Ringgit declines again as US probes corruption allegations
The ringgit dropped to 4.296 against the dollar, with prospects of a US rate increase compounding losses, after the New York Times reported that the US Justice Department has started investigations into alleged corruption related to Prime Minister Najib Razak. The probe is focusing on US properties that were purchased by Najib’s stepson through shell companies, and also the PM’s personal bank accounts. Another report days earlier by the Wall Street Journal said that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had began probing into alleged offshore money laundering by state investment company 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). (The Malaysian Insider)

1MDB: Unfair to blame us over weak ringgit
1Malaysia Development Berhad issued a statement yesterday saying that the weak ringgit, along with other falling currencies, were mainly due to the fall in oil prices, expectations of rising US interest rates and economic slowdown concerns. It claimed that Bank Negara Governer Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz had singled out the company as contributing to the ringgit’s depreciation. 1MDB highlighted that the value of its assets exceeded its debt, and had consistently met its foreign and domestic repayment obligations with no default. On Monday, Dr Zeti said at the Malaysia Economic Update 2015 that the public deserved answers on 1MDB, in response to a query as to whether domestic affairs, particularly 1MDB, had contributed to the ringgit’s decline. (The Star Online)

1MDB launches sale tender for Pulau Indah land
1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) has launched a land sale tender exercise for its 128.7-ha land in Pulau Indah, Selangor, with Savills (M) as advisor. The parcel of land in Pulau Indah is located on a single-large development site, measuring approximately 318 acres, and is adjacent to the Port Klang Free Zone and other industrial areas. The sale of the land is part of its rationalisation plan to monetise land parcels in Pulau Indah and Air Itam in order to lessen debt. (AsiaOne)

The Equatorial Hotel building along Jalan Sultan Ismail in Kuala Lumpur (Photo from Flickr/yewenyi)

The Equatorial Hotel building along Jalan Sultan Ismail in Kuala Lumpur (Photo from Flickr/yewenyi)

IJM Corp bags RM455.5m Equatorial Plaza project
IJM Corp has been awarded the RM455.5 million construction project for the new Equatorial Plaza, on the site of the former Equatorial Hotel in Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. The project will comprise of a 52-storey block including a podium, office tower, hotel and associated interior design works with a construction duration of 36 months. Although it is IJM Corp’s first job for FY16, it has already made up 91% of the company’s full year target of RM500 million. (The Edge Markets)

Paramount’s education segment cushions property sales slowdown
Property developers have diversified into other businesses to cushion the slowdown in property sales, with one such company being Paramount Corp Bhd. Its other business is education, which promises good growth prospects amid the weak ringgit and softening property market. Paramount is the owner of KDU Education Group, which provides undergraduate courses and masters programme, as well as venturing into primary and secondary education since 2003, which has turned out to be the biggest earnings contributor within Paramount’s education segment. About 70% of its revenue and 80% of profit is garnered from property development, while education contributes 30% revenue and 20% profit. (The Star Online)

Ivory Properties unveils RM2bil projects in Penang
Property developer Ivory Properties Group Bhd is launching RM2 billion worth of residential and commercial projects this year, which include the first phase of Penang WorldCity (PWC) called Tropicana Bay Residences with a GDV of RM933.4 million. PWC is a joint development with Tropicana Corp Bhd which has a total GDV of RM10 billion. Other projects in the pipeline are The Central (RM670.9 million) and The Wave serviced residences (RM611 million). The projects are in integrated developments in close proximity to public transportation and facilities proposed in the Penang Transportation Master Plan (PTMP). (Malaysia Chronicle)

EcoWorld acquiring RM1.18 land in Kuala Selangor for RM15b township
Eco World Development Group Bhd is acquiring 26 plots of leasehold land in Ijok, Kuala Selangor totaling 889.66ha for RM1.18 billion. EcoWorld intends to develop the lands into a self-contained township with potential gross development value of about RM15 billion. The developments planned on the land include a mixed eco-township named ‘Eco Gardens’ (1,400 acres), an integrated and gated industrial hub ‘Eco Business Park V’ (518 acres), and an affordable homes portion known as ‘Laman Indah’ on the remaining 280 acres. The group said the deposit was funded via internal funds, while the balance is expected to be funded through a combination of internal funds, bank borrowings and/or equity funding. (The Malaysian Insider)

EcoWorld is acquiring 26 plots of leasehold land in Kuala Selangor for a township development worth RM15 billion. (Image sourced from The Edge Markets)

EcoWorld is acquiring 26 plots of leasehold land in Kuala Selangor for a township development worth RM15 billion. (Image sourced from The Edge Markets)

Rowsley to convert Iskandar township into healthcare hub
Singapore’s Rowsley Ltd announced that it will convert its proposed Iskandar Malaysia township project into a healthcare hub, amid a rising supply of homes in the special economic zone. It has decided to reposition its Vantage Bay mixed-use township development into Vantage Bay Healthcare City, which will include a specialist hospital, long-term care facilities, a medical school and a wellness resort. The projec will be built in phases and is expected to have a gross development value of RM5 billion. (The Rakyat Post)

PR1MA to work with developers to meet deadline
Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia (PR1MA) believes it will meet the delivery deadline of building 500,000 affordable homes by 2018 by consolidating its operations with developers. In a statement yesterday, PR1MA said the operational consolidation was the heart of its discussion during the meeting with developers. Its partners were urged to share their development status every month, identify roadblocks and challenges to ensure smooth delivery of the units. PR1MA said it is currently on track to meet the targeted 240,000 housing units by end of 2015. (The Sun Daily)

Berjaya Land 1QFY16 profit falls 73.7% , revenue up 7.1%
Berjaya Land Bhd reported a 73.7% fall in net profit to RM9.91 million for the first financial quarter of 2016 (1QFY16) on lower profit contribution from its Sports Toto Malaysia gaming business as a result of higher prize payouts, in addition to absorption of the goods and services tax (GST) expense. It also reported lower profit and higher finance costs from its hotels and resorts businesses. However, revenue for 1QFY16 rose 7.1% to RM1.51 billion due to higher revenue from H.R Owen Plc outlets and car sales, favourable foreign exchange effect from its foreign businesses and higher progress billings by property development and investment. (The Edge Markets)