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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Jaycorp buys properties in Johor for RM8.05m

KUALA LUMPUR: Jaycorp Bhd's wholly-owned unit, Jaycorp Vantage Sdn Bhd, has signed two agreements -- sale and purchase and assets sale -- with Mensilin Holdings Sdn Bhd.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia, Jaycorp said the agreements involved the acquisition of a piece of industrial leasehold land in Johor and plant and machinery worth a total of RM8.05 million.

"The acquisition is to cater to future expansion and extension of business activities and will be used as part of Jaycorp's and its units' operations," it said.

It said the purchase consideration will be financed partly by cash from internally-generated funds and bank borrowings.

By Bernama

Boustead unit to buy 5.2ha LTAT land

KUALA LUMPUR: Boustead Holdings Bhd (BHB) unit Mutiara Rini Sdn Bhd (MRSB) has proposed to acquire three parcels of land totalling 5.2 ha in Kuala Lumpur from Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) worth RM106.69 million.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia today, BHB said the acqusition would allow MRSB to expand its existing land bank and provides oportunities for property development activities for the company in the Kuala Lumpur city centre location.

"BHB is optimistic on the prospects of the properties considering their strategic location in the city centre with good accessibility to major highways and close proximity to public amenities.

"The properties are also expected to benefit from the Mass Rapid Transit station at Cochrane which will create demand for both commercial and residential properties in this location," it added.

BHB said the purchase price will be funded through a combination of bank borowings and internally generated funds.

"Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the proposed acquisition is expected to be completed before the end of this year," it said.

By Bernama

AmFIRST REIT net income grows to RM21.9m

KUALA LUMPUR: AmFIRST Real Estate Investment Trust (AmFIRST REIT) achieved a net income of RM21.9 million for the first half year ended Sept 30, 2012, compared to RM18.9 million in the preceding year.

Gross revenue rose to RM53.4 million from RM 46.2 million, whilst net property income grew from RM31.3 million to RM 35.8 million, as compared to the previous corresponding period.

Am ARA REIT Managers Sdn Bhd(Am ARA) is the manager of AmFIRST REIT.

In a statement today, Am ARA’s Chief Executive Officer Lim Yoon Peng said: "The improved results are attributed to the additional contribution from the newly acquired Prima 9 and Prima 10 properties completed on Nov 30 last year, plus improved occupancies across the investment portfolio."

He said for the six-month period ended Sept 30, 2012, the trust would distribute approximately 100 per cent of its realised earnings of RM 21.7 million.

This is equivalent to an income distribution of 3.16 sen per unit based on the enlarged unit holdings of 686.4 million units in circulation.

This rights issue exercise has brought gearing down to 28.7 per cent and the net asset value per unit has been adjusted to RM1.20, he added.

Am ARA said on Nov 1, the trust announced the completion of the acquisition of Kompleks Tun Sri Lanang which would contribute an additional income of approximately 0.13 sen per unit for the next five months, till the financial year ending March 31, 2013.

By Bernama

HK feels property price squeeze

HONG KONG: In a cramped space on the fifth floor of an old industrial building in Hong Kong, Huang Shaochang and his wife live in some of the priciest real estate per square foot in the world - a 35 sq ft room with a bunk bed and small TV.

Sky-high property prices forced them into these squalid conditions and prompted the Hong Kong government last month to impose measures to rein in residential home prices, which jumped 20 percent in the first nine months of this year even as the economy contracted 0.1 percent in the second quarter.

In October, Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying singled out the re-emergence of cage homes - wire mesh hutches stacked on top of each other - and cubicle apartments such as Huang's as issues that highlighted the gravity of poverty that existed alongside one of Asia's glittering financial centres.

More than 1.1 million people, or 17 percent of Hong Kong's population, lived below the poverty line in 2011, earning less than HK$3,500 ($450) per month, according to the Hong Kong Council of Social Services. It defined poverty as earning less than half of the average monthly income.

Huang, a part-time laborer who moved to Hong Kong from Shanghai two decades ago, pays HK$1,400 a month, or around HK$40 per sq ft, for his tiny room, compared with average rents for second-hand homes of around HK$21 per sq ft.

"I never expected the situation would be like this in Hong Kong. I cried every day when I first came. I just wanted to go back to China," said his wife, Li Rong, who arrived two years ago after leaving their now eight-year-old son behind.


The former British colony's yawning wealth gap and protests over soaring property prices have brought Leung, who took over as chief executive on July 1, head-to-head with some of the city's billionaire property developers, who some analysts say could turn on the leader.

"Hong Kong is still monopolized by property developers and if they can't stand it anymore, they will go to Beijing to complain," said political commentator Chip Tsao.

"He has to be careful not to undermine China's interests. There are so many rich Chinese and high-ranking Chinese officials holding top-class properties in Hong Kong and these were bought at very high prices."

Octogenarian tycoon Li Ka-shing, who controls property giant Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd <0001 .hk=".hk">, stood by Leung's main rival and early front-runner, Henry Tang, in the leadership poll in March even after Beijing signaled that it favored Leung.

Although Leung was chosen by a 1,200 member election committee, central government leaders in Beijing had said they wanted a candidate with broad popular support. Tang, who was perceived by many in Hong Kong as in the pocket of tycoons, floundered after a series of scandals.


A sub-index of Hong Kong-listed property stocks <.HSNP> that includes bellwethers Cheung Kong and Sun Hung Kai Properties <0016 .hk=".hk">, Asia's No. 2 property developer by market value, lost as much as 4 percent from its close on October 26, after the latest measures to rein in home prices were announced, although it has since mostly recovered.

Leung has said he cannot rule out further steps and some market watchers say the latest curbs, including a 15 percent tax on non-resident buyers, may only temporarily deter cash-rich mainland Chinese, who many in Hong Kong blame for pushing up prices.

Mainland buyers accounted for 21 percent of new homes in the small and mid-sized house sector in the third quarter of 2012, according to a report by Centaline Property agency.

Real estate prices are now 107 percent higher than their trough in 2008 and 26 percent above the previous peak hit in 1997, and it's not just the city's poor who are feeling the squeeze.

A managing director at a large U.S. bank, who has lived in the city for more than a decade, said a joke now often repeated in industry circles quips that: "The only place where a rich banker feels extremely poor is Hong Kong."

Compounding the grumbles stirred by record property prices, the generous housing allowances that were once the norm for expatriate staff in the financial industry have been phased out, so professionals in the business are facing steep jumps in housing costs once their rental contract lapses.

"Most people in my group are beginning significant downgrades - like 50 percent down," he said.


In Yuen Long district, a former farming area about an hour's commute from the heart of the financial district, home prices have also surged, buoyed by growing demand from mainland parents eager to educate their children in the city.

"I think about 30-40 percent of mainland (buyers in Yuen Long) bring their children to the schools," said David Tang at Midland Realty in the New Territories district, adding that prices there have risen about 20 percent in the past two years.

In Tuen Mun, near the prestigious Harrow International School that opened this year, prices have jumped 50 percent over the past two years, according to Centaline Property agency.

As soaring property prices squeeze people on both ends, Leung will have his work cut out to satisfy everyone.

"I believe executive Leung is a hard-working and trust-worthy leader. But I hope he can do more for minorities like us," said Huang, sitting on the lower bunk with his wife.

Another tenant in a similar-sized room on the same floor, which is about 900 sq ft (84 sq metres) in total and home to nearly 30 others, doesn't hold out much hope.

Unemployed Xie Wingjie, 39, originally from Hong Kong but who grew up in the United States, said he has few options.

"I just go with the flow and see what happens. There is no future here. How simple is that?"

By Reuters