Turning point for Magna Prima

By THE STAR

THE Magna Prima group will focus on “pocket-size” niche developments with a high gross development value (GDV) in the Klang Valley.

Chief executive officer Lim Ching Choy told StarBiz that the group might not have a big land bank, but its current four property projects in the Klang Valley were worth a total GDV of RM800mil.

Lim Ching Choy with a model of The Avare. Sales jumped sixfold last month.

They are the newly-launched Magnaville in Selayang (with a GDV of RM169mil), The Avare (RM309mil), Dataran Otomobil in Shah Alam (RM269mil) and Casa Prima launched in early 2006 (RM56mil GDV) in Metro Prima, its maiden joint-venture project with the Kuala Lumpur City Hall in Kepong. Casa Prima units are 65% sold.

The Avare on only an acre of freehold land will be a significant contributor to group bottom line, while the Magnaville on 11 acres has also been well received.

Lim said Magnaville would have over 1,000 residential units in three blocks of 20-storey apartments. The first block of 358 units was opened for sale last month and 202 units were sold within two weeks.

On Dataran Otomobil, he said the mixed commercial and residential development would have over 1,400 units (870 apartments, 336 shop offices and 200 shop lots). The group is the turnkey contractor, and phase 1 is 90% sold.

He is also pleased with sales of The Avare that jumped sixfold last month, following the abolishment of the real property gains tax from April 1. “We are targeting to sell the remaining 20% of the units by September,” he said, adding that many foreigners wanted to invest in high-end condominiums of above 2,000 sq ft.

On the group’s two core businesses (property development and construction), he said they would contribute equally to group revenue.

“We are looking into sustainable earnings with build, lease and transfer projects for the Government. We may also keep some of the units. We are able to be more cost efficient as we are using more advanced building technologies like the Miven formwork system,” he said.

Following a corporate restructuring exercise a year ago, a new management team has come in to turn Magna Prima into one of the country’s top property developers.

“We’ve a full team in place. It is the efforts of the old and new staff members that will help the group achieve a turnaround this year,” Lim said, adding that Magna Prima Bhd planned to move from the second to the main board in three to five years.

He said one of the group’s key aims was to become a prominent brand name through a “quality-driven culture” that delivered the best services and products.

The company is also realigning its construction arm to focus more on securing government, civil and infrastructure contracts under the 9th Malaysia Plan. Its past major contracts included the Putrajaya Wetlands (valued at RM4.65mil), Alor Setar general hospital (RM81.77mil), Kuala Kubu Dam (RM53.19mil) and Jus Dam in Malacca (RM7.26mil).

The group, he said, would also continue to develop affordable medium range property priced below RM150,000 and exclusive high-end homes priced above RM3mil.

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