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Monday, April 2, 2012

I-Berhad continues to seek partners for i-City project

I-BERHAD, an integrated ICT urban centre developer, will continue to seek strategic partners to accelerate developments at its RM3 billion i-City project here, its chief said.

Chief executive officer Datuk Eu Hong Chew told Business Times that the company is talking to several local and foreign firms who are considering co-developing some of the land.

I-City is a knowledge and tourism project, sprawled on 42 hectares. Some 20 per cent of the project has been developed with the rest to be completed over the next 10 years, Eu said.

The project has around 21 high-rise buildings comprising office towers, residences, SOHO blocks, a five-star hotel and serviced apartment-cum-hotel.

It also consists of a one million sq ft mall, a cybercentre, shop offices, retail and several leisure components like snow walk and a theme park.

In December 2011, I-Berhad entered into a 30:70 joint venture with Everbright International China to co-develop 12.5ha in i-City to build the mall, some residences and MSC (Multimedia Super Corridor) offices.

Apart from financing the construction, Everbright would lead a consortium of Chinese companies to set up operations in i-City, as well as promote the properties in China.

I-Berhad is looking for similar deals but Eu declined to say who the company is talking to.

Eu said I-Berhad is in talks with several local and foreign institutional investors who want to buy some of the buildings at i-City, via en bloc sale.

"We will close deals when we get a good price," Eu said.

Eu expects the company's performance to improve from this year, led by its leisure division, which currently generates half of its earnings, and property development.

For the financial year ended December 31 2011, I-Berhad made a pre-tax profit of RM1.84 million on revenues of RM27.3 million.

The stock closed 75 sen last Friday, five sen higher than the previous day's closing.

"The game plan is to continue investing in the leisure components as it is revenue generating and will attract new businesses here and spur demand for residences," Eu said.

I-Berhad is 65 per cent owned by its founder and chairman, Tan Sri Lim Kim Hong, and 18.1 per cent by state-owned investment fund, Permodalan Nasional Bhd.

By Business Times

Glomac still on lookout for land banks in Greater KL

KUALA LUMPUR: Glomac Bhd, which recently acquired two parcels of land in Klang for RM44 million, is still on the lookout for good land banks in the Greater Kuala Lumpur area.

Glomac senior manager for group corporate communications Fara Eliza FD Mansor said the company is always scouting for good areas as its focus is very much on the Greater Kuala Lumpur area.

"We are always on the lookout and recently the company announced the acquisition of two parcels of leasehold land totalling 80ha, adjacent to Bandar Saujana Utama.

"The new land allows Glomac to capitalise on the success of its flagship township and raises the company's total estimated gross development value (GDV) of current and future projects to RM6 billion," she told Business Times, after the launch of Reflection Residences on Saturday.

The 39-storey Reflection Residences in Mutiara Damansara is a freehold serviced apartment project with a GDV of RM270 million.

"We have sold 70 per cent of the units there and the balance are still up for grabs," she added.

Currently, Glomac has a total of 11 ongoing projects, comprising a range of mixed developments in Greater KL and in Johor Baru.

"We are looking into expanding into Iskandar (Malaysia) but that is something that we haven't decided on yet," she said.

Fara added that the group continued to achieve healthy profit growth and its balance sheet is strong, with RM353.5 million in cash as at January 31 this year.

By Business Times

S'pore home prices suffer 1st quarterly drop in 3 years

SINGAPORE, April 2 (Reuters) Singapore's private home prices suffered their first quarterly drop in nearly three years as government measures to cool the property market begin to bite at the high end.

According to advance estimates from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Monday, private home prices fell 0.1 percent in JanuaryMarch from the last three months of 2011. It was the first decline since the second quarter of 2009.

Prices of nonlanded private residential properties in the core central region fell by 0.9 percent, reflecting weakness in the high end of the property market. The mass market remained healthy as prices of apartments outside the central region rose by 1.2 percent from the preceding quarter.

"I don't think this decline is sufficient to say policies put in place have worked as the sheer volume of sales warrants some concerns," said Wilson Liew, an analyst at Maybank Kim Eng.

He said the fall in private home prices was partly due to most of the launches in the first quarter being cheaper mass market projects. Liew expected prices to soften further towards the end of the year.

Singapore is trying to cool home prices amid fears of a property bubble and public discontent over soaring prices.

The government last introduced measures to curb residential property prices in December, including a requirement that foreigners who are not permanent residents pay an additional stamp duty equal to 10 percent of the property value.

But while prices have softened at the high end of the market, transaction volumes remain healthy, especially in the mass market.

Property blue chips reacted calmly to the news, with Southeast Asia's biggest developer, CapitaLand, slipping 0.3 percent and City Developments declining about 1 percent percent.

Among secondliners, Wing Tai Holdings lost 0.4 percent while SC Global dropped 0.9 percent. The benchmark Straits Times Index gained less than 0.1 percent.

"The risk of having another round of measures is higher than it was one, two months back," Png Poh Soon, head of consultancy and research at Knight Frank, said last week.

"Sales transactions are going up, homes are getting smaller, the psf (per square foot) rate is going up." Png predicted prices for highend prime residential units may fall up to 5 percent this year, he said.

Separately, an index of resale prices for governmentbuilt HDB apartments showed prices edged up 0.6 percent in the first quarter from the preceding three months, slowing from a rise of 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter.

By The Star