Abu Dhabi gives new deadline as 1MDB misses $600mil payment
Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) has given 1MDB five days to make a $600 (approx RM2.58bil) million payment, which the troubled Malaysian state fund failed to pay on Tuesday. 1MDB stated it was committed to meeting its obligations in August 2017, but did not specify a date. It said all payments to IPIC would be made from the proceeds of the 1MDB rationalisation plan, under which it is selling assets, and the delay was due to “regulatory approvals”. However, IPIC said that 1MDB and the Malaysian finance ministry (MoF) have just five days to resolve the non-payment. (CNBC)

Paramount to sell off Sri KDU to nation’s first education trust, Alpha REIT
Paramount Corp Bhd’s wholly-owned subsidiary plans to dispose off its private and international schools, Sekolah Sri KDU (SSKDU) and Sri KDU International School, to newly-formed Alpha Real Investment Trust (REIT) for RM165 million. The proposed disposal is in line with Paramount’s aim to pursue an asset light strategy and monetise its real estate assets through a sale-leaseback transaction. The transaction will mark the start of the first education REIT in the country, which expects a second acquisition of an international school. The REIT’s initial portfolio will be RM305 million, with a focus on educational assets. The REIT is unlisted for now, but it plans to list in three years, when it grows an asset under management (AUM) of RM2 billion to RM3 billion. (The Edge Markets)

Sunway plans RM460mil transit-oriented development in Kajang
Sunway Bhd is taking over a discontinued commercial development project in Kajang and aims to replace it with a mixed development with estimated GDV of RM460mil. Its subsidiary Daksina Harta Sdn Bhd had signed an agreement to buy the land – with the partially completed development on it – for RM63mil. The 5.28-acre land contains a partially completed commercial complex, but would be replaced with a proposed mixed-development comprising a retail podium/commercial lots, and serviced apartments/SoHo. The project is expected to be completed within five years. (The Star Online)

Sunway’s transit-oriented development project will be located next to an existing MRT station in Kajang. (Photo from The Star)

Sunway buys Subang Jaya lands for RM167mil
Sunway Bhd, had via its indirect wholly-owned Sunway Supply Chain Enterprise Sdn Bhd, is buying four parcels of lands from Jaks Resources Bhd’s unit Premier Place Property Sdn Bhd for RM167.6 million. The freehold industrial land in Subang Jaya spans 5.99ha. It is planning to redevelop into a mixed use development with an estimated GDV of at least RM1.4 billion. The land would be used for warehouse and storage facilities, with plans to redevelop the strategically-located parcels of land for mixed use development. (NST Online)

Sime Darby to sell entire 40% in property firm to PNB
Sime Darby Bhd is disposing of its entire 40% stake in property firm Seriemas Development Sdn Bhd (SDSB) to Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) for RM625 million. Currently PNB holds the rest of Seriemas Development. The disposal is in line with its strategy to unlock value through monetisation and opportunistic divestment, while enabling the group to reduce its borrowings via the proceeds. SDSB has 11 parcels of undeveloped land in Bangi, Selangor, three parcels of land with ongoing development. It also owns two malls in Kota Seriemas, Negri Sembilan, and two hotels in Morib, Selangor. (The Sun Daily)

Malaysia’s pioneer newsprint producer to be wound up
Malaysian Newsprint Industries Sdn Bhd (MNI), a regional paper manufacturer and supplier owned partly by The New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd (NSTP) and Hong Leong Industries Bhd (HLI), has begun creditors’ voluntary winding-up proceedings. “The board of MNI was of the opinion that MNI could not continue its business. MNI had been operating under very difficult market conditions, especially declining newsprint demand, and has incurred losses for the past three years,” Media Prima and HLI said in separate announcements. Media Prima has a 21.36% equity interest through NSTP, while HLI has a 33.65% interest. Oslo-based Norske Skog, one of the world’s largest producers of publication paper also has a 33.65% stake, and the Rimbunan Hijau group owns the remaining 11.34%. (The Star Online)

A 2011 file photo of the Malaysian Newsprint Industries plant in Mentakab, Pahang. (Photo from The Star)

EcoFirst’s 4Q net profit jumps almost 13 times
EcoFirst Consolidated Bhd’s net profit for 4QFY17 jumped by about 13 times to RM7.77 million compared to the same quarter a year ago, mainly due to contribution from the development of Upper East at Tiger Lane in Ipoh, Perak, and Liberty project at Ampang Ukay. During the quarter, the property developer also saw its revenue grew by 49.8% to RM65.5 million. Besides the Upper East and Liberty project, recurring income from the group’s two malls also helped in its improved performance for the quarter. For the full financial year 2017 (FY17), EcoFirst however saw its net profit slipped by 3.6% to RM15.6 million. (The Edge Markets)

Singapore residential prices to head higher in next two years
DBS Group Research says there are multiple catalyst for Singapore residential prices to head higher in the next two years, and expects developers to pump more capital into the local property market, which is ending a period of oversupply amid a stable environment. Property prices are expected to rise 6%-10% in two years as volumes approach five-year highs. Unsold inventories are at a 16-year low, and with the wave of foreign buyers, there will be a further rebound in volumes and prices. (The Edge Singapore)