Renong to resume project talks


BY JAGDEV SINGH SIDHU

RENONG Bhd wants to resume talks with Vivendi Universal, which have been delayed by the war in Iraq, to set up a theme park in Johor before a letter of intent for the project expires in June. 

“Once global issues settle down, we will discuss how to move forward,'' Renong executive vice-chairman Abdul Wahid Omar said. 

Renong and Vivendi signed the letter of intent about two years ago to build a US$2.2bil, 800ha theme park in Bandar Nusajaya.  

The theme park would be the centrepiece of Renong's Bandar Nusajaya and the main impetus for future development at the 6,400ha site. 

Talks were also under way to have the Johor state administration relocate to Bandar Nusajaya, Wahid said after Renong AGM and EGM in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. 

He said Renong was doing groundwork studies of the infrastructure and facilities for the theme park, but no physical infrastructure had been done for the project. 

“The theme park, medical facilities...are long-term plans to enhance value in the areas,” he said, adding that Renong was only expected to realise 'real' profits from Bandar Nusajaya in five years. Wahid estimated that it would take between 20 and 25 years to fully develop the land. 

Renong chairman Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim, commenting on a news report, acknowledged that United Engineers (M) Bhd (UEM) group had received a proposal from an entrepreneur to buy a stake in Time Engineering Bhd, but said discussions were preliminary. 

“I would like to say that we do receive all kinds of proposals. We don't normally comment on such proposals,” he said. 

Wahid, however, elaborated that Time Engineering was not a company that the UEM group had planned to dispose of.  

He indicated that the company was placed under the group's information and communications technology (ICT) division and was being nurtured. 

Separately, Wahid said the group had decided to re-introduce the UEM name to the KLSE following the UEM-Renong group restructuring scheme after studies by an external firm showed that the UEM brand name was better accepted than the Renong name in Malaysia.  

The UEM name was also better recognised internationally, he added. 

“Instead of spending money on creating a new look, we just gave the UEM logo a fresher look,” he said. 

The new entity, UEM World Bhd, would take over Renong's listed status in the restructuring plan, scheduled for completion by September, should everything proceed smoothly. 

Post-restructuring, other companies bearing the UEM name would be UEM Builders, UEM Environment and UEM Land. 

Yesterday, Renong shareholders approved the company's proposal to dispose of its stake in Crest Petroleum to Sapura Telecommunications. 

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