By THE EDGE
Once the Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd merger is completed, Sime Darby Bhd’s property group will have more prime landbank to work with, says Datuk Tunku Putra Badlisha, Sime group property director.
“We will have more opportunities after the merger. Currently, we have undeveloped land but with the merger it would give us more prime areas like Jalan U-Thant to work with,” Tunku Putra told the press after signing on popular singer Camelia as Sime UEP Properties Bhd’s Ara Hill brand ambassador.
Tunku Putra said Sime Darby on its own still has 9,000 acres (3,600ha) of land to develop. However, analaysts say most of this landbank is not located in prime areas within the Klang Valley.
Synergy Drive is the special-purpose vehicle set up by the CIMB Group to facilitate the merger of three state-run companies — Sime Darby Bhd, Golden Hope Plantation Bhd and Kumpulan Guthrie Bhd, as well as all their subsidiaries — to create the world’s largest oil palm plantation company. All three companies have significant property development divisions as well.
Aside from Sime UEP, another listed property company involved in the merger is G Hope’s Negara Properties Bhd.
The merged entity is expected to be renamed Sime Darby Bhd. It is understood that at some point in the future the property arm of the enlarged Sime Darby could well be spun off.
When asked to elaborate on the group’s plans after the merger he said: “It is still too early to say what we will do as the merger is not yet completed”.
Tunku Putra said that 80% of the first phase of Sime’s Ara Hills high-end housing development project was already taken up, registering more than RM100 million in sales since March. He added that the gross development value of the housing project is RM300 million.
The second phase of the Ara Hill development would be launched in the third quarter this year.
Tunku Putra added that the Sime group was looking to expand its activities with investments in the Middle East, India, China and Vietnam with partners.
He said the group was conducting due-diligence studies to decide where it would expand next, adding that it would look for the right partner and study the tax structure among other considerations before expanding further abroad. He said the group is already invested in Singapore, Australia and Vietnam.
On the group’s other property segments, Tunku Putra said the first phase of the Oasis Damansara mixed development project had been well received, with 40% of its RM130 million project already taken up since January.