Alabbar returns to property scene

KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary and UAE-based Mohamed Ali Rashed Alabbar have teamed up to develop the RM6 billion Tradewinds Centre project in Kuala Lumpur.

It is learnt that Mohamed Ali, or better known as Alabbar, has set up a company called Tradewinds International Sdn Bhd to undertake the property venture with Syed Mokhtar.

Alabbar, the founder and chairman of Dubai’s Emaar Properties, is already in partnership with Syed Mokhtar to build an aluminium smelter in Sarawak.

A search at the Companies Commission of Malaysia reveals that Tradewinds International was set up less than two months ago on Oct 25. Its three shareholders are Alabbar, MMC Corp Bhd chief executive Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh and Cheng Mooi Soong. The three are also directors of the company.

Tradewinds International’s website states that it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tradewinds Corp Bhd, which was delisted on Sept 26. Tradewinds International was registered a month after the delisting.

The website also said: “… Mr Alabbar is focused on growing Tradewinds International into a world-class real estate developer and strategic adviser for master planning services.”

In a recent interview in Dubai, Alabbar told The Edge Financial Daily that he travelled frequently to Malaysia as he and Syed Mokhtar have been in partnership for years. However, he did not mention Tradewinds International.

Alabbar did say that he was looking at other opportunities in Malaysia as he finds it a very exciting market. According to him, there have been serious discussions on certain matters and it is likely that a decision will be made soon.

He indicated that there are also plans to venture into the hospitality and retail sectors, and to look at Iskandar Malaysia via Tradewinds. “Everybody is talking about Iskandar, so we need to look at Iskandar too,” he said without elaborating.

Alabbar made the headlines in 2003, when he was made chairman of United Malayan Land Bhd following his acquisition of a 24.7% stake from Pernas International Holdings Bhd. In April 2005, he relinquished his position and quietly left the local property scene.

Tradewinds Corp owns and operates hotels such as The Danna Langkawi, The Istana Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Mutiara Johor Bahru and Mutiara Taman Negara. It also owns the Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa in Langkawi, Hilton Kuching, Hilton Petaling Jaya and the Batang Ai Longhouse Resort, managed by Hilton in Sarawak.

In terms of landbank in Johor, Tradewinds Corp has a total of 3,661 acres available for development. The parcels of land are located in Nusajaya (607 acres), Sedili (2,055 acres), Pulai (629 acres) and Mount Austin (370 acres).

Tradewinds Corp also operates the Harrods outlets in Malaysia, while its unit is participating in the development of the world’s first Harrods Hotel and Residences.

On its website, Tradewinds International describes itself as a premier Asian property developer based in Malaysia with a forte in creating iconic integrated development projects comprising mixed-use residential, commercial and retail segments.

Tradewinds Centre, which has an estimated gross development value of RM6 billion, will be on an 8.58-acre site and will offer 5.5 million sq ft in gross floor area, comprising retail outlets, offices, serviced apartments and a medical centre.

It will replace the old Crowne Plaza Mutiara and Kompleks Antarabangsa buildings in Jalan Sultan Ismail. The new building will have four towers and a retail podium. The towers will include a 65-storey and a 24-storey office block, as well as a 54-storey serviced apartment and a 14-storey medical centre.

Alabbar, the founder and chairman of Africa Middle East Resources, is said to also have a 50:50 joint venture with Syed Mokhtar in that company.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on December 20, 2013.


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