IGB sells Renaissance KL Hotel for RM765mil
IGB Corporation Bhd’s unit Great Union Properties Sdn Bhd (GUP) is disposing the of the Renaissance Hotel Kuala Lumpur to Venture International Sdn Bhd for RM765 million to unlock its business assets. The transaction is expected to make gain IGB RM85mil net of tax for FY17, which would improve the net assets and earnings per share. The hotel was completed and started operations in mid-1996. The original cost of investment in hotel was RM506.6mil. IGB plans to use the proceeds for working capital and support its continued growth for suitable acquisitions or investments. (The Star Online)

DBKL to determine rental rates for PPR ‘hire purchase’ system
Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) will determine the rental rates for the People’s Housing Project (PPR) hire purchase system without deposit, which will be carried out this year. Discussions will be held with all departments to study the appropriate rates based on number of rooms. Through this system, existing tenants will have to pay higher rental rates together with other charges. However, they would no longer have to deal with banks to manage the agreement because all processes will only involve the buyers and DBKL. Tenants are now renting between RM124 and RM300 a month, depending on the number of rooms. (Malay Mail Online)

REITs with strong sponsors, experience to gain most from new rules
The Securities Commission Malaysia’s (SC) proposal to allow real estate investment trusts (REITs) to acquire vacant land and undertake property development will benefit those with strong sponsors and experience in property development. One of the major changes is to allow REITs to acquire vacant land and undertake property development, subject to a cap of 15% of their total asset value. Other changes include steps to strengthen corporate governance practices as well as changes to enhance the level of disclosures and reporting to unit holders. An analyst said that REITs like IGB REIT and Sunway REIT that already have strong sponsors and would be able to leverage on their experience in property development and construction. Industrial REITs can easily buy land and build a warehouse, whereas for retail REITs, it would be more challenging to do so unless it is extending its existing asset, for example a shopping mall. (The Sun Daily)

Artist's impression of the Iskandar Malaysia region, which is said to span three times the land mass of neighbouring Singapore (Image from The Borneo Post)

Artist’s impression of the Iskandar Malaysia region (Image from The Borneo Post)

Iskandar Malaysia records RM208bil in investments
Iskandar Malaysia has recorded RM208 billion in committed investments from 2006 until June 30 this year, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Of the total, 51% or RM106.43 billion are realised investments. Local investors contributed RM124 billion while 40% (RM84.05 billion) came from foreign countries, which showed confidence of our neighbour and other countries in the world, he said. The huge investments reflect Malaysia’s strong economic fundamentals. Iskandar Malaysia has created over 680,000 jobs in various sectors between 2007 and 2015, mainly in manufacturing, hospitality, food and beverage, and education. (Malay Mail Online)

Housing developer fined RM10,000 over sewage leak
A housing development company was fined RM10,000 by the court in Selayang for failing to maintain its sewage pump, causing it to overflow in the toilets of shophouses in Kepong three years ago. The court also ordered Kepong Industrial Park Sdn Bhd’s project development assistant manager Jason Chong to be jailed three months if the company failed to pay the fine. The company paid the fine. The firm was charged with failure to carry out periodical maintenance works on the company’s private sewage pump station, which caused them to become faulty and overflow into six unit of three-storey shophouses in Kepong Industrial Park. (Malaysia Chronicle)

Four arrested for fake PPR housing scam
The MACC has detained four businessmen yesterday, who are believed to be involved in a fraud syndicate. The syndicate is said to have created a non-existent housing project to purchase People’s Housing Programme (PPR) units in Jinjang Selatan here with the price set at RM42,000 per unit. The scam offered a PPR housing unit for RM42,000, but applicants had to pay an additional RM37,000 to a ‘Kuala Lumpur City Hall insider’ as a bribe. Further investigations revealed that the housing project did not exist and was not approved by City Hall. Investigations found that the scam had been in operation between 3 to 6 months, and three victims have been identified. (New Straits Times Online)