Sunday, October 31, 2010

Budget for KLIA 2 increased

BTimes 30-10-2010
Malaysia Airports' board of directors has mandated RM2.5 billion for the overall construction cost of Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2.

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) (5014) is ready to spend some RM500 million more than the earlier budgeted RM2 billion for total construction cost of Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA 2).

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had said in his second stimulus package announcement in March last year that the new permanent low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) would cost RM2 billion.

The airport operator said yesterday that its board of directors had mandated a sum of RM2.5 billion for the overall construction cost of KLIA 2. MAHB chief financial officer Faizal Mansor, however, stressed that the RM2.5 billion budget was not final.

"While we will try to keep it below the budget, it is important to us to get the terminal completed well," he said at a briefing to announce the group's third quarter results in Sepang, Selangor.While some big contracts have been dished out, Faizal declined to reveal how many more would be awarded.

KLIA 2 is now being planned to have double the initial size of 120,000 sq m.

While the new terminal is only half the size of KLIA's main terminal building, it is designed to have more than double the commercial space of the main terminal building.

After the recent completion of a retail optimisation plan at the KLIA main terminal building, about 7 per cent of the building is now commercial space compared to KLIA 2, which is expected to have about 20 per cent commercial space.

"What this means is that while the cost of running KLIA 2 will be half that of the main terminal building, it will be more viable, more sexy," Faizal said.

On its results for the third quarter ended September 30 2010, MAHB said net profit was down by almost 26 per cent. This was largely due to accounting losses it had to recognise in that period because of the adoption of the Financial Reporting Standard (FRS) 139.

MAHB made RM61.8 million net profit compared with RM83.4 million a year ago. The loss arising from adopting FRS 139 was about RM30 million.

Part of this loss came from recognising concessions payable at fair value for the Sabiha Gokcen International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey.

Year to date, the group recognised RM54 million accounting losses from the associate. MAHB has projected that the full-year figure will touch RM80 million.

Group operating profit in the period reviewed was up 12 per cent to RM128.3 million compared with RM114.4 million in the previous corresponding period.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Warisan Merdeka – a beacon to PNB’s future

The Star 23-10-2010

The 100-storey 5-star green building is set to attract more interest to the whole development.

BACK in 2000 when Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) was presented the opportunity to buy the 14.5ha where Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara are located, it had decided to retain the heritage value of this priceless asset while looking for opportunities to develop the surrounding area.

A decade later, PNB is doing precisely that.

PNB paid RM310mil or RM220 per sq ft to buy the land from Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Bhd. The market value of the land has since appreciated to RM800 per sq ft today.

At a special briefing for media editors on Wednesday, PNB president and group chief executive Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman disclosed that the heritage aspect has been fulfilled through conservation works to restore the heritage characteristics of Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara. The two stadiums are now being managed by a heritage trust.

Both the stadiums are occupying 6.8ha, which have been identified as a national heritage site.

Hamad says the overall Warisan Merdeka development on the remaining 7.7ha will complement and blend with the heritage theme. He is optimistic that together with the restored stadiums, the site will be another major landmark in Kuala Lumpur.

“We are looking at ways on how to integrate the building aspects of the stadiums with the planning of the overall development of Warisan Merdeka. The heritage part will not be sacrificed and will actually serve as the enhancement factor to the commercial aspects of the building. The heritage preservation of the stadiums will be undertaken by the heritage trust,” he explains.

Construction work on the 100-storey Warisan Merdeka tower will kick off next year.

Touted to be the country’s tallest when it is completed in 2015, the building will cost RM2.5bil to RM3bil. It will have gross floor space of 3 million sq ft and 2.2 million sq ft of net floor space.

Hamad says the five-star green building will be the “beacon” to create more excitement and attract more interest to the whole development.

This will be followed by two subsequent phases comprising a shopping complex and condominiums. The whole development, to be undertaken over a 10 year period, will cost RM5bil.

