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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Govt may double minimum price of houses foreigners can buy

RM1mil floor price?

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government is considering raising the minimum floor prices of houses foreigners are allowed to buy to RM1mil from the current RM500,000 in an effort to control the rise in property prices, sources said.

They said such a decision was “in the pipeline” and the implementation would be made by the economic planning unit (EPU) under the Prime Minister's Department currently headed by Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

“From what I understand, these revised guidelines have been discussed at the ministerial level and should this be enforced, it will mean that foreigners will only be allowed to buy properties priced above RM1mil. For now, the base price is set at RM500,000 for foreigners. This base price is a bit low looking at present circumstances,” a government source who requested anonymity said.

“The current trend in the property market indicates that prices are still continuing to climb despite measures by Bank Negara to curb property prices from spiralling out of control. We need to act before it goes further out of hand,” the Putrajaya source added.

Another source said the revised guidelines would also consider a slightly lower base price threshold of RM800,000 for residential properties in selected economic corridors such as Johor's Iskandar Malaysia to ensure the development and success of these corridor hotspots.

“This base price will also be subject to reviews by the Government from time to time depending on the inflationary situation of the economy and to keep overall inflation in check,” the source said.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim had recently told the press that the Government would take “strict measures” to avoid a US subprime mortgage financial crisis after average house prices jumped almost 7% in the fourth quarter of last year despite measures announced by Bank Negara to rein in property prices.

“The Government is worried about property prices causing a bubble and we don't want banks to overlend to the property sector,” Lim said.

Industry sources surveyed by StarBiz said foreigners that tend to buy properties in Malaysia were those from South Korea, Japan, China and Singapore.

“This move will give an advantage to locals, especially those in the middle-income category as locals will not need to compete with foreigners. I am not surprised by this move, but our agency has so far seen mostly people from China and Singapore buying properties above RM1mil anyway,” a KL-based licensed real estate negotiator who did not want to be named said.

“However, we may see fewer transactions from the Koreans and Japanese. Westerners such as those from the United States and Europe won't usually buy. They prefer to rent instead,” the real estate negotiator added.

Meanwhile, the implementation of the higher floor price is expected to have a minimal impact on the property market in Malaysia as official statistics show that only 2.4% (worth RM1.45bil) of transactions conducted in the residential sector last year were worth RM1mil and more.

The Finance Ministry's Valuation and Property Services Department Property Market Report 2011 released last week showed there were 269,789 residential property transactions worth RM61.83bil transacted last year, the highest recorded in the last five years.

“Both volume and value recorded double-digit growth of 18.9% and 22.1% respectively. The All House Price Index surged to 156.9 points in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2011 against 147.2 points registered in Q4 2010,” the report said.

The report said that landed housing was on a “general upward trend” in Malaysia and also attributed the rise in property prices to the Sungai Buloh-Kajang My Rapid Transit project.

“Across the board, terraced houses in KL recorded increases of 8%-13%. Increased prices of landed houses on Penang island were apparent. The highest transacted price of two- and three-storey detached (houses) were at RM2.05mil and RM5.15mil respectively,” the report said.

By The Star

RM1.4bil shopping mall and office tower in KL Sentral to be ready by year-end

Interim distribution: Kamalul (left) and Nor Azamin at the announcement of the first AHB income distribution for this year.

KUALA LUMPUR: Pelaburan Hartanah Bhd (PHB), a subsidiary of Yayasan Amanah Hartanah Bumiputra, will inject a RM1.4bil shopping mall and office tower project in KL Sentral into its portfolio of assets under the Amanah Hartanah Bumiputra Unit Trust Fund (AHB) next year.

PHB managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Kamalul Arifin Othman said the shopping mall or Lot G was currently under construction and expected to be completed by year-end.

“We will have to achieve the right rental yield for Lot G, the single largest property owned by PHB in terms of value, before injecting it into AHB.

“Once Lot G is included in the portfolio, we could offer more AHB units to be subscribed,” he told reporters after jointly announcing AHB's income distribution for the six months ended March 31 with its manager Mayban Investment Management (MIM) Sdn Bhd yesterday.

AHB is a first of its kind fixed-price syariah-compliant real estate backed unit trust fund which enables bumiputra investors to participate in the ownership of real estate assets with a minimum investment of RM500.

Unlike other unit trust funds, assets under AHB have to be acquired first before the units can be subscribed to.

