a situation which is conducive for development. We need investors to come in as it will be too costly for us to develop everything on our own.

"As a master developer, we will orchestrate the creation of value and to sustain it," Johar added.

By Business Times

Demand for luxury houses seen to be flattish

PETALING JAYA: Demand for houses priced around RM1mil has dropped and is expected to be flattish throughout this year, a reflection of real estate transaction volumes across the Asia-Pacific, an online survey in Malaysia and a Hong Kong-based report show.

External uncertainties, the general election factor on the local front and a general wariness about a possible bubble in the Malaysian market had dampened the market, said iProperty Group chief executive officer Shaun Di Gregoria.

“We are seeing a reduction in volume for the top-end market. Rental is also expected to come off a bit for the top end,” he said after launching the result of an online survey at conducted from Dec 5, 2011 to Jan 19, 2012 involving 3,459 respondents.

The findings are supported by telephone interviews with two property agents.

Despite that, Di Gregorio said, Malaysians were expected to continue to be upbeat about the property market, with interest seen mostly in properties priced between RM400,000 and RM500,000.

The survey revealed that 35.7% of the respondents considered themselves property buyers while 26.2% identified themselves as property owners.

This is part of the first cross-market online property survey conducted by the iProperty Group covering Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Malaysia that attracted about 8,500 respondents.

Di Gregorio said although various measures had been taken by the authorities to discourage speculation, the Malaysian property market continued to be friendly to buyers.

He said Malaysia was the number one destination for Singaporeans as property prices here were still affordable to them.

“Yield in Singapore and Hong Kong is low because of the high capital cost there. The United States and Europe have their own challenges, so South-East Asia will increase in popularity, with Malaysia being a good market to be in throughout this year. There is positive sentiment to invest here,” he said.

About 40% of the Singaporean respondents said Malaysia was their preferred destination, followed by Australia (19.4%).

Meanwhile, about 40% of Malaysians considered Australia as their preferred overseas property investment destination, 19.8% liked Singapore and 13.7% chose the United Kingdom.

While iProperty Group paints a positive picture of the local property market, 58.6% of those who responded to the survey in Malaysia believed there is a property bubble in this country versus 53.85% of those who responded in Singapore.

On a larger scale, the drop in transaction volume is also reflected in the Asia-Pacific. A quarterly report by the Asia Pacific Real Estate Association (APREA) and Real Capital Analytics said there was a 32% drop in real estate transaction in the Asia-Pacific year-on-year to US$85.3 bil as at Dec 31, 2011.

“It moderated by as much as 18% since the end of the third quarter last year,” APREA said in a statement.

“Concerns over the eurozone debt crisis contributed to the moderation in the fourth quarter. A strong performance by Singapore helped mitigate the declines in other countries,” said APREA chief executive officer Peter Mitchell.

The decline was seen across all industry segments. Transactions in hotels fell 23%, commercial property 20%, land 17%, and apartments 8%. Stripping out land transactions, Japan led in regional sales volume, accounting for 22% of the fourth-quarter sales. This was followed by Australia with 17% and Singapore, 16%.

“Transactions in the region are continuing to be dominated by domestic players,” Mitchell said.

By The Star

Mitrajaya unit bags deals worth RM181m

KUALA LUMPUR: Mitrajaya Holdings Bhd’s (MHB) wholly owned unit, Pembinaan Mitrajaya Sdn Bhd (PMSB), yesterday secured three contracts worth RM181.4 million.

The contracts were awarded by Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd (SPNB) and Putrajaya Holdings Sdn Bhd.

PMSB was appointed as nominated sub-contractor by SPNB for the extension of Kelana Jaya and Ampang light rail transit lines worth RM46.8 million and RM55.2 million respectively.

It is also the main contractor for the development of 560 units of medium-cost public apartments inclusive of common facilities and eight units of shop offices at Zone 12E and 12F, Precinct 11 in Putrajaya for RM79.4 million.

By Business Times

Iris Land in PNG housing project

KUALA LUMPUR: Iris Corp Bhd’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Iris Land Sdn Bhd, has entered into a teaming agreement with Kida Maru Holdings Ltd for a housing project in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG), worth RM160 million.

Kida Maru owns 14.75ha of land in Section Granville in Port Moresby with a valid developer’s licence.

It will jointly assist Iris Land in the development of the project that includes developing 275 units of houses.

The development is expected to be funded via project financing to be procured by the company.

By Business Times

Tesco launches Thai property fund IPO

TESCO plc, the world's third-largest retailer, launched the initial public offering (IPO) of its Thailand property fund yesterday, aiming to raise up to 18 billion baht (RM1.9 billion) to finance future expansion.

The offering is part of a trend among retailers in recent years to squeeze more value from their real estate assets, bundling them into a property fund, selling the fund to investors and leasing back the property.

The Tesco Lotus Retail Growth Freehold and Leasehold Property Fund, as it is formally called, comprises 17 shopping malls anchored by a Tesco Lotus hypermarket in cities, including Bangkok and tourist destinations such as Krabi.

The fund "is well positioned to capitalise on the steady growth of the Thai economy, the strength of the retail sector and increasing wealth and consumption across the country," Tesco Lotus chief executive Chris Bush said in a statement.

The property fund, similar to a real estate investment trust, or REIT, will offer shares at a price range of 9.65 baht-10.40 baht (RM1.02-RM1.13) each, valuing the total deal at up to 18 billion baht, Tesco's Ek-Chai Distribution System Co unit said in a statement.

At that price, the fund would have a yield of 6.5 to 7 per cent per year. That yield would compare with 8.14 per cent for both the CPN Retail Growth Leasehold Property Fund, which owns three malls and an office tower, and movie theatre owner Major Cineplex Lifestyle Leasehold Property Fund, according to figures from the Asia Pacific Real Estate Association.

Tesco Lotus expects to add at least two more assets to the fund in the 2012/2013 fiscal year and one or two assets a year after that, according to the statement.

The IPO, Thailand's biggest since Rayong Refinery's US$710 million (RM2.15 billion) offering in May 2006, received US$40 million in commitments from US fund manager, the Capital Group Companies, two sources with direct knowledge of the deal said yesterday.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Nomura Holdings Inc, Phatra Securities and Royal Bank of Scotland were hired to manage the IPO.

Tesco lags only French group Carrefour and US industry leader Wal-Mart by annual sales, and has over 5,300 stores in 14 countries.

By Reuters