On the rationale for mooting the project, Hamad says: “Since the plan to develop the land was approved by the PNB board in 2004, we were waiting for the right time to proceed with the project.

“The concept of 100-storey building, its retail portion and the condominium was mooted in early 2004 taking into account the need for enhancement of value and effective utilisation of the 19-acre land adjacent to Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara. In 2005, the master plan was approved by the municipal authorities followed by final titles being issued in 2008.

The principle concept of PNB Iconic Building was then approved in 2009.”He says that having held the land for so long, “we feel it is now the right time to go ahead. The Government is also promoting this type of development.”

Hamad stresses that most importantly, by initiating the Warisan Merdeka project, PNB is taking the lead to preserve the historical value of Stadium Merdeka as the site for the country’s declaration of independence back in 1957.

Emphasising that PNB is not looking to compete with anybody when it decided to put up a 100-storey tower as part of the Warisan Merdeka development, he says it will make more economic sense to build the high-rise tower than lower rise buildings.

He says as a state investment agency, PNB’s main concern is to maximise return for its stakeholders. “Each year, PNB declares income distribution of 6% to 7% to unitholders. The project with expected yields of between 8% and 10% will be able to meet our responsibility as an investment agency.”

Meanwhile, the new tower will be able to meet PNB’s need for new office space in line with its strategic positioning for the future.

Hamad says PNB will be moving out from its present headquarters, Menara PNB, which will be 30 years old when the tower project is completed, to the Warisan Merdeka tower upon its completion.

PNB has set up wholly-owned unit, PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd to undertake the project. Helming it since early this year is Tengku Abdul Aziz Tengku Mahmud who was formerly from Guthrie Property Development Holding Bhd and Sime Darby Property Bhd.

So, will Warisan Merdeka be an iconic project and will there be foreign expertise involved such as the like of world renowned architect Cesar Pelli who designed the Petronas Twin Towers?

Hamad says the project design plans are still in the drawing board.
“We are in talks with several parties comprising experts from the relevant fields. We are exploring the possibilities of creating a strong architectural and engineering team for the project,” he adds.

With its latest venture, PNB is certainly thrusting ahead with its plans to build up its presence in the local property scene.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Contractors for LRT project to be shortlisted next month

The Star 21-10-2010

PETALING JAYA: Contractors shortlisted for the first phase of the RM7bil of the light rail transit (LRT) extension would be announced by early next month said an industry source.

The first phase of the extension or package A for both Kelana Jaya and Ampang Lines involved 9.2km and 7.39km of construction length respectively.

The total extension length of the Kelana Jaya line is 17km and Ampang line 17.7km. The extension programme will see an additional 13 stations for each line.

The main construction or facilities work involves infrastructure components such as the guideway, piers and stations as well as the casting and delivery of segmental box girder for both lines.

The LRT extension programme will see the addition of 13 stations each to Ampang and Kelana Jaya lines.

Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd, a state-owned public transport operator that owns the assets of the two LRT lines, held a pre-bid briefing with the pre-qualified contractors for package A on June 22. The contractors were requested to submit their tenders in August.

It is understood the briefing was attended by 15 construction companies that included Sunway Construction Sdn Bhd, IJM Construction Sdn Bhd, Muhibbah Engineering Sdn Bhd, Gamuda Bhd, Bina Puri Holdings Bhd, Loh & Loh Corp Bhd and MRCB Engineering Sdn Bhd. — By SHARIDAN M. ALI

Multi-billion projects in the pipeline

The STAR 16-10-2010

PETALING JAYA: The Government has earmarked several multi-billion projects that will see the construction of several highways, a mass rapid transit (MRT) system, and the Kuala Lumpur International Financial District (KLIFD) amongst others, to be kicked off next year.

Generally, the planned development is well-received by the construction sector.
rime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday said in the Budget 2011 speech that under the public-private partnership (PPP) initiatives, several projects under the 10th Malaysia Plan would be implemented next year through private investment of RM12.5bil. The Government had allocated RM1bil from the facilitation fund.