Other than Lot G, Kamalul pointed out that PHB was also working on a property development project with Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur.

“The project involves the extension of Gleneagles Kuala Lumpur covering a total gross floor area of approximately 300,000 sq ft. The gross development cost of this extension is approximately RM138mil and should be completed in 2014.

“It will have a new 10-floor healthcare facility being built with a lease period granted to Gleneagles Kuala Lumpur to occupy the same for 15 years with an option to renew for another 15 years.

“Other than that, we also have a long-term plan to develop our 20 acres of land along Jalan Bangsar into an integrated development,” he said.

Besides these three developments, Kamalul added that PHB would continue to source for new assets to be injected into AHB.

“To provide our investors with a good and consistent income stream, PHB is looking to buy more completed and income-yielding assets, expand its land-bank and venture into more property development projects.

To date, PHB's completed list of properties include DEMC Specialist Hospital, Block D of Peremba Square in Saujana Resort, Menara Bumiputra-Commerce in Jalan Raja Laut, CP Tower in Petaling Jaya, Wisma Consplant in Subang Jaya, Tesco Setia Alam, Menara Prisma in Putrajaya and Logistics Warehouse in Shah Alam, which collectively are valued at RM1.4bil.

For the six months ended March 31, PHB declared an interim income distribution of 3.25 sen a unit which would involve a total payment of RM32mil for AHB unit holders.

This translates to an annualised income yield of 6.5% when benchmarked against the 12-month General Investment Account-i of Maybank Islamic Bhd.

AHB's income distribution, if any, is payable on a six-month basis for periods ending March 31 and Sept 30 each year and is tax-exempt.

The first payout for this year and the third since it was launched would be directly credited into the unit holders' bank accounts.

MIM managing director and chief executive officer Nor Azamin Salleh said the tremendous response from the investors proved that the fund was a suitable investment option among bumiputra investors as it offered participation in the beneficial ownership of real estate assets, competitive returns at a low minimum entry point.

AHB was launched in November 2010 by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

And as the fund units are fully-subscribed, the public is advised to enquire with any Maybank branch for units which are made available.

By The Star

I&P eyes repeat of RM1.4b revenue

I&P Group Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB), aims to repeat the RM1.4 billion revenue it chalked up last year, despite the more challenging time this year.

Its managing director Datuk Jamaludin Osman said properties with gross development value of about RM3 billion were expected to be put into the market this year.

“Every year, we have new phases. New phases will be offered to the market through various township developments,” he told Business Times in an interview in conjunction with this year’s Minggu Saham Amanah Malaysia (MSAM) exhibition in Kota Kinabalu.

I&P has successfully developed several major and well-known projects, such as Bukit Damansara, Bandar Kinrara, Alam Damai, Alam Impian, Alam Sari, Temasya-Glenmarie, Bandar Baru Seri Petaling, Taman Pelangi and Taman Perling.

It is learnt that the group has 3,622ha of land in the Klang Valley and Johor Baru, with 1,195ha still undeveloped.

“We hope to be able to maintain last year’s revenue of RM1.4 billion. Barring unforeseen circumstances and getting plan approvals, God willing, we will achieve (the target).”

Jamaludin said the timing of the company’s property launches would depend on the market condition and the approval status. Despite the uncertainties in the global economy, Jamaludin said he expected the industry to grow in tandem with the anticipated growth of the country’s economy.

On the MSAM, Jamaludin said I&P had been participating in the exhibition since its inception in 2000 as it was a good opportunity for the group to showcase it projects.

The MSAM, organised by PNB, will be held from April 20 to April 28. “By participating in MSAM, people can see that PNB is not just a unit trust conglomerate but has reliable subsidiaries such as I&P.

“We hope to get more exposure and recognition from the Sabah market. We want the public to know that one of the businesses run by PNB is property development through its subsidiaries like I&P,” he said.

He said while I&P had yet to make its mark in Sabah, its participation in MSAM would enable the people there to know more and invest in the company’s development projects in the Klang Valley and Johor.

I&P Group was formed in May 2009 after the successful merger and rationalisation exercise between three companies under PNB, namely Island & Peninsular Sdn Bhd, Petaling Garden Sdn Bhd and Pelangi Sdn Bhd.

