JCorp confident units will keep doing well

JOHOR BARU: Johor Corp (JCorp), the southern state’s investment agency, remains optimistic that its listed companies will perform satisfactorily this year despite the economic slowdown, said chief executive officer Tan Sri Muhammad Ali Hashim.

Public listed companies under the state agency recorded good growth in the last quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, he said without elaborating.

Listed firms under JCorp include Kulim (M) Bhd, KPJ Healthcare Bhd, KFC Holdings (M) Bhd, QSR Brands Bhd, Johor Land Bhd and Sindora Bhd.

“People tend to be optimistic and more confident if the US and Europe are showing signs that they are coming out of the economic crisis,” Ali said, referring to the current improving sentiment.

He was speaking at a press conference here yesterday after chairing a JCorp top management meeting on the performance of the group and its subsidiaries for 2008.

On the performance of fast food operator KFC Holdings, Ali said the demand at KFC outlets in the country rose following the outbreak of Influenza A (H1N1).

But he added that KFC Holdings had no intention of raising the prices of its chicken-related products although the price of chicken in Malaysia had increased following the A (H1N1) flu scare.

KPJ Healthcare managing director Datin Paduka Siti Sa’diah Sheikh Basir said the healthcare company was currently talking with Johor Land to set up a specialist medical centre at Johor Land’s Bandar Dato Onn housing scheme.

She said it would be looking at building a 250- to 300-bed medical centre with an investment of RM100mil, bringing the number of KPJ’s medical centres in Johor to three.

On a separate matter, Ali said a Europe-based company had decided to purchase 20.23ha to set up a petroleum-related facility at Tanjung Langsat industrial estate, which was being developed by TMP Technopark Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of JCorp.

For the financial year ended Dec 31, JCorp group recorded a pre-tax profit of RM660mil against RM518mil in the previous year. Its net assets also increased to RM3.95bil in 2008 from RM3.73bil in 2007.

To date, 21 local and foreign companies are operating in the industrial estate near Pasir Gudang with a combined total investment of RM10bil including infrastructure, according to Ali.

He said an announcement would be made soon on the new investment, which would be one of the biggest investments in the 1,400ha industrial estate.

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