Ekovest confident of securing RM2.5bil jobs in 2018
Ekovest Bhd is confident of securing at least RM2.5 billion worth of projects in the new year. It has tendered for RM5 billion worth of (mostly) infrastructure projects for next year, targeting a 50% success rate. It also aims to receive the government’s endorsement on Phase 2A of the Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway (DUKE) next year. Meanwhile, the group is also currently conducting surveys and soil improvement for its Kuala Lumpur River City project. As for its property development segment, the group will be more inclined towards building affordable homes in the near future. (The Edge Markets)

Paramount accepts development rights for RM1bil residential project
Paramount Corp Bhd’s unit Aneka Sepakat Sdn Bhd has accepted the development rights from Kumpulan Hartanah Selangor Bhd (KHSB) to develop two parcels of leasehold commercial land measure 9.66 acres in Section 14, Petaling Jaya. The proposed development will include four blocks of high-rise residential buildings consisting of about 1,600 units of residential properties, including 20% of affordable properties. The project is estimated to have a GDV of RM1 billion, with gross development cost projected at RM835mil. (The Star Online)

Sentoria to build PR1MA units in Kuantan for RM67.3mil
Sentoria Group Bhd has won a contract to design and build 1Malaysia People’s Housing Programme (PR1MA) units in Kuantan, Pahang for RM67.3 million. It received letters of awards from HA Properties Sdn Bhd to build 320 single-storey, semi-detached houses in Mukim Penor and another 198 such units in Sri Damai. The contract is due for completion in Dec 2020, and expected to contribute positively towards the future financial performance of the group. (The Edge Markets)

Crescendo 3Q net profit up 29% on property development gains
Crescendo Corp Bhd’s net profit for 3QFY18 climbed 29% to RM10.26 million on higher operating profit in its property development and construction segment. Quarterly revenue however slipped 2% year-on-year to RM71.17 million. The group said it would continue to leverage on its strategic land bank to develop properties that meet current market needs. In Johor, it plans to launch factories, landed residential, shop office, and affordable housing. However, it remains cautious about its launches to avoid holding high levels of stock. (The Edge Markets)

PNB ups 2017 GDP growth forecast to 5.8%
Permodalan National Bhd (PNB), the country’s largest fund management company, is planning to increase its exposure in the global market next year as the ringgit strengthens. Currently, over 90% of its investments are still onshore. PNB is of the view that the local currency may further strengthen to 4.0 against the greenback as at end-2018. PNB chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar said the fund manager has revised Malaysia’s 2017 gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast upwards to 5.8% from 5.3% previously, on expectation of continued momentum in 2018. Increasing its overseas portfolio – including private investments, fixed income, and property landbanking – is just one of several strategies for PNB to grow its assets to RM350 billion while reducing its cash holdings to 12% by 2022. (The Edge Markets)

Photo from KLIA2

Penang’s development charges reason for high property prices, says Umno rep
Development charges and other housing development contributions imposed on developers in Penang have more than tripled since 2008 which has led to high property prices, said an Umno lawmaker. Pulau Betong assemblyman Datuk Muhammad Farid Saad claimed that development charges which were previously RM5 per sq ft for residential projects are now RM15 per sq ft while development contributions such as for drainage, parking, community facilities, infrastructure and low cost housing have also more than doubled or tripled. However, he admitted that there are also other contributing factors to the higher property prices such as land price, material price, contractor costs and developer’s profit margins. (Malay Mail Online)

Felda: Audit over Jln Semarak deal to be completed in Feb
The Prime Minister’s Department has instructed a forensic audit to be conducted over the dubious transfer of Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) property in Jalan Semarak to start in January. The audit will be conducted by an external team. The investigative aspects of the case will be handed over to the police completely, including calling certain individuals for questioning. Besides a forensic audit, Felda is also in the process of cancelling a power of attorney letter which they suspect had been misused, while changing the land’s private caveat to registrar caveat with Kuala Lumpur’s Land and Mineral Department. (Malay Mail Online)