Among the PPP projects mentioned are the
construction of several highways and
300-megawatt combined-cycle gas power plant in Kimanis, Sabah.Others are
the International Islamic University Malaysia Teaching Hospital,
the Women and Children’s Hospital,
Integrated Health Research Institute Complex in Kuala Lumpur and
Academic Medical Centre.

Additionally, high-impact strategic developments were also identified.

The first is RM26bil
KLIFD where the Government is prepared to consider special incentive packages to attract investors to the KLIFD. Next, is the
MRT in Greater KL with an estimated private investment of RM40bil which is expected to be completed by 2020. Also, the mixed-development of the
Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) land in Sungai Buloh to be undertaken by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF). This is to be completed by 2025 and the development is estimated at RM10bil. Finally is the development of another landmark building, a RM5bil 100-storey tower,
Warisan Merdeka to be developed by Permodalan Nasional to be completed by 2020.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Major projects under Budget 2011 will drive demand for building materials

The Star 19-10-2010 PETALING JAYA:

The construction sector emerged as the clear winner from Budget 2011 but a rally in the past months means stocks valuation are no longer cheap and the risk is higher.

The smart money call is on the building material suppliers, from steel makers to cement producers, analysts said. “We expect more positive news flow in the coming months for the construction sector,” MIDF Research said in a note yesterday, predicting a slew of project roll-outs and tender awards in the coming months.

While the question of who will bag what remained unanswered, analysts said the sheer number of upcoming construction jobs out there would drive up demand for building materials.

Malaysia Iron and Steel Indsutry Federation (MISIF) president Chow Chong Long said there was enough capacity in the country to meet the anticipated increase in demand for construction steel bars and other products. “We don’t foresee steel shortages if the construction projects listed in Budget 2011 are implemented next year,” he said in a SMS reply to a StarBiz query. He noted that steel factories in the country were currently running at about half their installed capacity. “MISIF does not expect steel demand to increase until the middle of next year as it usually takes up to six months for projects to take off from the date they are awarded,” Chow said.

On Friday, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announced that a number of multi-billion ringgit projects would start construction next year.
 This includes the
RM40bil mass rapid transit system in Kuala Lumpur,
six highways,
the RM26bil KL International Financial District and a plan for an iconic 100-storey tower by Permodalan Nasional Bhd,
on top of smaller builds such as
rural roads, schools and hospitals.

Most of the big projects were already made known prior to last Friday because they were part of the 10th Malaysia Plan, or the Economic Transformation Programme.Hence, it was not really a big surprise for the market when the projects were announced in the budget.

“These construction and infrastructure projects would require a lot of steel bars and cement,” BIMB Securities head of research Rosnani Rasul said yesterday. “We are comfortable to retain our forecast 7% growth in cement demand in 2011,” she added. Among potential beneficiaries are Lafarge Malayan Cement Bhd and YTL Cement Bhd.

Shares in bigger construction groups Gamuda Bhd, IJM Corp Bhd, MMC Corp Bhd and WCT Bhd declined yesterday, largely in sympathy with the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KL Composite Index’s (FBM KLCI) 9.16 points drop yesterday to 1,480.70 points.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Need to gauge potential impact of 100-storey Warisan Merdeka

The Star 20-10-2010 PETALING JAYA:

Developers and property consultants have urged the Government to commission extensive and in-depth feasibility and market studies on the proposed 100-storey Warisan Merdeka to gauge its cost-benefit and potential impact on the property market before proceeding with the project.

Construction of the skyscraper, which is part of the RM5bil mega project within the enclave of Merdeka Stadium and Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur, will start next year and is expected to be completed in 2015.

Disclosing the project in his Budget 2011 speech last Friday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the two stadiums would be retained as national heritage buildings.

Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Malaysia (Rehda) deputy president Datuk FD Iskandar Mohamed Mansor said the plan for the potentially high-impact commercial development must take into consideration demand and supply of office space in the capital city. He said such a massive project should be approached with caution and proper feasibility studies before proceeding.

