China Railway paid RM2.1bil less for Bandar Malaysia?
The China Railway Group Limited said its joint venture with Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Berhad had paid RM5.28 billion for the 60% stake in Bandar Malaysia, in a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx) yesterday. The amount is RM2.13 billion less than the RM7.41 billion deal claimed by 1MDB last week on Dec 31. The HKEx disclosure stated that RM5.28 billion price was for “60% of the equity interest in Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd”, and that China Railway would pay RM2.639 billion of the RM5.28 billion stated. The 1MDB statement last week stated that Sino-Malaysian consortium would take up 60% “share of land” in the Bandar Malaysia project but did not explicitly say RM7.41 billion was the price of equity in the holding company. (The Malaysian Insider)

Experts predict slight dip in 2016 property market
Industry experts are predicting a slight dip in property transactions for 2016, based on Malaysia’s property market downward trend since 2014. Fiabci Malaysia vice president Michael Geh predicted that the first half of the year will see a slight dip of about 5% in property transactions, based on the property trend in the past few years. The number of transactions for 2015 was lower than 2014, according to statistics by National Property Information Centre (Napic), but it was not a drastic drop. Rehda Penang branch chairman Datuk Jerry Chan agreed that transactions may be lower this year but said that there is still demand for housing from the younger generation who do not own homes yet, and developers are targeting the affordable sector and foreign money. Siva Shanker from MIEA also believed that the firs half of the year would be quiet for the property market. (The Malay Mail Online)

Johor, Seremban developers to benefit most from HSR
Analysts say that property developers with land bank in Seremban and Johor would be the main beneficiaries of the proposed Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project. When the HSR gets built, it will definitely boost the land value of the areas along the line, especially those near to its transit stops. However, it will take a few years to materialise, an industry analyst said. Another analyst noted that the HSR would have an overall positive impact on the Malaysian property market, but may not be so significant on the Nusajaya market considering its proximity to Singapore. (The Edge Markets)

IOI Properties on track for RM2bil sales target
Despite the soft property market, IOI Properties Group Bhd is on track to achieve its RM2 billion sales target for the financial year ending June 30, 2016. Group CEO Lee Yeow Seng said it had already garnered more than RM1 billion in sales from various project including in China and Singapore. Overseas projects contributed about 30% to 40% of sales, while local projects made up the remainder. Lee said the group’s unbilled sales currently stood at around RM1.5 billion, and were expected to be realised in about 1.5 to 2 years. IOI Properties currently has over 10 ongoing projects worth some RM2.5 billion. (The Star Online)

Tenaga plans US$3 billion sukuk issuance for expansion abroad
Tenaga Nasional Bhd is planning to tap the dollar debt market with its debut offering of global Islamic bonds, also known as ‘sukuk’. It is asking bankers to submit pitches for a US$3 billion sukuk programme, the proceeds being used to fund overseas investment projects including a 30% stake in Turkish power firm Gama Enerji A.S. for US$243 million. The proposed sale would help stem a slump in issuance of global Islamic bonds, and Malaysia’s first since the Federal Reserve rate hike in December. (The Malaysian Insider)

Tatt Giap sells Penang land for RM41 million
Tatt Giap Group Bhd is disposing of a piece of leasehold industrial land measuring over 42,000 sqm in Prai, Penang to CSC Steel Sdn Bhd for RM41 million, as part of a debt reducing exercise.The company will release its security and legal charges over the property for a redemption sum of RM20 million to reduce banking facilities for its 51% owned unit TGSC, and the balance from the sale would be used to reduce its trade debts to CSC by RM21 million. (The Sun Daily)

All Johor vape outlets closed, Melaka follows with vape ban
Following Kelantan and Terengganu, the Melaka government has decided to ban the sale and use of vape or electronic cigarettes in the state. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron said the effective date of the prohibition would be announced soon, after a state executive meeting on Wednesday. Idris said the state government would help existing vape traders to switch to another business. More than 20 licences had been issued in Melaka for the sale of vape. Meanwhile, all 120 vape outlets in Johor have closed following a royal decree banning vape effective Jan 1. (The Borneo Post)