KUALA LUMPUR: IJM Corp Bhd is bidding for projects worth RM4 billion, giving it a strong possibility of boosting its total order book past the RM4 billion mark from the current RM3.6 billion, said its CEO Datuk Krishnan Tan Boon Seng.

He said at its peak IJM used to have an order book of RM6 billion.

"With improving economic conditions, there should be opportunities to increase the order book. Certainly by end of the year, we will cross the RM4 billion mark," he told reporters on the sidelines of Invest Malaysia 2010 yesterday (March 30).

He added that the RM6 billion order book could be reached again in about two years "if time turns for the better". Tan said IJM would be sticking to its core business and continue to operate its traditional markets.

"We're operating in 10 countries, there are certain countries seeing significant growth, significant opportunities. Each market got different things going on, so we're trying to take advantage of it," he said.

He also said that in Malaysia's infrastructure industry there had been concern about the lack of positive news flow but he believed the situation would change in a month or two.

"Also, the property market is doing much better, which means more opportunities for contractors in the private sector part of the market as the government has started bidding out jobs using the private finance initiative (PFI) model," he said.

On the government's announcement that several parcels of land in Kuala Lumpur would be tendered out and developed by the private sector, Tan said it was a new phenomenon in Malaysia, but not in other places.

"The government puts in landbank for bidding, it's a good process. Big players would want to participate because these are attractive parcels of land and it's good for the country and provides transparency," he said. He did not indicate whether IJM would participate in the bidding.

This article appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, March 31, 2010.