City & Country: The Edge Property Exellence Awards 2014: Recognising the best

THE EDGE MALAYSIA PROPERTY EXCELLENCE AWARDS (TEPEA) 2014 saw a new No 1 and the debut of a few new names in the Top 10 in The Edge Malaysia Top Property Developers Awards’ (TPDA) ranking. The changes this year reflect the increasingly competitive property market in the country.

Sunway Bhd was ranked the best developer in the country for the first time while Sime Darby Property Bhd moved up one rank from last year to take second place. In third place was S P Setia Bhd, the former No 1.

Apart from TPDA, TEPEA 2014 also comprises The Edge-PEPS Value Creation Excellence Award, The Edge-PAM Green Excellence Award, The Edge Malaysia Outstanding Property Personality Award, The Edge Malaysia Outstanding Property Project Award and The Edge Malaysia Notable Achievement Award. There is also a category under TPDA — Best in Qualitative Attributes Award. Furthermore, this year saw the introduction of The Edge Malaysia Affordable Urban Housing Excellence Award.

The TEPEA awards ceremony was held on Oct 13 at the KL Hilton. The event, which was by invitation only, saw more than 200 industry players and experts gathering to network and celebrate the best of the best in the industry. It was officiated by Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Minister of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government.

In his speech, Abdul Rahman addressed the need to build more affordable housing and called for collaboration between government agencies, industry stakeholders, private developers and end-financiers.

“I know building affordable homes is no walk in the park. I’m also aware of the constraints faced by developers, which include acquiring suitable locations and grappling with ever-increasing land costs.

“Our problem is neither unique nor unsurmountable. I believe if developers are more stringent in controlling cost and more innovative in utilising new building technologies, they would still be able to turn a sizeable profit,” said Abdul Rahman.

Meanwhile, The Edge Media Group publisher and group CEO Ho Kay Tat said in his opening address that The Edge Malaysia Affordable Urban Housing Excellence Award was introduced to support the government’s call for more developers to build more affordable housing.

Ho also stressed that the property industry is a critical component of the economy as an employer, a consumer of goods and services, and a supplier of homes and offices.

“A healthy and robust industry is in everyone’s interest. The issues facing the sector today are complex but with the collective input and co-operation of its key players and the regulators, we can achieve what needs to be done,” said Ho.

A celebration of excellence

Veteran property developer Datuk Tan Chin Nam received The Edge Malaysia Outstanding Property Personality Award this year. Tan is the founder of Tan & Tan Developments Bhd and IGB Corp Bhd.

The much-respected Tan, a pioneer in the Malaysian property industry, received a standing ovation as he collected his award. He developed Desa Kudalari in KL, the first condominium in the country; Sierramas in Sungai Buloh, the first gated development; and Kampung Kongo in Cheras, the first low-cost housing development. He also oversaw the development of Mid Valley City in Kuala Lumpur.

Tan was instrumental in the formation of the Housing Developers’ Association in the 1970s, now known as the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia.

The No 1 property developer, Sunway, had a stellar 2013, posting a net profit of RM1.5 billion for its financial year ended Dec 31, 2013 — more than three times the RM438.83 million recorded in the previous year. Calling itself the master community builder, Sunway continues to impress with sales of RM628 million in the first half of this year, up 28% year on year, and unbilled sales of RM2.4 billion.

The developer, which ranked second last year, has 3,400 acres of undeveloped landbank with a potential total gross development value (GDV) of RM50 billion. It has a strong property investment portfolio, with RM3 billion worth of projects under construction. Sunway also took home the Best in Qualitative Attributes Award 2014.

The company’s focus on liveability and sustainability in its developments has paid off as its Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat in Sunway City Ipoh won The Edge-PAM Green Excellence Award 2014 while Sunway Rymba Hills in Kota Damansara earned an honorary mention.

Moving up a notch to second place was Sime Darby Bhd’s property arm Sime Darby Property. The developer launched several major projects in its financial year ended June 30, 2014, including the Elmina township development along the Guthrie Corridor Expressway and Bandar Ainsdale in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan. Sime Darby’s joint venture with S P Setia and the Employees Provident Fund — the £8 billion Battersea Power Station (BPS) in London — continues to bring in strong sales.

Coming in at number three was S P Setia, which saw major changes this year  with the departure of former group CEO and president Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin in April, and the recent resignation of current acting president and CEO Datuk Voon Tin Yow. Datuk Khor Chap Jen, currently deputy president of S P Setia, will take over Voon’s position on Jan 1, 2015.

Despite this, S P Setia is still going strong with sales of RM3.81 billion for the first 10 months of this year and RM1.42 billion for the third quarter of the financial year ending Oct 31, 2014. It had unbilled sales of RM10.88 billion as at Aug 31, 2014.

S P Setia and its JV partners are gearing up for BPS’ launch of its third phase, which will happen simultaneously in eight countries on Oct 31 and five more countries the following week. On the domestic front, S P Setia is set to launch the RM1.8 billion Setia Eco Templer and other developments in Bandar Setia Alam, and Setia EcoHill in Selangor as well as Aeropod in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, among others.

Maintaining its fourth position was UEM Sunrise Bhd. The developer welcomed a new managing director and CEO in September, Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib, who replaced the late Datuk Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim.

UEM Sunrise had a strong 2013 with net profit of RM579.1 million for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2013, an increase of 29% from FY2012. The current unenthusiastic market conditions have led the developer to revise its sales target for this year to RM2 billion from RM3.2 billion. However, its unbilled sales remain healthy at RM3 billion.