By Business Times

AHB eyes more properties, land

AMANAH Hartanah Bumiputera (AHB) is eyeing more property acquisitions and increasing its land bank, especially in the Klang Valley, to enlarge its current fund size of RM1 billion.

AHB is the country's first syariah-based property unit trust fund and is open only to Bumiputera investors.

Pelaburan Hartanah Malaysia (PHM) chief executive officer Datuk Kamalul Arifin Othman said the fund is scouting for more properties such as offices, retail, industry as well as land banks.

"We are certainly looking at expanding the size of the fund as part of efforts to foster equality in Bumiputera property ownership. We are in talks for a couple of acquisitions," Kamalul told reporters here yesterday after unveiling its first out of two dividend payouts for the year.

He, however, declined to reveal details or specify the fund's target size.

Kamalul said the fund manager will continue to source new assets to be injected into Amanah Hartanah Bumiputera to provide its 60,000 investors with good and consistent income stream.

"We are looking to buy more completed and income-yielding assets, expand our 52.6ha land bank and venture more into property development, especially in healthcare as we believe in the future of the sector," said Kamalul.

Kamalul said next year, PHM plans to include its 8ha parcel of land in Jalan Bangsar into AHB. Another property to be injected into the fund is the Lot G development at KL Sentral, which includes an office tower and shopping complex spanning 900,000 sq ft with a gross development value of RM1.4 billion.

Established in May 2006, PHM is a real estate investment holding company and is a subsidiary of Yayasan Amanah Hartanah Bumiputera and Mayban Investment Management Sdn Bhd under the purview of the Ministry of Finance.

Together with Mayban Investment Management Sdn Bhd, it currently manages AHB with eight properties under its wings with a value of RM1.4 billion and a recurring income of RM10.5 million per annum.

Its properties include Darul Ehsan Medical Specialist Hospital in Shah Alam, Blok D Peremba Square in Saujana Resort, Menara Bumiputera Commerce in Jalan Raja Laut, CP Tower in Petaling Jaya, Wisma Consplant in Subang Jaya, Tesco Setia Alam, Menara Prisma in Putrajaya and Logistics Warehouse in Shah Alam.

Meanwhile, Mayban Investment Management Sdn Bhd managing director and chief executive officer Nor'Azamin Salleh said AHB has declared an interim income distribution of 3.25 sen a unit, which involves a total payment of RM232 million for its 60,000 unitholders for the six-month period ended March 2012.

The income distribution is payable twice a year for periods ending March 31 and September 30 each year. It is tax exempted.

Since its inception in November 2010, this is the third income distribution made by AHB. The fund declared its first income distribution of 2.17 sen a unit for the four-month period ended March 31 2011 and a second income distribution of 3.25 for the six-month period ended September 30 2011.

The first payout for this year will be credited into unitholders' bank accounts today.

By Business Times

Dijaya in amalgamation deals worth RM950mil

PETALING JAYA: Dijaya Corp Bhd has entered into agreements with several vendors for a proposed acquisition of 73 properties, comprising 49 parcels of land and 16 buildings, for RM949.9mil.

In a statement to Bursa Malaysia, the company said that the proposed acquisition would be satisfied by cash totalling RM250mil, while the balance would be through the issuance of a 3% coupon redeemable convertible unsecured loan stock, with a staggered conversion price range of RM1.30 to RM2.50 over a 10-year period.

Tan: ‘The intention of this amalgamation exercise is to consolidate all property development and investment activities into Dijaya, while avoiding businesses that are conflicting or competing with its interest.’

“The intention of this amalgamation exercise is to consolidate all property development and investment activities into Dijaya, while avoiding businesses that are conflicting or competing with its interest,” said group CEO Tan Sri Danny Tan.

With the signing of the definitive agreements, the size of Dijaya's land bank would increase to 870 acres and the group's total gross development value would increase to RM37bil.

In addition, the investment properties' net lettable areas for Dijaya would increase to 1.4 million sq ft. The additional properties were expected to generate a more stable and recurring income for Dijaya.

It was noted that the parcels of land to be acquired were located within Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru, Penang as well as in Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan.

Tan has agreed to procure the relevant parties, to be identified, to enter into long-term lease of three years with an automatic extension at an average annual lease rental investment yield of not less than 8% per annum or aggregate gross rental of RM42.7mil per annum, whichever is higher.

