HK tycoon sets sights on 1 Mont’ Kiara

A real estate fund management company affiliated with Hong Kong’s Cheung Kong Group, which is controlled by property tycoon and the world’s 14th richest man Li Ka-shing, is bidding for the second phase of the 1 Mont’ Kiara (1MK) development for RM300 million, sources said.

It is understood that the Li-linked real estate fund management company is offering to purchase the entire second phase, which comprises both retail and office space. The first phase of development, consisting entirely of office space, has been sold out.

The development of 1MK, which is 50:50 owned by Singapore-based CapitaLand and London-listed Aseana Properties Ltd, is being carried out by Ireka Development Management Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ireka Corp Bhd. Ireka also owns a 20% stake in Aseana Properties.

Ireka, when contacted by The Edge Financial Daily, confirmed a bid had been received but declined to provide details.

“We have been approached by a few foreign parties lately to purchase our development but the management has not made any decision on the matter yet.

“As our asset is in a prime location, the interest to acquire is always present,” said Ireka executive director Lai Voon Hon.

“We will make an announcement to Bursa Malaysia if there is any firm news.”

According to an analyst, the total net lettable area of 1MK comes up to 831,272 sq ft, with about 250,000 sq ft comprising retail space. The analyst further added that about 90% of office space had already been sold. The total gross development value of 1MK was announced to be US$150 million (RM496.5 million).

It is believed that the deal prices the total net lettable space of over 300,000 sq ft at RM974 per. This was a fair price considering the purchase was a mix of office and retail space, the analyst said.

“Retail space usually carries a premium of about 20% to 30% higher than office space, which means that the price per square foot is close to RM1,000.

However, because we don’t know how much office space is included in the deal, this is a very rough sum,” the analyst added.

Office space in 1MK is going for between RM600 and RM800 psf in the secondary market, according to classified advertisements, which means retail space is likely priced in the RM1,000 range.

In 2007, Sunrise Bhd sold its retail space and car park bays within Plaza Mont’Kiara, just across the road from 1MK, to Quill Capita Trust. In that transaction, Quill Capita Trust paid RM90 million for 73,408 sq ft of net lettable area and 1,499 car park bays. The exact breakdown between the two is unknown, but sources said the retail space component was priced at just above RM800 psf.  

Interestingly, the 1MK deal will also set a pricing benchmark for Sunrise’s new retail space at Solaris Dutamas. The art-inspired mall, dubbed “Publika”, was unveiled to retailers last month and will open early next year. It has over 335,000 sq ft of net lettable space, some 5,000 car park bays and a state-of-the-art district cooling system.

The 1MK deal would not have a major impact on Ireka, the analyst added, because it did not own the property directly. As the exclusive development manager for Aseana Properties, it receives a management fee of 2% of Aseana’s net asset value (NAV). Ireka also receives a performance fee based on Aseana’s NAV growth.

Still, at yesterday’s closing price of 70.5 sen, Ireka’s shares are trading at a single-digit price-to-earnings multiple and below its book value of RM2.09, although the latter has been “impaired” by the fall in Aseana’s share price in London. Aseana’s shares last traded at US$0.41, down from its IPO price of US$1.  

While the sale would no doubt boost Aseana’s NAV, the analyst said the company was presently holding a lot of goodwill in its books, which needed to be amortised. This would offset NAV growth from the sale of the property.

Aseana booked goodwill amounting to US$6.48 million and other intangible assets totalling US$10.69 million as at Dec 31, 2009.
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