PNB to merge SP Setia, I&P Group to form one of Malaysia’s largest property players
Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) is merging both its property investments, SP Setia Bhd and I&P Group Sdn Bhd, to form one of the largest property companies in Malaysia with a landbank of close to 10,000 acres. SP Setia is set to buy over I&P Group for approximately RM3.75 billion. The proposed acquisition will enhance the group’s landbank and fast track its expansion plan. PNB, a state investment fund and significant shareholder in both the companies, said it will provide the necessary capital support for the deal. (Astro Awani)

Luxury property owners taking up to 30% cut to seal deals
A growing glut in the luxury property segment is pushing some owners to cut 30% or more off their asking prices in order to secure a sale or rental. According to data from NAPIC on residential homes valued over RM1 million, unsold units increased over 9% from 1Q2014 to the same period in 2015, equivalent to RM158mil worth of surplus units. Property agents noted the phenomenon was prevalent in the secondary market of Klang Valley, Penang, and Johor. The drop is fueling a vicious cycle, as lower rental yields are making it harder for owners to meet mortgage payments, leading to discounted sales of units, which in turn affects rental prices further. (Malay Mail Online)

Mah Sing named 2017 Frost & Sullivan Property Development Company of the Year
Mah Sing Group Berhad celebrated another achievement as it clinched the 2017 Frost & Sullivan Property Development Company of the Year last week. The award recognised Mah Sing as a company that demonstrated excellence in growth, innovation and leadership in three key areas: demand generation, brand development, and competitive positioning. The group was also evaluated based on financial performance, innovation, brand equity, customer ownership experience and customer service experience, in which it had excelled in all criteria. (Yahoo Finance)

More high-value properties despite less number of auctions
Even though the number of properties for auction has decreased over the past few years, the total value of auctioned properties have actually increased in 2016, indicating an increase in higher-value auction properties. According to data from a local auction website, the total value of auctioned property listings jumped 29% to RM10.76bil last year from RM8.33bil in 2015 and RM8.2bil in 2014. The increase in high-value listings was mainly contributed by listings located in four property hotspots, namely Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Johor. Majority of the auctioned properties are residential units, with apartments and condominiums taking up a significant portion. (The Edge Markets)

Stellar World launches The Gateways serviced suites in Perak
Property developer Stellar World Sdn Bhd has launched the first serviced suites project at The Gateways integrated development in Perak. Located at Pengkalan Hulu, Perak along the main international Malaysia-Thailand border crossing, the 151-acre The Gateways is a significant tourism-centric integrated development within the country’s northern development corridor. There will be a total of 144 units, with prices starting from RM198,000. The first phase of The Gateways has an estimated GDV of RM70 million, and comprises the serviced suites, 80 retail units and a duty free shopping mall, all on a 7.8-acre site. (The Edge Markets)

Klang’s third bridge ready for motorists
Klang’s third bridge is expected to be opened to motorists within the next two weeks. Final touches on the bridge, including lining and resurfacing certain sections of the bridge, are being carried out. A JKR representative said the work on the structure was complete and roads connecting to it from both ends were ready. The bridge will connect the northern and southern parts of Klang through Jalan Goh Hock Huat and Jalan Sungai Bertih to Persiaran Raja Muda Musa. The new bridge is expected to reduce the traffic load and congestion of the other two bridges, especially during peak hours. (The Star Online)

Klang’s third bridge (Photo from The Star)

KL-Klang BRT service ready in two years, says Liow
A 34-kilometre Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line linking Kuala Lumpur to Klang is expected to be ready in two years, says Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai. The service will use the existing Federal Highway, Jalan Tun Sambanthan and Jalan Syed Putra, with the service along the Federal Highway having one dedicated lane. The space of at the centre of the highway would be used to accommodate a dedicated lane. The BRT KL-Klang line is expected to cut travel time from KL to Klang down to 40 minutes from the current 70 minutes by public transport. The BRT service will have 25 stations, from Pasar Seni to Klang. (Free Malaysia Today)

Malaysia’s Sepang F1 circuit (Photo from Daily Mail)

Malaysia to host final F1 race this year
Malaysia will stage its final Formula One (F1) Grand Prix in October this year, after the government and the sport’s commercial rights holders announced that their hosting agreement would end a year early. Malaysia has hosted F1 races at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) since 1999. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said that declining ticket sales, viewership and tourism were behind the decision to pull out of hosting the race. (The Edge Markets)