“Kuala Lumpur already has a focal point – the Petronas Twin Towers – and the question is whether it is necessary to have another one. Moreover, there is enough office space in the city. Additional space from the Warisan Merdeka and other projects, including the RM26bil Kuala Lumpur International Financial District (KLIFD), may result in an oversupply of commercial property space,” Iskandar said.

Official figures from the National Property Information Centre show that occupancy rates of office space in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor averaged around 80%.

“What is more important at this point is for a holistic and comprehensive public transport system for Greater Kuala Lumpur that will integrate the proposed mass rapid transit project to the feeder transport network, including the buses and taxis, that also needs to be improved. It is one of the basic imperatives for KL to achieve world-class city status,” he added.

Amphil Corp Sdn Bhd chief executive officer PK Poh said the iconic projects planned by the Government were intended to fulfill national imperatives “to serve a bigger and higher purpose,” and should not therefore be looked upon as a pure property play. Poh said the implementation and timing of the project would have a serious impact on the local property market in terms of the allocation of resources and the effect on current and future vacancy rates in the capital city.  “As such, it would be good if such super mega projects be demand-driven as well, in addition to fulfilling the national agenda.“Based on what I observe overseas (including the Shanghai Financial Centre, Canary Wharf and Burj Khalifa), super mega projects there needed to go through at least one recessionary cycle.“Our own Petronas Twin Towers were in fact completed in the teeth of such a recession. Therefore, the timing of, and preparation for, when the project should take off is of utmost importance, and requires truly extensive and in-depth studies,” Poh said. He also pointed out that projects such as Warisan Merdeka and the KLIFD could straddle the property cycle. “There is a real danger of these projects ‘crowding out’ other developers’ projects when the construction of this and other iconic projects starts. Prices of materials will tend to rise, thus making projects more expensive for all concerned.”

Property consultancy CB Richard Ellis Sdn Bhd executive director Paul Khong said a proper market and feasibility study should be professionally undertaken to determine the right mix of development, the commercial viability of the entire project, the future demand for the products offered within the project and also the theme of development which should really be featured around the heritage elements of Merdeka Stadium.

Responding to questions on the project yesterday, Najib stressed the Government did not instruct Permodalan Nasional Bhd to construct Warisan Merdeka and that it was the company’s board of directors that had wanted to embark on the project.He said the construction work on the project would generate many economic activities.“The area will be a business centre for both the bumiputra and non-bumiputra alike. It can be one of Malaysia’s attraction that will generate and bring profit. This project is not a waste,” he stressed.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Action-based programme to take economy to greater heights

The Star 22/09/2010

KUALA LUMPUR: The private sector will be the backbone of the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) with US$37bil (RM114.9bil) worth of projects expected to kick off by year-end.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and Pemandu chief executive officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala said private investors including government-linked companies were ready to sign contracts to carry out the seven entry-point projects (EPPs).

The action-based ETP, to be officially unveiled next month, is expected to thrust the economy to greater heights by tripling the country’s Gross National Income (GNI) to RM1.7tril, increasing GNI per capita from RM23,700 to RM48,000 and creating 3.3 million jobs by 2020.

Over 60% of the jobs would be in the medium-income and high-income salary brackets in line with the country’s goal to shift towards a high-income nation status in 10 years.

As a start, 131 EPPs worth US$216bil (RM670.9bil) would be carried out across 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs) with 60 business opportunities being made available.

“These projects are just the beginning. There will be multiplier projects and more to come. ETP is not a plan, it is an action-based programme.

“Our focus is on growing the economic pie and we have the right ingredients to succeed,” Jala said during the ETP public open day at Putra World Trade Centre attended by about 4,000 people yesterday.

Investors, he added,
* were ready to sign MoUs for 12 more EPPs (US$10bil/RM31bil) and
* were involved in active engagement for 34 EPPs worth US$50bil (RM155bil).

