AmFirst REIT disposes AmBank Group Leadership Centre for RM36mil
AmFirst Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) has disposed of its 13-storey AmBank Group Leadership Centre for RM36 million cash. The 25-year-old office building, located within walking distance from KL Tower, has a net book value of RM22.9mil, and was sold to Techvance Properties Management Sdn Bhd for a net gain of about RM8.4 million. (The Star Online)

Wilmar appoints new COO, eyes property projects
PPB Group Bhd’s associate, Wilmar International Ltd, has appointed a new chief operating officer (COO) Pua Seck Guan, who is also Perennial Real Estate chief executive. His expertise will help the group open the door to real estate ventures for agribusiness-based Wilmar to undertake property projects. Perennial has a portfolio of properties developed or managed in Singapore, China, Malaysia and Ghana. Pua’s extensive experience in leadership, management and entrepreneurial skills make him suited to manage Wilmar’s global operations and grow their business in different markets, said Wilmar chairman and chief executive Kuok Khoon Hong. Nevertheless, Kuok stressed that Pua was not appointed to help Wilmar build a real estate business, but for his management skills and ability to work with partners. (The Edge Markets)

JR Central Shinkansen japan bullet trainJapan eyes KL-SG high speed rail project
Japan is aiming to sell its bullet train to the proposed high-speed rail line between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, following its $15 billion rail deal with India which it won over China. If successful, the project will open a new market for companies from Hitachi Ltd (which makes bullet trains) to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd (which manages the construction of high-speed train projects). The Japanese government supports such a bid, said Japanese Transport Minister Keiichi Ishii, adding that cooperation between the government and business leaders was crucial in clinching the deal with India last week. “As part of the Japan team we want to cover all aspects of train operations, including operations and maintenance, not just selling trains,” said Hitachi President Toshiaki Higashihara, adding that the company would want to work on delivering a whole package for the KL-SG high-speed rail. (Bloomberg)

New affordable housing policy and guidelines proposed for Sarawak
Sarawak’s Ministry of Housing has proposed a new affordable housing policy and guidelines to the State Planning Authority, which would involve major enhancement to the state’s approach to affordable housing. The proposal covers among others, improved changes on the design, planning requirements, and maximum selling price of the low-cost and affordable housing units, said Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg during the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Sitting yesterday. The main objectives of the new proposed policy are to increase supply of affordable housing to low- and middle-income segments, control house prices, improve housing design standards and leverage on new housing opportunities and address urban sprawl. (The Borneo Post)

United Malacca ventures into Indonesia with RM287mil purchase
Plantation company United Malacca Bhd (UMB) is venturing into Indonesia and doubling its plantation land at the same time, through the acquisition of an 83% equity stake in PT Lifere Agro Kapuas (LAK) for US$66.4mil (RM286.7mil). The deal will boost its plantation land to 48,695ha thanks to LAK’s over 24,000ha oil palm plantation land in Central Kalimantan. (The Star Online)