US$10b project in IDR

28 Aug 2007 The Star

Mideast and Malaysian investors plan high-end integrated city

KUALA LUMPUR: A group of investors from Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon are expected to join Malaysian investors to develop 2,000 to 2,500 acres in the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) into a high-end integrated city.

While the initial investment in the development is projected to be more than RM3bil, the construction cost is estimated to be between US$10bil and US$12bil, according to sources.

The massive development, which will be spearheaded by investors that have transformed cities in the Middle East, is projected to be completed no later than 2015.

 Mudabala Group of Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority are said to be among the investors that would be building high-end properties in IDR. There is also talk that a big developer from Abu Dhabi would partner Putrajaya Perdana Bhd in executing part of the development. 

Swan Symphony Sdn Bhd, a consortium comprising Middle Eastern, Malaysian and Singaporean investors, has proposed to buy a 50.6% stake in Putrajaya Perdana for RM390mil cash with the intention of transforming the Malaysian developer into a global construction company.

Swan Symphony is 51%-owned by the Abu Dhabi-Kuwait-Malaysia Investment Corp and 49% by Autron Investment.

Mudabala has wide-ranging investments in real estate, utilities, basic industries, energy, health and services. The investment agency owns a 5% stake in Italian carmaker Ferrari and 25% of SR Technics, one of the largest maintenance, repair and overhaul service providers in Europe.

The foreign investors are said to have a track record in getting things done fast and a penchant for glamorous projects.

Although details are sketchy, plans for the development in IDR by the Middle Eastern investors will feature high-end properties priced up to RM2,000 per sq ft.

Facilities like a high-end yacht club, high-end shopping centres and luxurious hotels are said to be on the blueprint.

An expansion of the Senai airport is also on the cards and the Government is expected to create a conducive environment for investment by foreigners.

The entire development is expected to be a tremendous boost for the local construction and building materials industry.