CIMB-Principal launches global sukuk fund
CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management (Ireland) PLC has obtained approval from the central bank of Ireland to launch its Global Sukuk UCITS Fund, Malaysia’s first global sukuk fund under the Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS) structure. The US-dollar denominated fund seeks to maximise returns through a combination of capital growth and income by investing in a diversified portfolio of syariah-compliant fixed income securities (sukuk) based mainly in the Middle East and Asia. The fund will appeal to investors looking for ethical investments with stable returns in major currencies. It will be offered to investors for a minimum investment of US$1,000 (RM4,144) and is ideal for investors who seek a diversified portfolio and capital appreciation over the long term. The fund has an initial offer price of US$10 per share. (The Sun Daily)

Minister: 6% interest fair rate for developers offering loans
Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar has said that a maximum loan interest of 6% is a fair rate for developers to charge house buyers. Based on early feedback, developers should impose up to 6% interest only, and that as minister in charge he had the authority to set the rate to be used as well as the loan repayment period, he was quoted as saying by The Star. Noh added that the initiative was to help make up the gap that banks cannot lend to home buyers, and not a 100% loan. (Malay Mail Online)

Iris teams up with China firm for Putrajaya project
Iris Corp Bhd (ICB) has signed a joint venture agreement with China-based property developer Qingjian International Group Co Ltd (QIGC) to undertake a housing project in Putrajaya. Iris last year was awarded the contract to undertake the proposed development of 1Malaysia Civil Servants Housing (PPA1M) and a mixed development comprising commercial and residential buildings at Precinct 19, Putrajaya on a 16.2-acre piece of land. The project will involve the construction of 1,928 units of residential houses under PPA1M, with 508 residential houses and 22 units of commercial buildings for open sale. It is expected to be completed in 2.5 years. (The Edge Markets)

Malacca project set to boost Yong Tai earnings
Property developer Yong Tai is set to embark on a major project in Malacca that could significantly boost its earnings. It plans to raise some RM280mil from the entry of a Hong Kong-listed company which is taking up a significant stake in the company, with another RM56mil raised from placement to different parties. The total RM336mil raised will be used to finance the construction of Impression Melaka, to fund the balance purchase of land for the development of Impression City and to be used as working capital, among others. The company has chosen an outdoor folk musical show – or more precisely Impression Melaka, which is part of the renowned Impression Series in mainland China, as the centrepiece for its RM5.4 billion Impression City mixed development. (The Star Online)

Artist's impression of Impression City in Melaka (Image from Yong Tai website)

Artist’s impression of Impression City in Melaka (Image from Yong Tai website)

Malaysians among 16 forced to sell properties in Australia
Australia has forced the sale of 16 properties bought by foreigners without government permission, following enforcement of overseas investment rules. According to a list by the Australian government, of the 16 properties, seven belonged to Chinese nationals, British nationals owned four, Canadians two, and the remaining three belonged to Malaysian and Papua New Guinean interests. Foreign ownership has become a sensitive issue in Australia and a point of debate between Australia and China over the effect of overseas investment on real estate prices and national interests. The Australian government has forced the sale of 46 properties with a total value of A$93 million (US$70 million), mostly held by Chinese interests, since 2013. (Malay Mail Online)

Rapid Rail to take over SBK line operations from Dec 15
Prasarana Malaysia Bhd will be taking over the operations and maintenance of the Klang Valley Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) MRT line on December 15. It will operate the SBK Line via its unit, Rapid Rail Sdn Bhd, starting with Phase 1 from Sungai Buloh to Semantan, which will begin operations two weeks earlier than the Dec 31 target. Phase 2 from Semantan to Kajang will be completed by July next year and Rapid Rail will take it over immediately. The total construction cost for the 51-km SBK line with 31 stations is RM23 billion. (New Straits Times Online)