Sime property arm eyes overseas marts

By BUSINESS TIMES

SIME Darby Bhd is eyeing property projects in new overseas markets like India and the Middle East, said its property division director Jauhari Hamidi.

The division now has an asset base of over RM1 billion and over 40 units operating in eight countries, namely Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Australia, the Philippines and the UK.

Jauhari said Sime Darby’s property division wants to take advantage of vibrant property activities in these countries, especially Singapore and Australia.

“We are always looking for new markets and would like to go where Sime Darby is already present,” he told Business Times in Putra Heights, Subang Jaya, yesterday.

Jauhari said the division’s overseas operations currently contribute some 30 per cent to revenue and he hopes to increase it to 50 per cent soon.

Its latest project in Australia, a high-end waterfront resort development in Oyster Cove in the north of Gold Coast, will contribute substantially to its bottom line in fiscal 2008, when the project kicks off early next year.

Sime Darby’s 60 per cent unit Oyster Cove International Pte Ltd (OCI) had bought some 250 acres of prime freehold land in Oyster Cove, from the project’s existing developer, which was controlled by prominent Singapore businesswoman Datuk Dr Jannie Tay.

Jauhari said the land will be converted into 250 bungalow lots, and each lot will be sold for more than A$1.4 million.

“The development will also include a commercial centre and a boutique hotel with a neighbourhood concept. There is a lot of potential in Australia and we are exploring,” he said.

He added that the bungalow lots are expected to generate a gross development value of A$95 million (RM268.8 million).

Sime Darby has so far invested A$120 million (RM339.6 million) in properties in Perth and the Gold Coast, making Australia the group’s biggest foreign property market.

Other investments in Australia includes the 1,000-acre Karri Valley Resort in Perth that the group acquired about 10 years ago, and service apartments in Margaret River and Subiaco.

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