UMLand unaffected by Iskandar property slowdown

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DUBAI: United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand) is unaffected by the property slowdown in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor, as it focuses on niche projects, says chief executive officer Datuk Charlie Chia Lui Meng. He said the developer continues to be upbeat about its projects in the southern development corridor.

Currently, 85% of UMLand’s developments are concentrated in Iskandar Malaysia, and the rest are located in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

“With the competition among the China developers in Iskandar Malaysia, a [property] glut is already happening. But we (UMLand) are [not affected by this glut as we are] focusing on niche projects, which give value such as [the provision of] high interconnectivity through high-speed broadband,” Chia told a news conference on the sidelines of the 10th World Islamic Economic Forum yesterday.

Besides residential properties, the group focuses on developing commercial and industrial projects in Iskandar Malaysia.

UMLand operates two development divisions — the township and niche divisions — and the group has a combined 1,800 acres (728ha) of undeveloped land in both divisions.

Earlier, UMLand signed a memorandum of understanding with Medini Iskandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd to mark the completion of its purchase of the remaining three phases of its four-phase lease of 13.22 acres of prime land in the business district zone of Medini, Iskandar Malaysia, which it had purchased for RM82.49 million.

The total gross development value of the group’s projects in 2015, excluding its township division projects, is RM1.5 billion.

These projects include Star Residences, its joint development venture with Symphony Life Bhd featuring upmarket service residences in Kuala Lumpur City Centre, and UMCity Medini Lakeside and Viridea Lakeside in Medini, Iskandar Malaysia.

On whether the group would consider relisting on the local bourse, Chia said it is possible in the future.

“Although we are now privatised, we actually retained our corporate [governance] structure in tune with a listed entity, so when we are ready again, we will relist as there is an intention to,” he said.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 31, 2014.