The 12 NKEAs under the 10th Malaysia Plan are oil, gas and energy; palm oil; financial services; tourism; business services; electrical and electronics; wholesale and retail; education; healthcare; communications, content and infrastructure; agriculture and Greater Kuala Lumpur. Lab members met for eight weeks before coming up with the proposals.

Plans in the pipeline include making Malaysia a number one
* regional hub for oil field services and
* a global biodiversity hub,
* revitalising the capital market and
* making shopping more conducive for tourists.

There are also plans to build 141km of rail lines via a Mass Rapid Transit high-speed rail system to connect Kuala Lumpur and Singapore; and transform the Klang River to a “River of Life” commercial and heritage district buzzing with activities. (The distance between KL and Spore is more than 400km- blogger)

The private sector is expected to fund 92% of the NKEA projects which would require a total funding of RM1.4tril (US$444bil). The remaining funds would come from the Government which would act as an enabler and catalyst, Jala said.

“Malaysia has no time to lose. We have to be fully united. We need a complete, radical economic transformation.

“If we continue on the current economic model, we risk getting stuck in the middle-income trap and continue to lose out on talent necessary to support a high-income economy,” he said, adding that they expected positive results from the ETP, based on the tremendous outcome from the Government Transformation Programme.

He said there was political will for the ETP to succeed but wanted the people to focus on action and refrain from destructive talk or wasteful philosophical debates.

Speaking to reporters later, Jala said there would be a level playing field for investors with clear rules and regulations.

(Hmm...reminds me of the annual Indonesian Infrastructure Summit- blogger) 

Friday, September 3, 2010

AmanahRaya poised to have third biggest REIT

BTimes 3/9/2010

AMANAHRAYA Real Estate Investment Trust (ARREIT) (5127) expects to become the country's third biggest property trust by asset value after it completes buying three new properties this year.

It is currently the fourth biggest REIT with assets of RM1 billion, after Sunway REIT, CapitaMall REIT and the YTL group's Starhill REIT.

ARREIT plans to grow assets by 80 per cent to RM1.8 billion by next year, its group managing director Datuk Ahmad Rodzi Pawanteh said.

Yesterday, the trust signed a deal to buy three properties owned by Selangor State Development Corp (PKNS). "The three new properties, namely Menara PKNS, Kompleks PKNS and Shah Alam Convention Centre Mall, will help strengthen our asset base," Ahmad Rodzi said. The indicative purchase price of the properties, valued at RM270 million, will be satisfied with a combination of new units and cash.

PKNS will get 122.7 million new units priced at 88 sen each and RM162 million in cash. In a separate deal, PKNS will also buy 70 million units at 95 sen each from Kumpulan Wang Bersama (KWB), a fund managed by AmanahRaya."

This is the fourth injection for ARREIT and will be our final acquisition exercise this year," Ahmad Rodzi told reporters after the signing of the sale and purchase and share agreements in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Also present was PKNS general manager Othman Omar.

Upon completion of the deals, PKNS will emerge as the second largest substantial unitholder of ARREIT, after KWB. "PKNS will own approximately 30 per cent of ARREIT, while AmanahRaya's ownership will be 33 per cent," Ahmad Rodzi said. Both parties also entered into lease agreements under which PKNS will lease the properties from ARREIT for 12 years.

Othman said PKNS was very excited over the exercise. "It is a win-win transaction for all parties and will enable us to unlock the true market value of the three properties," he said.

It was reported earlier that PKNS had identified 16 high-profile projects worth RM10 billion for future injection into its REIT.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Road upgrade called off

NST 2/9/2010

KUANTAN: The state government is upset that the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) and Public Works Department (PWD) have decided not to widen the central federal road running from Seremban to Kuala Krai in Kelantan and will instead only repair certain stretches.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said since the upgrading project, which involved the stretch from Kuala Krai-Gua Musang-Kuala Lipis-Bentong-Karak-Simpang Pelangai-Kuala Pilah and Seremban, would now only focus on repairing the accident-prone areas, he suggested that there was no need to carry out any work.

