Fajarbaru keen to expand property projects in Australia

KUALA LUMPUR (July 19): Fajarbaru Builder Group Bhd is on the lookout for more opportunities in the Australian property market following its acquisition in April of 98 shares or 49% of Australian property development company, Beulah Northcote Land Pty Ltd.

The acquisition of the Beulah Northcote stake for about A$98 per share had paved the way for Fajarbaru to embark on its third property development in Australia, comprising townhouses with an estimated gross development value (GDV) of A$33 million.

"We're always on the lookout for more opportunities but we need to be able to purchase the right land for any property development," Datuk Seri Eric Kuan Khian Leng, the executive director for Fajarbaru, told reporters on the sidelines of a signing ceremony for a funding facility between Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) and SPV 320 Queen Street Pty Ltd for the development of Paragon, the group's second property development project in Australia.

Fajarbaru's interest in the Australian property market comes after the success of Gardenhill — its maiden Aussie project in joint development with Beulah International. Gardenhill contributed about RM198 million to group revenue in the second half of financial year ended June 30, 2017.

Maybank's managing director of corporate banking Michael Oh-Lau Chong Jin indicated the bank had provided funding facility of about A$100 million (about RM300 million) for Paragon, mainly because of the success of Gardenhill.

Fajarbaru is jointly developing Paragon, which estimated GDV is A$200 million (about RM600 million), with Beulah International and KHK Group. The project is already 90% sold, with a third of the buyers Malaysians, according to Beulah International's managing director Chan Jiaheng.

Chan said Melbourne's property market is relatively strong so much so that the Australian government had to impose stamp duty on foreigners in an effort to tamp growth. "Vacancy is at an all-time low, at less than 2%."

According to Kuan, the Northcote development is currently still in the planning stage. He said he is open to opportunities to expand in Australia, whether it be through joint venture or Fajarbaru going solo.

Fajarbaru is currently trading at 44 sen having gained 3.5 sen or 8.64%, for a market capitalisation of RM152.8 million. Some 3.16 million shares have been traded today. —

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