KWAP agrees to buy TRX land at lower cost compared with Tabung Haji deal

New HQ: A scale model of the Tun Razak Exchange at the launch in Kuala Lumpur about three years ago. KWaP wants to be in an area where the market is, especially one that is going to be a financial centre.

PETALING JAYA: Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) has agreed to buy a parcel of land and building that will be its new headquarters at the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) at a price that is more than 15% lower than what Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) had paid for.

The heads of agreement for the purchase had been ironed out between KWAP and 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) that would see KWAP pay between RM1bil and RM1.2bil for a 40-storey building and land at the TRX in Kuala Lumpur.

According to sources, KWAP will be purchasing the land at about RM2,300 per sq ft.

“The heads of agreement is a prelude to the sales and purchase (S&P) agreement. The terms of agreement is also tight where KWAP will only pay 10% first and the rest upon completion of the building,” said a source.

LTH paid 1MDB RM188.5mil, or RM2,774 per sq ft, for its 0.64 ha of land at the TRX.

The purchase by LTH was heavily criticised and the pilgrim fund announced on Saturday it would sell its land.

LTH chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim said the pilgrim fund would sell the land for RM5mil more than its cost of purchase and there were three companies interested in purchasing the 0.64ha.

KWAP has been renting its headquarters and the decision to move to TRX was a natural step given that the development was being designed as a Islamic financial market hub.

“KWAP wants to be in an area where the market is, especially one that is going to be an Islamic finance centre,” says a source.

Its headquarters is currently at Menara Yayasan Tun Razak, which is owned by the Tun Razak Foundation and the Employees Provident Fund.

Although the S&P has not been signed, the terms of the deal to buy the building and land would be better than the aborted transaction between 1MDB and LTH, sources said.

“KWAP will pay a deposit of 10% and the money will be deposited into an escrow account,” said a source.

1MDB, a fund sponsored by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, is facing cash flow problems to meet its debt obligations of RM42bil.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad heads the list of politicians that include current ministers in Najib’s cabinet seeking answers as to how and why 1MDB has come into the current state of affairs.

As for KWAP’s building, the source said the location of its new headquarters would face the underground Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station that is to be built at the TRX.

That station is to be the largest along the Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT line that is currently under construction.

KWAP will occupy 10 storeys of its future headquarters and rent out the rest.

It is paying RM4 per sq ft at Menara Yayasan Tun Razak in rental.

The civil servant’s retirement fund has been driving its property investments in recent times and encouraged by the Government to look at assets in the domestic market.

In this respect, it announced the purchase of Integra Tower for RM1.065bil in April.

In a report announcing the acquisition, the fund said that the 39-storey, grade-A office building, with a net lettable area of 760,715 sq ft and 850 parking bays, had a yield of 6%.

The property – which forms part of The Intermark that also comprises Vista Tower, Double Tree by Hilton and Intermark Mall.

The Integra Tower, completed in 2012, is located at the intersection of Jalan Ampang and Jalan Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur.

Integra Tower was the first building KWAP bought in Malaysia.

It’s reported that the fund has six properties in Australia and three properties in London.

KWAP has signalled its intention to get into construction and investing in natural resources to boost its the returns it makes from its investment.

Apart from that, KWAP has been making changes to the way it lends money to corporates, especially after it came under scrutiny for a RM4 bil loan to SRC International Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of MoF.

SRC International was previously a subsidiary company of 1MDB. It was established to spearhead the fund’s venture into coal mining and other energy-related resources.

However, it attracted controversy on inadequate accountability on how the money has been spent.

That loan has been guaranteed by the Government and KWAP has initiated additional processes to ensure its money is protected.

A loan monitoring unit has been formed within KWAP to exercise some form of moral obligation and for it to be a responsible lender.

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