As an integral part of the proposed amalgamation exercise, Dijaya would undertake a combination of equity and debt fund raising exercise via a proposed rights issue exercise and proposed issuance of RM500mil guaranteed commercial paper/medium term notes programme.

The proposed renounceable rights issue is on the basis of four rights shares for every five Dijaya shares held and one bonus share for every four rights shares subscribed at an issue price of RM1.20 per rights share.

Tan and the parties related to him have provided Dijaya with undertakings to subscribe for RM250mil in value pursuant to the proposed rights issue, which would constitute the minimum subscription level for the proposed rights Issue.

By The Star

UEM Land unit to buy JB plot for RM93.2m

KUALA LUMPUR: UEM Land Holdings Bhd's wholly-owned subsidiary, Nusajaya Premier Sdn Bhd (NPSB), has proposed to acquire 49.49 hectares of freehold land in Johor Baru from Tanjung Bidara Ventures Sdn Bhd for RM93.2 million cash.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia yesterday, UEM Land said the proposed acquisition was conditional upon approvals being obtained from the Economic Planning Unit, Johor State Authority, Estate Land Board and any other relevant authorities.

"The land is adjacent to Kota Iskandar and the company's existing prime development in Nusajaya, Puteri Harbour," UEM Land said.

On rationale, it said the proposed acquisition would allow the group to realise its original development vision for Puteri Harbour, where high density urban waterfront precincts at the heart of public and private marinas are balanced with landed and high-rise residential precincts on both sides.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, UEM Land expects the proposed acquisition to be completed within seven months.

By Bernama

UEM signs RM93mil conditional agreement with Khazanah for the Pulai land

PETALING JAYA: UEM Land Holdings Bhd has entered a deal to acquire a 122.28-acre freehold land in Pulai, Johor Baru, from Khazanah Nasional Bhd's group for a cash consideration of RM93.2mil.

In a statement to Bursa Malaysia, UEM Land said the conditional sale and purchase agreement signed yesterday involved its wholly owned subsidiary Nusajaya Premier Sdn Bhd and Khazanah's wholly owned subsidiary Tanjung Bidara Ventures Sdn Bhd.

The proposed acquisition for the land, which is located adjacent to Kota Iskandar and UEM Land's existing integrated waterfront and marina development, Puteri Harbour, in Nusajaya, is expected to complete within seven months.

The proposed acquisition, according to UEM Land, represented an opportunity for the company to consolidate strategic land parcels, which were in close proximity to its existing development in Puteri Harbour.

UEM Land said it planned to develop the land, which it would acquire through Nusajaya Premier, into a residential enclave featuring a mix of distinctive, landed canal-front homes with individual berthing and high-end condominiums.

“The proposed development, which is expected to commence in 2013, will span over seven years,” it said.

“It is expected to be funded through existing cash balances, internally generated funds and/or borrowings, in line with the group's other developments,” it added.

UEM Land, however, clarified that the total development cost and expected profit to be derived from the proposed development could not be determined at this juncture, pending the finalisation of a detailed layout plan.

The detailed layout plan for the proposed development, it said, would be submitted to the authorities for approval by the end of this year.

By The Star

KLIA2 commercial lots tender enters third phase

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) will call for new tenders for the low-cost carrier terminal (KLIA2) commercial space on April 12 and April 17.

The tender process, now in its third phase, will involve 37 tenders comprising retail, food and beverages (F&B), and service outlets.

In a statement, MAHB senior general manager commercial services Faizah Khairuddin said tender documents for the third phase can be purchased from April 12 until May 10.

"The tender submission deadline for the lots is 3pm on May 17 2012. More information on the KLIA2 tender briefing is available at," she said.

Faizah said tenders for KLIA2 are conducted in phases. The first phase was conducted in December last year and Phase Two in end-February to early-March this year.

"The first and second phases involved 27 and 39 tenders, respectively. There will be 225 lots comprising 118 retail outlets, 81 F&B outlets and 26 service outlets," she said.

The airport operator received overwhelming response at the first two tenders' briefing sessions. Over 1,000 interested parties, comprising retailers, F&B and services operators, attended the sessions, Faizah said.

"Successful bidders for Phase One will be announced in May upon the board's approval. Meanwhile, those interested in getting a piece of the pie can still do so under Phase Three of the tender process," she added.

KLIA2, an extension of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, will be a technology-driven, shopper-oriented travel and lifestyle hub," Faizah said.

By Business Times