KUALA LUMPUR (May 20): Builder-cum-property developer WCT Holdings Bhd, which had earlier planned to set up a RM2 billion real estate investment trust (REIT) this year, may postpone the exercise until 2016.

WCT deputy managing director Goh Chin Liong (pictured) said the retail-based REIT is “unlikely” to be formed this year due to cautious market sentiment.

“I don’t think it (REIT listing) will be this year. Everybody is cautious.

We will continue to review it,” he told reporters after the group's annual and extraordinary general meetings yesterday. Goh maintained that the REIT plan remains intact, adding that WCT will wait for its retail malls to attain operational maturity.

Head of corporate and finance Chong Kian Fah said the group will not rush into listing its REIT amid the weak initial public offering market.

It was reported that the proposed REIT would enable WCT to unlock the value of its retail assets in Selangor, comprising Aeon Bukit Tinggi Shopping Centre in Klang, Paradigm Mall in Petaling Jaya and gateway@ klia2 in Sepang.

Meanwhile, Goh said WCT is eyeing construction jobs in Indonesia due to its massive infrastructure expenditure.

The group, however, has yet to bid for any jobs there. “We have just begun exploring Indonesia,” said Goh. He added that WCT is gearing more towards civil and infrastructure projects, which traditionally contribute to better margins.

He noted that upcoming infrastructure projects in Malaysia such as the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit Line 2 and Line 3, and the Pan-Borneo Highway linking Sarawak and Sabah will also benefit industry players like WCT.

Currently WCT’s tender book stands at RM5 billion for both local and overseas projects, excluding project-delivery-partner projects. Its construction order book stood at RM3 billion to RM4 billion, derived from external projects, and the remainder

RM1 billion from in-house projects.

On its property development segment, WCT is planning to launch properties in Bandar Bukit Tinggi, Paradigm Petaling Jaya, and Medini Signature in Nusajaya, Johor, this year, which have a combined gross development value of RM700 million.

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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on May 20, 2015.

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