SBC Corp Bhd has identified property development as an important growth driver for the group and plans are underway to inject a stronger brand profile for SBC in the coming years.
According to its corporate director Sia Teong Leng, the group would venture into more prominent projects in the Klang Valley and other new growth markets in the country.
Since venturing into property development in the early 1990's, sales of properties now contribute to 30% of group earnings while construction and manufacturing activities make up the balance. The property foray was in line with the groups initiatives to widen its earnings base.
Speaking to StarBiz during an interview, Sia said in making a bigger foray into the property sector, SBC would be teaming up with landowners and make new land acquisitions that were feasible for development.
SBC has a range of property development projects across the country that provides it with a diversified portfolio and sustainable earnings base. One of its most interesting projects is the 30-acre Signal Hill in Kota Kinabalu. Although relatively small, it has become the most prestigious address in Sabah, similar to Bukit Tunku or Damansara Heights in the Klang Valley.
So far, the completed phases include The Peak Condominiums that are perched on Signal Hill, offering a 360-degree vista.
The next highlight is the Signal Hill Park, an exclusive gated community that comprises 34 semi-detached homes and 18 bungalows.
The largest development by SBC is Bandar Utama in Batang Kali, Selangor. The joint venture with the Selangor State Economic Development Corp involves 1,877 acres. So far, about 4,000 of mixed commercial and residential have been completed. Other ongoing projects include Taman Suria Pendamar in Klang and Perkampungan Seri Mahkota Aman in Kuantan.
The group's new project line-up will be located in Kuantan, Kota Kinabalu, and Kuala Lumpur. The Klang Valley projects include The Cube commercial development in Mastiara Kuala Lumpur; Suria Setapak in Gombak, Taman Damansara Emas in Kota Damansara and Suria Pendamar in Pandamaran, Klang.
Sia sees the group making a bigger impact in the upmarket residential market to keep up with the growing popularity for such homes among Malaysians.
He said SBC was able to launch its projects according to market demand and did not have to rush its launches as all the land parcels were acquired some time back and had been paid for.
We do not face the pressure of having to keep on rolling out our products and this has enabled us to gain from an upside in the market and build according to market needs.
Our patience and ability to cater to the market has paid off as the projects, such as Mastiara, have turned into mature and well-developed locations.
Bolstered by several planned amenities and infrastructures including the light rail transit, KTM network and a park by the KL City Hall, it is now timely to launch the other precincts, including The Cube commercial precinct, he added.
Although construction of the 100-acre Mastiara project kicked off in the early 1990s, there are 40 acres left undeveloped. There are some RM450mil worth of properties planned for launch over the next few years.
Located in the north-west of Kuala Lumpur, the Mastiara project will be accessible from Jalan Kuching when a proposed flyover is completed next year. Sales from the completed phases, which comprised mainly double-storey terraced houses and town houses, amounted to some RM177mil to-date.
The latest launch of The Cube @ Metropolitan Park commercial precinct comprised 31 units of 3- and 4-storey shop office and service suites with built-up of between 3,922 sq ft and 8,126 sq ft, carrying price tags from RM710,000 to RM1.7mil.
Since The Cube was opened for sale, response has been encouraging, with more than 80% of the units launched sold.
SBC senior sales and marketing manager Kevin Kuok said the next launch would feature condominiums on some 25 acres. The maiden phase comprising 800 condominium units will take off in the third quarter of this year. The units, with built-up of 1,000 to 1,250 sq ft, will be priced from RM180 per sq ft.
Depending on what the market really wants, there is always room to review the residential component and build more premium residences such as town houses.
One plus-point for the development is the 150-acre Metropolitan Park, the biggest park in northern Kuala Lumpur, that is literally outside the doors of the Mastiara homes, thus lending credence to the concept of living next to a park, Kuok said.