IOI Properties Group Bhd (IOIProp) will soon increase its exposure to Singapore, a property market that appears to be doing well following its latest land acquisition in the country.

This follows acquisition of the plot of leasehold land measuring some 0.78ha in Marina View at the end of last month.

The company’s group chief executive officer Datuk Voon Tin Yow tells StarBizWeek that is it confident of its plans here and also points out that its gearing level will start to ease once the project is moving along.

“The cash flow generated from the residential component of this planned development as well as from other projects and businesses within the group will gradually lower down the gearing level,” Voon says.

“Additionally, the group will be able to monetise our investment property assets in the longer term,” he adds.

According to its earlier circular to Bursa Malaysia, the land tender which is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of this year will see its net gearing rise by up to 0.71 times from 0.47 times as of June 30, 2021.

This will happen should the company decide to fund the entire tender purchase of SG$1.51bil or RM4.68bil with bank borrowings.

TA Research in its report earlier had highlighted that this development would potentially limit its ability to fund future capital expenditure requirements since it would raise its gearing levels substantially to 0.71 times.

When asked if there were any plans to raise equity funding or bring in a joint venture partner for this land following this bid, Voon says: “The tender consideration is to be funded via bank borrowings and/or internally generated funds.

“Details of the proposed development to be undertaken on the land has yet to be finalised.”

Voon says that this latest tender and size of investment will constitute to about 14% to its total net assets of RM33.43bil as of June 30, 2021.

The group’s latest corporate move comes after it had seen encouraging success in the Singaporean property market and more so now since it does not have any on-going residential development projects in the country after the completion of The Trilinq development in 2017.

IOIProp also notes that the data that’s coming out of Singapore had shown resilience and growth despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“Based on the Economic Survey of Singapore, there has been a rebound in the Singapore real estate sector in the second quarter of 2021, with private residential sales surging by 217% on a year-on-year basis,” it says.

This latest land tender at Marina View is planned for a development that will comprise of residential, hotel and commercial components.

Voon says that demand is expected to be strong for the development and this is expected to come from upscale city living in this area.

He says potential buyers for this project would come from the business community and working professionals, amongst others.

“As more commercial and office towers are anticipated to be developed around Marina Bay downtown core area going forward, there will be an increase in the demand for upscale city living in this vicinity.

“The proposed development on the Marina View land will enable IOIProp to capitalise on the relatively limited supply of residential units within this area,” Voon says.

The group also says that there would likely be pent-up demand in this location since the last residential launch in the vicinity was the Marina One Residences back in 2014.

It also notes that the proposed hotel development is expected to further complement its existing developments in Singapore and will be added to its investment properties portfolio eventually once its completed.

RHB Research in its report says it estimates that the residential portion of this latest development may yield a gross development value of S$2.2bil-S$2.5bil (RM6.77bil-RM7.69bil), based on average selling prices of S$2,700-S$2,800 (RM8,310-RM8,618) per square foot.

The research house had maintained its earnings forecasts for now since the earnings contributions from the initial stages of the project is expected to be minimal.

In its report yesterday, RHB Research had maintained its “buy” rating on the counter with a target price of RM1.53 and a 3% yield.

It also notes that this project targeted to be launched within two years and that its land-holding cost may be reduced, should it be able to roll this project out earlier.



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