GEORGE TOWN: Ideal United Bintang International Bhd (IUBIB) plans to increase its land bank on the island to 400 acres over the next two to three years.
Group executive chairman Tan Sri Ooi Kee Liang told StarBiz that the group would focus on acquiring the new land bank on the island.
“We have 146.99 acres of landbank on the island currently, which will provide us with stable supply for the next five years.
“We are undertaking seven housing projects currently and planning an RM600mil township scheme in Balik Pulau.
“The total gross development value (GDV) of these projects is RM4.06bil, ” he said.
The planned high-rise units have built-up areas between 1,000 sq ft and 1,200 sq ft and are priced from RM400,000.
Ooi said the group needed more land to implement new development projects to cater to the needs of the market beyond the next five years.
“A simple survey across the market shows that most of the young adults in Penang and in the country are still looking to buy their first property.
“We know what they want and the pricing of our projects are always tailored to meet their budget and match the market demand.
“Most of them prefer to stay on the island, which is why we are focused on increasing our land bank on the island.
“The island, which also faces a shortage of development land, is also a sought-after destination for foreigners to invest and live in upon their retirement.
“As our land bank is on the island, we are confident of riding out of the current slowdown better than others.
“We are focused on what market needs, rather than what we think the market wants, ” he added.
As part of the group’s strategy for the next five years, Ooi said the group was in the process of acquiring the 1st Avenue Mall to diversify into the property management business.
“The acquisition exercise, scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter 2019, will diversify 25% or more of the consolidated net assets of IUBIB into property investment holding, which differs from the property development operations currently carried on by IUBIB and its subsidiaries.
“1st Avenue’s acquisition would provide the group with a stable source of income.”
“The property has potential to be redeveloped in the future as it is in a prime and strategic location on the island, ” Ooi added.
According to Ooi, the rental of retail space is stable for most shopping complexes in the country.
“One of Malaysians’ favourite past times is to visit malls as part of their leisure activities. Because of the shortage of land, malls with the size of 1st Avenue are limited, ” he said.
“Shopping malls at a prime area in Georgetown record high rentals as much as RM450 per sq m, while shopping malls in the South West District register rentals ranging from RM109 to RM292 per sq m, ” he said.
The group, which is debt-free, has a working capital of RM606mil, a liquidity ratio of 1.93, and total assets of RM1.458bil.
Ooi and Datuk Joanne Phor, who is an executive director in Ideal United, currently hold a 74.97% stake in the company through their shareholdings in ICT Innotech Sdn Bhd.
Ooi and Phor also serve as executive chairman and executive director in Ideal Property Group.
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