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Tradewinds launches RM4b project in Langkawi

LANGKAWI: Less than a year after it was taken private, Tradewinds Corp Bhd has launched an integrated development consisting of resort hotels, themed attractions and residential properties called Perdana Quay, with a gross development value (GDV) of RM4 billion in Langkawi, Kedah.

The project, which spans almost 240 acres (97.1ha), will take an estimated 10 to 12 years to complete.

“To date, the development of Langkawi’s tourism industry has been rather ad hoc. Perdana Quay will be the first master-planned development of its kind in Langkawi,” said Tradewinds Corp group chief executive officer Shaharul Farez Hassan.

The project is expected to drive tourism in Langkawi, which saw some three million visitors last year, he said, citing Langkawi Development Authority statistics.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said at the launch of the development yesterday: “I want to see three million tourist arrivals here each year, bringing RM3.8 billion into the economy and creating at least 4,200 jobs for Malaysians.”

He said that six years from now, the government wants to welcome 36 million tourists to Malaysia and collect RM168 billion in receipts annually.

Shaharul said in total, the project is expected to cost RM2 billion to build and the company will utilise a 70:30 debt-to-equity mix to fund it.

“For now, we have enough capital to undertake the project, which will be done phase by phase. So far, the banks have been willing to lend to us,” he said.

Shaharul also ruled out any plans to relist Tradewinds Corp in the near term. Tradewinds Corp was taken private by major shareholder, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, in September last year in a deal which valued the company at RM1.12 billion.

Notably, the Perdana Quay project has a relatively long gestation period and Tradewinds Corp had a net debt position of RM727.3 million as at June 30, 2013 just before it was taken private.

Only 60% of the project’s GDV (the residential component) will be put up for sale. The residential component will only be launched in the later phases, that is about half-way through the project.

Shaharul said for the time being, the group is looking to engage with specialist investors who will enhance the value of the development’s attractions, although he did not rule out working with partners at a later stage.

He said Mohamad Ali Rashed Alabbar will only be involved in the project in his capacity as Tradewinds Sdn Bhd chairman, pointing out that Mohamad Ali does not have an equity stake in the Perdana Quay.

Mohamad Ali, who is the founder and chairman of the Emaar Properties group in Dubai, has partnered with Syed Mokhtar on other projects like the Tradewinds Centre in Kuala Lumpur, as well as building an aluminum smelter in Sarawak.

As for specialist investors, the group has already secured partners for the seven-acre butterfly park which will be the third largest in the region, as well as the 12-acre adventure park which will be based on the existing SkyTrex Adventure in Shah Alam.

The adventure park will also include a proposed 3.5km-long zipline, that will be the longest in the world when completed.

The group is still looking for partners to build a five-acre waterpark, and is currently in talks with several parties, said Shaharul.

The development will also boast a marina, man-made lake, fisherman’s wharf, and 200,000 sq ft of retail space.

The Burau Langkawi Luxury Resort will kick off the development of Perdana Quay in mid-2014 with the construction of 245 deluxe rooms and 60 luxury villas, including 26 ultra-luxury villas on the connecting island, Pulau Anak Burau.


This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on March 31, 2014.

 

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