The developer’s Tranquillity Park homes located in the garden-themed East Ledang development in Johor won a merit award in the same category.

Climbing up three spots to fifth place was Gamuda Bhd’s property arm, Gamuda Land. The developer of major townships such as Bandar Botanic in Klang and Horizon Hills achieved sales of RM1.85 billion as at end-July and has set a sales target of RM2 billion for next year. Gamuda Land has also allocated RM3 billion for land acquisition, of which RM1.7 billion has been spent.

Gamuda Land also took home The Edge-PEPS Value Creation Excellence Award in the Residential category for Phase 1B9 of The Golf East in Horizon Hills in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor. The terraced houses in Phase 1B9 have seen an average appreciation of 117% over three years, or an annual appreciation rate of 47%. The project was a JV with UEM Sunrise.

The developer also earned a merit award for Bandar Botanic’s Caspia and Nouvo houses in the same category.

In sixth position and making its debut in the Top 10 list of developers was Tropicana Corp Bhd. Tropicana, formerly known as Dijaya Corp Bhd, has expanded aggressively since 2010 and has formed partnerships with Hong Kong-listed Agile Property Holdings Ltd and Singapore-based education group Lasallian Asia Partnership for International Schools in recent times.

The financial year ended Dec 31, 2013, was a record one for the company. It achieved sales of RM2.1 billion and saw record launches worth RM2.4 billion. Net profit surged 111% y-o-y to RM362.3 million.

Meanwhile, IGB Corp Bhd moved down two places to seventh position. The 50-year-old company is known today as an asset builder with property investments and hospitality businesses in Asia, Australia, the US and Europe.

It has domestic and international developments with a GDV of RM15 billion in the pipeline. Some of its new major projects include the 36-acre Southkey development, which is modelled after its hugely successful Mid Valley City, and the development in Blackfriars in London with a GDV of RM4.2 billion.

Eastern & Oriental Bhd (E&O) made a return to the Top 10 this year, coming in in eighth position. The group was last ranked in the Top 10 in 2009.

It is known for its range of luxury properties, such as the benchmark-setting Idamansara luxury bungalows and semi-detached houses in Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur, and the Seri Tanjung Pinang township in Penang.

E&O has set out a three-year plan to achieve a cumulative profit after tax (PAT) of RM450 million for financial years 2014 to 2016. Thus far, it has achieved PAT of RM119.97 million, putting it on track to hit its target.

Moving up one spot to number nine was Mah Sing Group Bhd. The group has been a consistent name in the TPDA, placing among the top 10 since 2010 and in the top 30 since 2005. It has set a sales target of RM3.6 billion for FY2014, and recorded sales of RM1.55 billion in 1H2014, while net profit rose 21.2% y-o-y to RM168.8 million.

Rounding up the Top 10 was IOI Properties Group Bhd. It made a comeback to the Top 10 after being absent for three years. This year has been a busy one for the group — IOI was relisted on Bursa Malaysia in January and closed the first day of trading with a whopping market capitalisation of RM10.2 billion.

IOI has set a sales target of RM2.5 billon for the next three financial years. It posted revenue of RM1.45 billion and operating profit of RM1.1 billion for its financial year ended June 30, 2014.

There were two recipients for The Edge Malaysia Notable Achievement Award 2014, namely Eco World Development Group Bhd and Tropicana Corp Bhd.

Eco World has gained ground in the property industry in a short period of time. It set a sales target of RM5 billion in two years and announced in August that it had exceeded its sales target of RM2 billion for the financial year ending Oct 31, 2014.

Meanwhile, Tropicana was propelled into the major leagues as one of the largest property developers in the country following an amalgamation exercise, which led to an enlarged landbank size of 1,888 acres. Some 61% of its landbank is in Greater Kuala Lumpur, while the rest are in Penang and Johor. The Greater Kuala Lumpur landbank has an expected GDV of RM24.5 billion.

The Edge Malaysia Outstanding Property Project Award 2014 went to YTL Land & Development Bhd, which transformed a 294-acre freehold parcel in Sentul into the modern townships of Sentul East and Sentul West.

Sunsuria Sdn Bhd won The Edge-PEPS Value Creation Excellence Award 2014 in the Non-Residential category for The Core in Kota Damansara. The 10-acre development has a GDV of RM142.6 million and was completed in December 2012. The Core has seen a value appreciation of 84% over four years and an average annual appreciation of 21%.

IJM Land Bhd’s The Arc at Bandar Rimbayu earned an honorary mention for The Edge-PAM Green Excellence Award 2014. Located in the heart of IJM’s Bandar Rimbayu, the 2-storey centrepiece of about 10,000 sq m features a thematic garden, a full-size football field and a green roof deck.

Last but certainly not least is MKH Bhd, which was the inaugural recipient of The Edge Malaysia Affordable Urban Housing Excellence Award 2014. The company received the award for Phase 2A of the 168-acre Pelangi Semenyih 2 in Semenyih, Selangor. The development is notable for its quality, design, innovation, accessibility, liveability, maintenance, community interaction and affordability.

The results of the TPDA rankings and The Edge-PEPS Value Creation Excellence Award were audited by Deloitte Malaysia. Malayan Banking Bhd was the main sponsor and BlueScope Lysaght was the supporting sponsor for TEPEA.

The winners of The Edge Malaysia Property Excellence Awards 2014 with Abdul Rahman (front row, centre), Ho (front row, far right), Au (front row, far left) and Hamirullah Boorhan, Maybank’s head for community financial services (front row, sixth from left). - Photo by Mohd Izwan

This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on October 20 - 26, 2014.

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