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TA Global aims to develop more properties in Canada, Australia

KUALA LUMPUR: TA Global Bhd, the newly listed property development arm of TA Enterprise Bhd (TAE), is looking at further property development in Canada and Australia, beyond the current three hotels and one commercial building it has in the two countries.

TA Enterprise Bhd managing director and chief executive officer Datin Alicia Tiah said TA Global is actively looking at more than just hospitality in the two countries.

“We are looking at more than the hospitality industry in the two countries. If we decide to do something, future projects in Canada or Australia would most likely take the form of joint ventures,” Tiah told reporters after the listing of TA Global on Bursa Malaysia on Nov 23.

In Canada, TA Global’s business assets include Terasen Centre, a 24-storey office building in downtown Vancouver, and the 193-room Aava Whistler Hotel in Whistler, a resort town north of Vancouver. In Australia, it owns the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Sydney and The Westin Melbourne Hotel.

TA Global, which was given free to shareholders of TAE as part of the group’s move to unlock value, debuted at its par value of 50 sen per share. It closed at 47.5 sen, 2.5 sen lower on a volume of 38.73 million.

Commenting on the performance of TA Global, Tiah said that the listing price was within expectations. “I would say that a lot of the shareholders got TA Global for free from their holdings in TAE. The weak holders are the ones selling now,” she added.

In the initial public offer exercise, shareholders of TAE received three TA Global shares with three irredeemable cumulative preference shares, for every five TAE shares.

“What is important is what investors think of TA Global in terms of potential. Right now, we do not have a lot of development projects launching this year.

“But next year we will be launching our Seri Suria, U-Thant and hopefully also Dutamas,” said Tiah.

Seri Suria is a shopoffice, office tower and serviced apartment development in Sungai Buloh, Selangor, worth an estimated RM517 million in total gross development value (GDV), to be completed in October 2017. Its U-Thant project is a low-rise condominium development in Kuala Lumpur with a GDV of RM106.5 million to be completed by March 2013 while Dutamas is a residential development in Mont’Kiara, Kuala Lumpur to be completed by April 2013.

Tiah said that the first phase of development from one or more of these three projects would be launched by the third quarter of next year, adding that economic conditions would be better by next year and “there is some pent-up demand in the [KLCC] area”.

TA Global executive chairman Datuk Tony Tiah, speaking prior to the debut of the stock on Nov 23, said that since its listing 19 years ago, TAE has grown from being a pure financial services company into a group with interest in property development, property investment and management in five major cities across continents.

“It is appropriate at this time therefore to spin off the property arm so that TA Global can focus on property development and management.

“We are optimistic that with this restructuring, investors can better ascertain and access the merits, prospects and performance of TA Global. On listing, TA Global will immediately — in terms of market capitalisation — be one of the leading property companies in Malaysia,” he said.

He added that the group’s winning formula has been to acquire and develop land only in prime localities.

He highlighted a prime development asset of 48.06 acres (19.45ha) freehold commercial land in Sri Damansara, which was ripe for development into an iconic business, commercial and residential centre.

“We will continue to pursue this strategy,” he added. 

This article appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, Nov 24, 2009.

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