No hike in toll rates, says deputy works minister
The Works Ministry has stressed that all toll rates will remain unchanged. Deputy minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin said the decision to retain the current toll rates for the 12 highway concessions, as announced last year, remain unchanged. This was in reply to queries about potential changes in toll rates, as four highway concessionaires were entitled to hike rates this year. The four expressways involved are the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL), the Kajang-Seremban Highway (Lekas), the Senai-Desaru Expressway (SDE) and the Guthrie Corridor Expressway (GCE). (Malay Mail Online)

Amanah urges Johor govt to buy up unsold Bumi properties
Parti Amanah Negara has suggested that the Johor government buy the unsold 80,000 Bumiputera properties in the state to prevent developers from going bankrupt. Party deputy president Salahuddin Ayub said the state government could purchase low-cost units and then resell them to the public, especially low income groups through a Rent-to-Own (RTO) scheme. For those who are eligible under the Johor Affordable Homes Scheme but do not have permanent jobs, it will enable them to own a home by assuming monthly rental payments as installment of house purchases. (Malay Mail Online)

Tanco rebrands as resort-based developer
Property developer Tanco Holdings Bhd, known for projects such as Bandar Country Homes in Rawang and Duta Vista in Damansara, is now actively rebranding itself as a resort-based developer. Its massive 400-acre land bank in Port Dickson will be the key game changer for the company. Tanco’s main project at present is Dickson Bay in Port Dickson, a 400-acre sea-fronting integrated resort development. The project is set to include a Double Tree Hilton Hotel, theme park, spa village and service suite and convention hall. Besides the Dickson Bay project, Tanco also plans to develop a resort in Kuantan. (The Star Online)

dickson bay tanco port dickson splash park

Artist’s impression of Dickson Bay, which includes Splash Park water theme park (Image from Splash Park MY)

Forest City still on growth path
The development of Forest City in Johor is still progressing well, despite the capital outflow’s restriction from the Chinese government, which has severely affected its property investments abroad, say industry observers. Despite the capital outflow restriction by China, development at Forest City will carry on but at a slower pace, said Knight Frank Malaysia managing director Sarkunan Subramaniam. He added the mega project would be a success, on the back of its developer’s strong financial and construction foundations. Country Garden has the financial muscle to complete the first phase of Forest City, and has already entered the second phase without any hiccup. (NST Online)

China firm to set up RM300mil plant in Pekan Nanas
Johor is finalising details on an investment from a China company in the industrial building system (IBS) that wants to set up its manufacturing facility in Pekan Nanas. The firm is planning to invest between RM200mil and RM300mil. Pekan Nanas was chosen due to Pontian district’s close proximity with Iskandar Malaysia. Demand for the IBS-related products is on the upward trend in Iskandar Malaysia as many projects including property developments and infrastructure works were taking place in south Johor. The government is in talks with investors from China, Japan and Singapore who are interested to set up facilities in Iskandar Malaysia. (The Star Online)

Halex buys freehold plot in Klang for RM6.9mil
Halex Holdings Bhd is acquiring a 334-square-metre plot of land with a six-storey shop office in Klang for RM6.9 million. 20% of the purchase consideration will be paid in cash, while the remaining 80% will be settled using bank borrowings and internally generated funds. “The new management opined since the holding company’s core operations are centered in Klang, the proposed acquisition will consolidate and increase operations efficiency of the group as a whole,” it said in a statement. (The Edge Markets)

Widening spreads among REITs present opportunities in hospitality
The widening spreads among real estate investment trusts (REITs) in Malaysia present investment opportunities particularly for hospitality REITs. According to AmInvestment, the spread between REITs and Malaysian Government Securities (MGS) has widened, creating a pocket of opportunities for some REITs for further spread compression. The research firm believed that the wide spreads of hospitality REITs are due to perceived risks of the extremely short-term nature of the hospitality industry – as low as one-day lease. It also said lower bond yields could result in a lower borrowing cost for REITs with lumpier refinancing, lower percentage of loans on floating rates and asset leverage. (The Borneo Post)

‘Kelantan development delayed due to uncooperative state govt’
Implementation of the development agenda in Kelantan is hampered due to lack of cooperation from the PAS-led state government, said Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub. Kelantan was among states to receive high allocation in the 11th Malaysia Plan (RMK-11) and as such development plans should have been well-implemented. (Malay Mail Online)

Enra Group bags RM206mil Petronas job in Myanmar
Enra Group Bhd’s 60%-owned subsidiary Enra SPM Sdn Bhd has clinched a US$48 million (RM206 million) contract from Petronas’ subsidiary PC Myanmar (Hong Kong) Ltd. (PCML) for the provision of condensate storing, offloading facilities and services in Myanmar. The contract is for the lease of a single point mooring (SPM) system and storage tanker to PCML. Enra said it is keen to build a track record in providing optimum cost-effective solutions to the oil and gas industry in the region and it anticipates the project to contribute positively to its earnings. (The Sun Daily)