Penang property projects worth RM11.3bil on hold
The Business Processing Outsourcing Prime (BPO Prime) and Penang International Technology Park (PITP) projects worth a combined RM11.3 billion, which involve the Penang Development Corp (PDC) and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings Private Ltd, have been delayed due to current property market conditions. The BPO Prime project with a gross development value (GDV) of RM1.3 billion in Bayan Baru, Penang was to be completed in 2019. However, it has been postponed indefinitely, inadvertently pushing back the commencement of the PITP project, which was slated to begin after the BPO Prime project. The Penang government said in 2014 that the PITP and BPO Prime will be completed over the next five to 10 years. (The Edge Markets)

Sime may demerge plantation division or merge property arm with PNB Group
Sime Darby Bhd, as part of its restructuring plan, is planning to either demerge its plantation division or merge its property division with PNB Group. The demerger of the plantation division could unlock the group’s value, as it would be able to fetch a better valuation compared to other divisions due to rising crude palm oil prices. The other option would be to merge Sime Darby Property with other property companies under PNB to form a mega property development entity. Although this exercise might not increase group value significantly, it noted it was positive on this option as Sime will be able to better focus on its other businesses post the restructuring plan. (The Star Online)

Rising supply of retail and office space worrying
Malaysian REIT Managers Association (MRMA) chairman Datuk Jeffrey Ng said the rising levels of office and retail space is an issue. Office space oversupply has been an issue for several years while the growing number of malls in the Klang Valley and its impact on rent is a burgeoning issue. A number of fairly large malls were also completed late last year and some will be completed this year, adding to the retail space over supply situation. In the office space segment, a “huge” incoming supply of about 13.32 million sq ft is scheduled for completion by the end of 2018. The demand for office space is expected to be “limited” in the short term due to various challenges internal and external issues. (The Star Online)

Sarawak developer Ibraco to venture into affordable housing
Sarawak-based property developer Ibraco Bhd, which is known for its range of upscale residential and commercial property projects, is expanding its portfolio to include more affordable housing. The group has submitted plans to the State Planning Authority on homes catering to low- and moderate-income households. As one of the pioneer developers in Sarawak, Ibraco has kept to developments in the state since 1974, before venturing into Peninsular Malaysia in 2015 for “Continew”, a two-tower mixed development project in Kuala Lumpur. Construction began in October 2016 and expected to complete by 2022. The company will also begin developing its major integrated development “Northbank”, comprising a business park as well as guarded residential and commercial buildings, in Kuching by 3Q this year. (The Edge Markets)

Artist's impression of D'Camellia Apartments

Artist’s impression of D’Camellia Apartments

D’Camellia Apartments final block launched
Setia Ecohill, a subsidiary of property developer SP Setia Berhad, has launched the final block of its D’Camellia Apartments in Semenyih. D’Camellia, the third offering under Setia EcoHill’s affordable homes, is a freehold project comprising two 18-storey residential towers with a total of 635 units. Block 1 was launched at end of October last year. The remaining 318 units of Block 2 were launched this weekend. The apartments’ facilities include an Olympic length swimming pool, children’s wading pool, a badminton sports court, a multipurpose hall and a children’s playground. (The Star Online)

SGX expects more IPOs in 2017 despite increased volatility
The Singapore Exchange is expecting more listings and fundraising activities this year, according to a report b CIMB. The IPO pipeline appears to be healthy, with more listings and funds to be raised in FY17 vs. FY16. The new IPOs expected to come from the consumer, real estate, infrastructure and technology sectors. (Singapore Business Review)

Malaysian taxis exempted from Singapore road charge
Malaysian taxis are not subject to pay the new Reciprocal Road Charge (RRC) that will be implemted by Singapore on Feb 15. The RRC is not applicable to foreign-registered taxis, said a spokesperson from Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA). Singapore taxis were exempted from paying the Road Charge in Malaysia. About 195 Johor taxis ferrying passengers into Singapore via the Causeway will be affected by the RRC unless excluded. (The Star Online)

Malaysian taxis are exempted from the Reciprocal Road Charge by Singapore; Singapore taxis are exempted from paying the Road Charge in Malaysia. (Photo from The Star Online)

Malaysian taxis are exempted from the Reciprocal Road Charge by Singapore; Singapore taxis are exempted from paying the Road Charge in Malaysia. (Photo from The Star Online)