KUALA LUMPUR: YTL Corp Bhd plans to spread its wings abroad in the blue ribbon real estate segment, said its managing director Tan Sri Dr Francis Yeoh.

"You can see we are quite good at selling high-end apartments and we are going to use this strength to develop prime real estate in the Asia-Pacific footprint through our YTL Land vehicle and hotel vehicle. This is being restructured so that we can expand," he told the press at Invest Malaysia 2010 yesterday (March 30).

Citing its Kasara luxury development at Sentosa Cove in Singapore as example, he said the company had netted more than RM500 million in sales for its 13 villas.

"To me, Japan's story is compelling, It's been languishing for 15 years. I had to take a bite of the Japanese apple, a most sizeable bite," he said.

YTL, via its unit YTL Hotels & Properties Sdn Bhd, had made inroads into the Japanese market with the acquisition of the Niseko Village ski resort  in Hokkaido island earlier this month.

The ski resort is nestled on 617ha of land.

Asked about the sale of US$350 million (RM1.1 billion) worth of exchangeable bonds earlier this month, he said the company was building its war chest to take advantage of any opportunities that might arise.

As for the government's intention to tender out several land parcels along Jalan Stonor, Jalan Ampang and Jalan Lidcol in Kuala Lumpur, Yeoh said YTL would be interested to participate if the tender process was transparent.

"This would attract more international investors. I wouldn't mind if the land bid goes higher. It would put greater land value on my Sentul West, for instance. Both ways I win!," he said.

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