"Since there will be no upgrading work, or the construction of a new stretch along the existing central federal road, the state government feels it would be better to just maintain the current stretch.

"We might put up road signs at accident-prone areas to warn motorists about the condition of the road," he said after chairing the state executive council meeting here yesterday.

Adnan said it was earlier announced that the stretch of the road would be widened to a dual carriage- way. However, due to financial constraints, it was downgraded to a single carriageway. "Now the EPU and PWD have recommended to repair only the accident-prone areas which is not a good move and our stand is: Let there be no work at all. "Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had previously informed me that the dual carriageway was too costly and it would be replaced with a single carriageway, but now it is learnt that there will be no upgrading at all."

Vale expected to call for RM3b seaport tender

The Brazilian iron ore producer plans to call for an international tender as early as November to help build a seaport in Perak

Brazil's Vale SA, the world's largest iron ore producer, plans to call for an international tender as early as November to help build a seaport in Teluk Rubiah, Perak, near the Straits of Malacca.

Business Times understands that the value of the contract is slightly more than RM3 billion and its duration is about 30 months.

Construction work is expected to start in the first quarter of next year.

Vale will employ some 3,000 workers, making the project the biggest in Perak in terms of capital investment and labour.

It is further understood that Vale will allocate some portion of the contract to local firms and that KYM Holdings Bhd had started talking with various foreign companies to submit a joint bid. KYM chief operating officer Allan Chin Kong Yaw declined to comment.

Vale has appointed Murray & Roberts Marine Ltd, a South African company, to do the design work for the jetty. The actual design work is being done in Cape Town, South Africa, with local unit Murray & Roberts (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, acting as the go-between. A joint venture between Murray & Roberts and SNC Lavalin Australia Pty Ltd has been put in charge as construction manager to manage local subcontractors.

Last December, Vale signed an agreement with Integrax Bhd's 80 per cent-owned Lekir Bulk Terminal Sdn Bhd to provide the latter with transhipment services for iron ore cargo at a bulk terminal at Pulau Lekir Satu for over 10 years. People who work closely with Vale on the project say the jetty has been designed to be 2.5km long, with the berth having a 30-metre depth.

The seaport is designed to accommodate as many as four ships of 400,000 deadweight tonnes (dwt) capacity at one go. It will have an additional 10 berths for ships of 100,000 dwt capacity as well as berths for 50 barges.

Vale has placed orders for 12 very large, 400,000 dwt ore carriers from Jiangsu Rongsheng Heavy Industries Co Ltd. The vessels are expected to be delivered by end-2012.

Vale intends to use Teluk Rubiah as its base to ship to China, the world's biggest iron ore consumer, as commercial freight rates from Vale's Brazilian ports to China are double those paid by competitors BHP Billiton plc and Rio Tinto Group from Australia because of the greater distance.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Selangor to solve water issue first

1 September 2010
The Star

SHAH ALAM: The Selangor government will proceed with the Langat 2 water treatment plant project (Langat 2) after discussions on the restructuring of the state’s water industry with the private concessionaire and federal agencies are finalised.

“We accept the Langat 2 project, but there is no need to do it in haste. Now, the state government wants to resolve the issue on the restructuring of the water service industry in Selangor.
“Priority should be given to the restructuring of the water service industry compared with the Langat 2 project, he added.

Abdul Khalid was responding to a newspaper report yesterday which quoted Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as saying that the Selangor Mentri Besar had agreed to speed up the Langat 2 project at the 5th National Water Resources Council meeting in Putrajaya on Monday.

He said the state government would continue negotiations to resolve the restructuring of its water service industry which met a deadlock since last year.

“We want a better deal, better service and better price for the people. That is our objective,” he added. — Bernama

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thailand earmarks $1.98b for Suvarnabhumi expansion


Thailand's Cabinet has approved an investment budget of US$1.98 billion, proposed by Airports of Thailand, for the expansion of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport, reported Dow Jones Newswires.

