Aseana Properties sells Aloft Hotel for RM418.7mil
London-based property developer Aseana Properties Ltd is selling its Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral Hotel (Aloft Hotel) to Prosper Group Holdings Ltd for RM418.7 million. Aseana will gain approximately RM138.72 million from the proposed disposal. The transaction includes the purchase of the entire issued share capital of ASPL M3B Ltd and Iringan Flora Sdn Bhd and assumption of certain debts, assets and liabilities of the Aloft companies. The proceeds from the disposal will be used to fully repay the medium-term notes (MTNs) issued for the Aloft Hotel, and to partly repay the MTNs issued for the Harbour Mall Sandakan and Four Points Sheraton Sandakan Hotel. (The Edge Markets)

Sunway Group invests RM875mil to boost hospitality unit
Sunway Bhd is investing RM875 million into its hospitality division, Sunway Hotels and Resorts, to facilitate a 3-year redevelopment and extension plan to its hotels across Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam. The investments include RM530 million for new assets and RM345 million for refurbishment and expansion of existing hospitality assets. New assets include the four-star Sunway Pyramid Hotel West, which opened on Feb 19, and the Sunway Velocity Hotel slated to open in the third quarter next year. The investment plan began this year and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2018. (The Star Online)

halalMalaysia’s halal exports expected to grow 19% to RM50bil
The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) is expecting Malaysia’s halal exports to grow 19% to RM50 billion this year, up from RM42 billion in 2015, leveraging on intensive promotions from industry stakeholders. Mida CEO Datuk Azman Mahmud said the halal industry was fast becoming an important source of revenue and growth as attracting foreign direct investment in the halal products and services would help increase exports. The global halal market is worth US$2.3 trillion (RM8.9 trillion) a year, with halal foods alone estimated at US$693bil (RM2.68tril), while the country’s annual demand for halal foods was valued at RM1.7 billion. Besides food, Mida had also identified new growth clusters like pharmaceutical, cosmetic and personal care products, medical devices, and logistics to be further promoted and developed. (The Star Online)

State exco questions lack of federal housing projects for civil servants in Penang
A Penang executive counciller has demanded an explanation from Putrajaya regarding the lack civil servant housing units in the state. Under the Perumahan Penjawat Awam 1Malaysia (PPA1M) scheme, 100,000 housing units are to be developed for government servants nationwide. However, not a single unit has been earmarked or built in Penang. The state government has not received any application from the government to build PPA1M here, said Penang housing and town and country planning committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo. (The Malay Mail Online)

WCT bags RM133.9mil Gombak police quarters redevelopment job
WCT Holdings Bhd has won a RM133.93 million contract for the redevelopment of an existing police quarters (Block 10 & 11) at Bandar Ulu Kelang in Gombak, Selangor. The contract by Mass Rapid Transit Corp Sdn Bhd is to build a 20-storey police quarters housing 300 units, with facilities and a five-storey podium car park. It is expected to be completed in 28 months. (The Edge Markets)

Crescendo’s 4Q net profit plunges 90.4%
Crescendo Corp Bhd saw its net profit for 4QFY16 plunge 90.4% to RM3.3 million from RM34.4 million a year earlier, due to lower property sales. However, the group had realised gain from the transfer of property development to investment properties, and a gain from fair value adjustment on investment properties in the previous year. Its annual FY16 net profit came in 85.1% lower at RM17.8 million from RM119.7 million in FY15. The company expects the market condition to remain uncertain in the near term, but says it has positioned itself well to face these challenges with its ongoing projects located strategically in Iskandar Malaysia’s Economic Zone. (The Edge Markets)

Boustead Plantations to gain RM120mil from land sale
Boustead Plantations Bhd is expecting to gain RM120 million from the disposal of non-core land this year, following an RM57 million gain from similar disposal activities in 2014, which boosted its profit after tax to RM72mil from RM52mil. Crude palm oil (CPO) price was expected to fare well this year and forecast to reach RM3,000 per tonne by mid-year. The company is confident of performing better this year compared to 2015, even considering factors such as foreign workers levy, lower production due to El Nino that may affect profitability. (The Star Online)