Business News

Published: Thursday April 25, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday April 26, 2013 MYT 12:44:55 AM

Tycoon Robert Kuok's record payment for land in Johor is talk of the town in M'sia-S'pore

PETALING JAYA: The price that tycoon Robert Kuok is paying for a piece of 5.06ha freehold land in Puteri Harbour, Johor, has become the talk of the town and even across the causeway, where the Singaporean media is hailing it as the “new price benchmark” in Nusajaya.

The views on the transaction are varied, though. While Singapore's Business Times wrote that it was a record price for the Nusajaya land, substantiating it with the toppish RM334 per sq ft (psf) price paid by Kuok, there are others who are claiming that the billionaire is getting the land on the cheap.

To recap, Southern Marina Development Sdn Bhd (which is 70% owned by Kuok-related companies and the remaining by Khazanah Nasional Bhd) is paying RM182mil (or RM334 psf) to UEM Land Holdings Bhd for a 5.06ha parcel of land in Puteri Harbour.

This price works out to a significant 58% premium over what a consortium of corporate tycoons Tan Sri Surin Upatkoon, Tan Sri Lee Oi Hian, Tan Sri Wan Azmi Wan Hamzah, and Wee Ee Chao had paid for a 17.81ha plot also in Puteri Harbour. The vehicle the tycoons used, Liberty Bridge Sdn Bhd, paid UEM Land RM401mil, which works out to only RM211 psf.

Real estate investment consultant Gavin Tee Swee Heng told StarBiz that the land was considered a good purchase due to the vast potential in that prime area, but noted that it was definitely “not cheap.”

An analyst pointed out that the land had been appraised by property valuer Messrs Assetz Sdn Bhd at RM330 psf, so Kuok is paying 1.21% higher than the valued price, and it was justified by the fact that it was one of the rare parcels of land that was facing the marina.

However, to be noted is the fact that another recent transaction in Iskandar Malaysia was done at a higher price than what Kuok is paying. Last December, mainland Chinese firm Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd paid a total of RM900mil, or RM376 psf, for a 22.26ha land in Danga Bay.

The analyst explained that there was generally a price difference between land in Danga Bay and Puteri Harbour.

“Danga Bay sits in flagship zone A or Johor Baru, while Puteri Harbour is situated in flagship zone B under Nusajaya. Furthermore, Danga Bay is reclaimed land, and, hence, carries higher infrastructure cost,” said the analyst.

Tee is bullish on the development around Puteri Harbour.

“Puteri Harbour will be the number one play (in the region) in terms of class,” he said, adding that its value should be the highest in the vicinity due to the marina lifestyle conceptualised and target market which consisted of the international business and corporate population.

Meanwhile, concerns arose in the social media arena as some commentators claimed the land was cheap based on the projected development value.

Recall that the proposed development by Southern Marina would comprise a mix of residential and commercial development with a gross floor area of more than two million sq ft, at an estimated gross development value exceeding RM1bil.

Said Tee: “The land is definitely not considered cheap. There are many unforeseen costs that the developer might have to bear, as it takes time to develop the area.

“There is also a fair bit of holding cost that would incur over the period of time.”

Another consideration of the valuation of the land would be the plot ratio approved by the authorities, he added.

Besides that, he reckoned that there would definitely be some form of risk that developers had to take, as the development in Nusajaya was still considered at its initial stage and it would entail extra costs for them to hold until the area matured.

Tags / Keywords: News, Business, Business, Robert Kuok, UEM Land, Puteri Harbour, Iskandar Malaysia

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