Transport Minister Sophon Zaram said of the total budget for the expansion programme, to be implemented between the fiscal years 2011-2016, $1.42 billion will be financed by the company's internal cashflows and $553.35 million by offshore borrowings.

Under the approved budget, Airports of Thailand will build a midfield satellite building and expand the existing terminal building, which will boost passenger capacity to 60 million from 45 million at present.

Project rollout too slow, say Malaysia builders

Btimes 26/8/2010

The government needs to step up implementation of the remaining stimulus package projects so that there will be more jobs in the market, says Master Builders Association of Malaysia.

The government has to roll out projects faster to achieve the targeted average growth rate of 5 per cent a year over the next five years, says Master Builders Association of Malaysia (MBAM).

"In the last four quarters, total value of new construction projects awarded has declined," newly-elected MBAM president Kwan Foh Kwai said.

Bank Negara Malaysia's statistics indicate that the construction sector registered 8.7 per cent growth in the first quarter of this year, but it slowed to 4.1 per cent in the second.

"If we're not vigilant, the construction sector's growth will continue to slow down, stagnate or, worse, shrink like in 2004, 2005 and 2006," he said.

"The government needs to step up implementation of the remaining stimulus package projects so that there will be more jobs in the market," Kwan told Business Times in an interview in Kuala Lumpur.

He cited as example the light rail transit (LRT) extension packages which were supposed to have been awarded a year ago. It was reported that Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd will give out the contracts only at the end of this year.

"The government must step up project rollouts because it will help transform the construction sector into a performance-based and productivity-driven one. We want sustainable growth for the construction industry."

Well-paced project implementation will help ensure sufficient industrial building components and skilled labour supply at any given time.

Kwan cautioned that if nothing was done to jump-start the current slowdown in job flows, many people would suffer. That is because the economic multiplier effects on the construction and housing industry support as many as 120 types of businesses, ranging from contractors, engineers and architects to building material suppliers.

Gloomy outlook for the industry aside, Kwan also lamented the shortage of skilled workers.

"We don't have enough experienced supervisors at the worksite," he said.

"For a start, we seek help from the government to train more foremen and supervisors."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

TNB offered to develop 1,000 MW coal-fired power plant

The Star 25/8/2010
KUALA LUMPUR: Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) has been offered by the Government to develop the first unit of 1,000 MW coal-fired power plant on its existing power plant site in Manjung Perak.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, TNB said the concession was to build, own and operate the coal-fired plant.

It said the plant was expected to commence operation on March 1, 2015.

Earlier, the Energy Commission (EC) had said it hoped the Government would identify a power company that would build up an additional 1,000 MW of electricity by the end of January next year.

Chairman Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali said there was an urgency to finalise the project as there would be a power shortage in 2015. This was because the initial 1,600 MW that was supposed to be transmitted to the peninsula from the Bakun dam had been scrapped thus creating a potential shortage and the need for a new plant.

Earlier this month, Tajuddin had said that three sites for power plants were shortlisted by the Energy Commission for the Government to consider. These were the existing Tanjung Bin power plant in south Johor (owned by MMC Corp Bhd), Jimah plant in Negri Sembilan (Jimah Power) and Manjung power plant in Perak (TNB) – for the new plant.
The offer by the Government to TNB has come earlier than expected as the Government was supposed to make its decision on the suggested sites only by next January.
TNB said the development of the project was subject to approval from Department of Environment (DOE) in relation to the detailed environmental impact assessment (DEIA) and EC’s approval. It added that TNB would ensure compliance to the DEIA study in order to meet the latest clean air regulations (CAR).

