February 2013

Iskandar Waterfront, Singapore firms in Danga Bay tie-up

ISKANDAR Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) is set to partner two prominent Singapore companies today to buy and develop some 28.3ha of land in the Danga Bay area of Iskandar Malaysia, Johor, sources said.

The three parties will work together in a joint venture (JV), with one of the Singaporean heavyweights taking a controlling stake in the venture.

Sources familiar with the plan said the JV will buy the freehold land for about RM800 million, on which it will undertake a mixed development project.

The land deal is prominent as it is the biggest entry into Iskandar so far by Singaporean investors.

“It’s a fair price they paid. It’s below the average price in that area of about RM500 per square foot,” one of the sources said without elaborating.

The project, which may take six to eight years to develop, is estimated to have a gross development value of between RM7.5 billion and RM8.5 billion, the source added.

IWH, which is reportedly eyeing a listing on the Malaysian stock exchange this year, is the master developer of about 1,618ha of prime waterfront land in Johor Baru. About half that landbank is in Danga Bay.

It is understood that the prime ministers of Malaysia and Singapore, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Lee Hsien Loong respectively, will witness the signing ceremony today in Iskandar’s Medini area.

IWH is 40 per cent-owned by the Johor state government via Kumpulan Prasaran Rakyat Johor, while the remaining 60 per cent is held by tycoon Tan Sri Lim Kang Hoo via Credence Resources Sdn Bhd.

The Employees Provident Fund and Khazanah Nasional Bhd also hold indirect stakes in IWH.

The latest deal comes amid growing property alliances between both countries.

In 2011, Malaysia’s investment arm Khazanah and its Singapore counterpart Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd formed two property alliances – M+S Pte Ltd and Pulau Indah Ventures Sdn Bhd – to jointly develop prime land in Singapore and Iskandar.

Khazanah holds a 60 per cent stake in the M+S joint venture, and a 50 per cent stake in Pulau Indah.

Adapted from Busniess Times Malaysia  18/02/2013

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CapitaLand to lead S$3.2b Iskandar project


SINGAPORE — The Republic’s links with Malaysia’s Iskandar region are set to deepen, with CapitaLand, Singapore’s largest listed developer, leading a joint venture to develop a project there worth about S$3.2 billion.

The development at Danga Bay will include a waterfront residential community comprising high-rise and landed homes along with a marina, shopping mall, offices and recreational facilities. The joint venture will acquire 3.1 million sq ft of freehold land for S$324 million for the project, which will have an estimated total gross floor area of 11 million sq ft.

It is expected to be developed in phases over a period of 10 to 12 years, CapitaLand said yesterday.

CapitaLand Malaysia will hold 51 per cent of the joint venture, Malaysian company Iskandar Waterfront will own 40 per cent and Singapore investment giant Temasek Holdings will have the remaining 9 per cent.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak witnessed the signing of the agreement at Danga Bay Convention Centre, Johor Baru, yesterday.

This was followed by a trip to Medini where the two Prime Ministers unveiled Afiniti Medini and Avira, two wellness projects that were announced in 2011 as a key collaboration between Singapore and Malaysia in Iskandar.

Afiniti Medini, which broke ground yesterday, will be a 5-acre corporate retreat comprising a corporate training centre, a wellness centre, strata residences and serviced apartments, among other offerings.

Up to 147 strata residences will be launched in Phase One in the second quarter this year with the properties priced from RM700 to RM800 (S$280 to S$320) per sq ft, said the Ascott, one of the partners appointed for the project.

Avira, taking about 210 acres, will offer terrace houses, semi-detached homes, condominiums as well as a wellness sanctuary.

Phase One will see 458 units of terrace homes launched in July. At about 2,200 sq ft each, the terrace houses will be priced under RM1 million.

Mr Lee expressed satisfaction over the progress of the Iskandar projects yesterday.

He said: “The Malaysian government has shown a lot of commitment in developing the Iskandar projects and a lot of investments have come in, with a significant amount of them coming from Singapore.”

Adapted from Today Online Singapore 20/02/2013

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High-speed rail a ‘game changer’


SINGAPORE — With several joint projects between Singapore and Malaysia in progress following the landmark resolution of a decades-long dispute over railway land, the two governments yesterday announced another historic agreement: The construction of a high-speed rail linking Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in 90 minutes, a move which both Prime Ministers said will be a “game changer”.

The announcement came during a retreat between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his counterpart, Mr Najib Razak — the pair’s fourth since the inaugural meeting in 2009.

At a joint press conference yesterday, Mr Lee said the high-speed rail link will be a “strategic project for the two countries” as it will allow people in two cities to see themselves as “one virtual urban community”, citing the example of London and Paris, which are linked by Eurostar.

“I think it’s going to be a game changer. It will transform the way people interact, the intensity of our cooperation and the degree to which we become interdependent on one another and, therefore, have stakes in each other’s success,” Mr Lee said.

Added Mr Najib: “Our two cities will complement each other, our two countries will look at each other differently and the opportunities are boundless between our two countries.”

Malaysia’s target completion date for the rail link is 2020. Mr Lee pledged the Government’s cooperation to try to meet it once the Republic has studied the plans and details that are being worked out by Malaysia.

Mr Lee added that he felt building the rail link was a good idea when Mr Najib first mooted the suggestion to him a few months ago. “At this retreat, we decided that we should make a statement that ‘Yes, we want this, we’re working towards this’ and I think we can make it work,” Mr Lee said.

The plan to build a high-speed rail link between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur was first floated in the late 1990s and saw a push in 2006 when Malaysian conglomerate YTL submitted an RM 8 billion (S$3.2 billion) proposal to the government. In 2010, it was identified as a project under the Malaysian government’s Economic Transformation Programme, with proposed stops in Johor, Malacca and Negeri Sembilan.

Asked yesterday about the estimated cost of the planned project, Mr Najib declined to reveal the figures because they were “too preliminary for us to reveal to the public”, but noted that their initial studies have shown that it is “doable” as a business model.

Plans are for the project to be a private-public partnership where private firms will run the project with strong government participation and infrastructural support, he added.

The rail line is the latest agreement between both countries since Mr Najib took office in 2009.

During the retreat, both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a “stronger and mutually beneficial partnership, especially amid an uncertain global economy”, adding that the joint projects from the 2010 agreement reflected the high degree of trust and complementarity between both countries.

They added that they hoped to maintain steady bilateral relations which they can strengthen over time.

They discussed several other issues, including cooperation on water supply, transboundary environmental concerns, as well as expanding the digital dividend radio frequencies.

Both leaders yesterday visited the work sites of two of the joint projects — Marina One in Singapore and two wellness developments in Iskandar — borne out of the 2010 Points of Agreement deal.

Asked what impact the impending Malaysian elections — which must be called by April 28 and polls held within 60 days — will have on bilateral ties and the joint projects, Mr Najib said continuity is important as these are long-term developments. “The essence of making things happen is that you need continuity and stability, which works out to, you know, it’s quite obvious what that means,” he said.

Mr Lee added quickly: “We would like continuity and stability, too.”

Adapted from Today Online Singapore 20/02/2013

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