KUALA LUMPUR: Mah Sing Group Bhd plans to roll out projects with a combined gross development value (GDV) of RM2.2 billion this year, said its group managing director Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum (pictured).

Last year, the property developer launched projects with a total GDV of RM1.86 billion.

Speaking to reporters after Mah Sing’s annual general meeting yesterday, Leong said the new projects will be launched across the three property hotspots, namely the Klang Valley, Johor and Penang, comprising landed homes, high-rise condominium units, and commercial and industrial properties.

The group is maintaining its sales target of RM1.8 billion for 2018, matching last year’s sales level.

“We continue to remain focused on the Klang Valley and plan to increase our property portfolio in the Greater Kuala Lumpur to 75% of the total remaining GDV within the next two to three years from 66% currently,” said Leong.

“We also intend to maintain our healthy take-up rate of above 85% for all projects,” he added.

Of the RM1.8 billion target sales, Leong targets 74% of Mah Sing residential sales to be below RM500,000, which is higher than 45% and 36% of actual sales recorded in 2016 and 2015, respectively.

Another 13% of Mah Sing properties are priced between RM500,000 and RM700,000, while 11% of the properties are priced between RM700,000 and RM1 million.

“The remaining 2% of properties are priced at more than RM1 million,” said Leong.

As market sentiment improves and coupled with its net cash position, Mah Sing believes now is a good time to replenish its land bank, with plans to increase its land bank in the Klang Valley to 75% within the next two to three years, from 66% currently.

Mah Sing’s cash and cash equivalents stood at RM763.12 million as at March 31, 2018, while its borrowings totalled RM701.09 million.

Going forward, Leong said Mah Sing will be handing over a few property projects in the Klang Valley and Johor, which are expected to generate a vacant possession billings of RM587 million that will further boost its cashflow in 2018.

Mah Sing will also make its maiden entry into the hospitality industry on July 1, with the soft opening of its 644-room four-star Ramada Hotel in Medini, Johor.

“We are [also] currently exploring adding a wellness component to our townships, first in Southville City in the central region, and perhaps later in Meridin East in Johor Baru,” said Leong.

Meanwhile, Leong said there are no plans to venture overseas for now as Mah Sing is keeping itself busy with 47 projects nationwide, of which 33 are in the Klang Valley, seven in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor; six in Penang and one in Sabah.

Its undeveloped land bank stood at 2,116 acres (856ha), with potential to generate property projects worth RM27.1 billion over an eight-year period.

Meanwhile, Mah Sing has named its independent non-executive director Tan Sri Siti Norma Yaakob as new chairman with immediate effect, replacing Gen (R) Tan Sri Yaacob Mat Zain who has resigned.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, Mah Sing said Siti Norma, 77, joined the board on April 16 this year.

Siti Norma’s legal career spanned  43 years , during which she was the first woman to be appointed to an executive position in the Judicial and Legal Service in 1963 and was elevated to the High Court Bench in 1983.

Sworn in as Chief Judge of Malaya on Feb 8, 2005, Siti Norma subsequently retired in January 2007.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on June 29, 2018.

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