Berjaya Land confident of second Japan project


Berjaya Corp Bhd founder and advisor Tan Sri Vincent Tan during a media interview at Okinawa, Japan, March 3, 2024 . — GLENN GUAN/The Star

OKINAWA: Berjaya Land Bhd (BLand) anticipates a potential profit after tax of between US$400mil and US$450mil for its upcoming project, the Four Seasons Resort & Private Residences Okinawa (Four Seasons Okinawa), scheduled for completion in 2027.

Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun, the founder and adviser of Berjaya Corp Bhd, the parent company of BLand, attributed this anticipated success to Okinawa’s thriving tourism industry, drawing in 8.22 million visitors, with about seven million from Japan and an additional one million from overseas, especially South Korea, Taiwan and China.

“From the gross development value (GDV) and our land as well as construction cost, I think we should do very well. If we were to sell everything (condo residences and villas), we can make between US$400mil and US$450mil profit after tax,” he said in a press conference held in conjunction with the groundbreaking ceremony of Four Seasons Okinawa.

The Four Seasons Okinawa, with an estimated GDV of US$1.12bil, is Berjaya group’s second hotel on the island, following the opening of Ansa Resort Okinawa in November 2019 in Uruma, Okinawa’s third-largest city.

Developed by Berjaya Okinawa, a wholly owned subsidiary of BLand, in collaboration with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts (Four Seasons), the project spans 32 acres and includes 127 resort rooms, 124 condo residences, and 28 private villas.

Advanced groundworks for the resort were reported to have been completed, with the main construction anticipated to span 40 months.

Seikou Okinawa Construction KK, a subsidiary of Berjaya Construction Bhd under BLand, will serve as the project’s main contractor, supported by Japanese subcontractors.

Tan said the condo residence and villas will be for sale, priced at about US$3,500 and US$4,000 per sq ft respectively.

He highlighted that the group owns 100 acres of land in the vicinity, with 32 acres specifically allocated for the project.

As the development plans for the remaining 68 acres are being finalised, he said the company has been receiving numerous proposals for various commercial projects.

“There are a lot of proposals from Japanese corporations. Some want to build premium outlets, with two companies which operate premium outlets have approached us. So, overall, this project should be quite profitable for the group,” he added.

Additionally, he said there is consideration for potentially building a more affordable hotel on some of the acres.

Four Seasons Okinawa is also BLand’s second Four Seasons venture in Japan, succeeding the well-received launch of Four Seasons Kyoto in 2016.

On Four Seasons Kyoto, Tan said the group sold the hotel for about US$460mil and residences for about US$400mil.

“We sold the hotel but we leased it back. Therefore, officially, to Four Seasons we are the owner because we did a deal with a big investment fund here. The idea is for cash flow,” he said.

Looking forward, Tan shared plans for the group’s third Four Seasons Hotel in Japan, set to be in Yokohama.

“It (Four Season Yokohama) is confirmed. We won the land on a bid from the city government, based on a beauty contest, where price is fixed. So, when we proposed to build Four Seasons, we won the Yokohama land,” he said.

Turning the attention to the group’s first hotel within Okinawa island, Ansa Resort Okinawa, Tan said the group bought the hotel in 2019 when it was abandoned for US$14mil with 14 acres of land.

“We renovated it, where we spent US$10mil. We actually imported everything from Malaysia because if we invest overseas, we must benefit our country,” he said, adding that it will be a similar scenario for Four Seasons Okinawa.

When asked if the group has land in Japan apart from these, he said the group bought Karuizawa, two hours from Tokyo, with a potential development of the Four Seasons Hotel.

He said the group also owns land in Hakone and expressed the desire to build another Four Seasons if they can secure a larger piece of land.

“We need to talk to Four Seasons about it. For the case of Okinawa, it is a no-brainer,” he noted.

When asked about the group’s substantial investments in Japan, Tan attributed it to the vibrant hotel industry and the success of the country’s tourism sector.

On its other overseas venture, Tan highlighted the group’s presence in Iceland, boasting about 14 hotels in total.

“We also bought land to build a Four Seasons there (Iceland). Four Seasons has given us exclusive rights to build in Iceland,” he added.

Regarding the commencement date, Tan said construction for the Four Seasons in Iceland could possibly begin in 18 months.

Yesterday, BLand held the groundbreaking ceremony for Four Seasons Okinawa, which was officiated by the Onna Village mayor Nagahama Yoshimi.

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Berjaya land , Vincent Tan , Okinawa

   

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