UEM Land Holdings launches RM4bil new residential and commercial projects

SUBANG: UEM Land Holdings Bhd expects to launch new residential and commercial projects with a total gross development value of around RM4bil this year.

Managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim said several of the projects were located within Puteri Harbour, Nusajaya, such as its new high-rise mixed development in Parcel CS1, an eco-friendly up-market residential development known as D'Estuary, and Emerald Bay Puteri Harbour, a joint-venture with Bandar Raya Developments Bhd.

In addition, he said, the company was also looking to launch a high-rise mixed development in Mont' Kiara and a mid-market mixed residential development in Bangi.

“We will also be introducing new phases of existing projects, namely East Ledang, Nusa Bayu and Nusa Idaman in Nusajaya, as well as Symphony Hills and Arcoris Mont' Kiara in the central region,” he said after the company's AGM.

“These new phases are expected to contribute significantly towards our 2013 sales target of RM3bil,” Wan Abdullah added.

On another note, he said UEM Land did not expect any adverse impact on foreign buyers if a higher tax was imposed on their property purchases in Johor.

“The effect won't be adverse. The Johor Government has every right to do so. Other countries also impose taxes on foreign buyers,” he said.

“Also, we have not seen any changes (in buying interest) since the announcement was made,” Wan Abdullah added.

He said potential buyers or investors, if at all, would be more concerned with issues such as the relationship between Malaysia and Singapore, rather than matters such as taxes.

Last week, it was reported that the Johor Government intended to impose higher tax rates for about 130,000 foreigners who owned property in Johor, and that the new rates would be imposed by end-2013.

Towards this end, a property re-evaluation exercise will also be conducted state-wide, as the last formal evaluation was done in the 1980s. The state government stated that only higher-end properties would experience a hike in property taxes, while lower-priced properties would not see a tax increase.

UEM Land is currently undertaking the development of Nusajaya, which is located in one of the five flagship zones of Iskandar Malaysia, Johor.

Nusajaya spans a total of 9,661ha, with UEM Land owning 4,209ha, which are currently under various stages of development.

Separately, Wan Abdullah said UEM Land was eyeing more projects overseas.

“We want to make inroads into countries such as India, Indonesia and Australia. But we need to know the local issues there. We are not in any hurry. We just need to understand the local environment (in those countries) better.

“To be able to achieve continuous growth and to sustain it, we need to look at other geographies.”

Wan Abdullah added that the company was already present in Canada and South Africa.

UEM Land's net profit for the first quarter ended March 31, 2013 almost quadrupled to RM211.1mil from RM54.2mil in the previous corresponding quarter due to a windfall from the Puteri Harbour land sale.

Its revenue, meanwhile, surged some 134% to RM711.5mil from RM303.7mil a year ago.

The developer pocketed about RM180mil in net profit from the two parcels of freehold land in Puteri Harbour, Nusajaya, Johor, which was sold to Liberty Bridge Sdn Bhd for RM400.75mil.

On the local front, Wan Abdullah said the company was looking to expand its presence in Sabah and Sarawak, in particular, Kota Kinabalu.

UEM Land's local land bank currently stands at 4,289ha, in and outside Nusajaya. Its unbilled sales as of the first quarter ended March 31, 2013 stood at RM3.5bil.

At the AGM, shareholders approved the decision to change UEM Land Holdings Bhd's name to UEM Sunrise Bhd.

UEM Land chairman Tan Sri Dr Tajuddin Ali said the name change was timely. UEM Land Bhd acquired Sunrise Bhd in 2010.

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