The use of the supercritical technology would considerably reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emission, particulate emissions, nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxides emissions with the added benefit of much reduced coal consumption due to the higher efficiency of the supercritical boiler, it said. “We will comply with all the requirements of CAR and obtain the necessary approval for the DEIA from the DOE, before commencing construction of this strategic power plant, TNB said in a statement.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

BOV sets sights on Philippine airport project

BTImes 18/8/2010

A MALAYSIAN consortium, BriSteel Overseas Ventures Inc (BOV), has expressed interest to undertake a project to enlarge the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport Terminal 2 (DMIAT2) in the Clark Free Port Zone in Pampanga province, the Philippines.

A high-level delegation from BOV, led by its managing director William Chee, met with senior Philippine government leaders, including vice-president Jejomar C Binay and executive secretary Jojo Ochoa, recently to officially register its readiness to carry out the project.

Chee said the consortium, consisting of a group of major government-linked and private firms, is ready to invest some US$150 million (RM475.5 million) on the project.

Under the proposed DMIAT2 expansion, the airport's capacity will be increased to seven million passengers per annum.

"BOV is committed to assisting the Philippines in developing the DMIAT2 as an alternative, premier international gateway to the Philippines," he said, adding that the Philippine authorities were receptive to its proposal.

A special briefing on the proposal was also conducted by BOV in collaboration with the Pampanga Media Group at Clark for local business communities. Officiating the briefing, Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim said BOV's interest on the project was testimony of the existing cordial ties between Malaysia and the Philippines. Ibrahim said the Malaysian consortium has experience in developing and operating airports in Asean countries, the Middle East and India. He assured that all foreign projects implemented by private firms from Malaysia are closely monitored by the Malaysian government.

Mabalacat mayor and Metro Clark advisory council chairman Morino Morales welcomed the BOV's proposal, saying that the development of DMIA will boost the local economy enormously. He said considering the presence of the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway, Clark Airport and other infrastructure projects, the town will develop into a bustling city like Makati.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New power plant to be identified

The Star, 12/8/2010
KUALA LUMPUR: The Energy Commission (EC) hopes to identify the power company that will plant up an additional 1,000MW of electricity by the end of January next year.

“A decision is imminent for the construction of the first plant of up to 1,000MW,’’ chairman Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali told StarBiz yesterday.

Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali “We are still in the consultative process, evaluating the proposals submitted by three bidders of existing sites – Tenaga Nasional Bhd (Janamanjung), Malakoff Bhd (Tanjung Bin) and Jimah Power Sdn Bhd (Jimah).

“We will pick the winner the latest by the end of January next year. The winner this round has to ensure that the plant will be operational by the first quarter of 2015,’’ he added.

Each of these existing sites have the space for two more generating units of 1,000MW each, said Tajuddin.

“It is more economical to build on these existing sites and tap on their existing facilities,’’ he said, referring to the first unit being planned.

Based on an expected 6% growth in gross domestic product (GDP) per year, there is a projected power shortage in 2015 as initially 1,600MW was supposed to be transmitted via undersea cables to the peninsula from the Bakun Dam in Sarawak.

Greenfield projects is a possibility, but they take time to become operational, so they will not be able to meet the peninsula’s urgent power needs by 2015-2016.

Electricity consumption per capita in Malaysia now stands at about 3,412 kWh per annum, significantly higher than most developing countries, but still below the average in developed countries.

It is projected to more than double to 7,571 kWh per person in 2030, higher than that of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation region average of 6,833 kWh per person.

“Implementation must be carried out in the next 3 to 4 years,’’ he said, adding that a major criterion was to have a reserve margin of 20%. Among other factors, the speed at which financing can be secured by these bidders would also be considered.

Due to the limited gas supply in the long term, the commission had decided on a coal-fired plant which can be completed in 42 months. “We are a consequential planner. Since the Government has targeted a GDP growth of 6% per year under the 10th Malaysia Plan, we have to plan for the anticipated growth in energy demand,” he said.

“We need to plan for that ... no one can say it’s not going to happen (the targeted GDP growth); at the Electricity Commission, we have to be prepared to meet the future power requirement,” he added.

(Electricity demand is positively linked to a country’s GDP growth).

Still, the winner of the first round of tender can only supply 1,000MW. There’s still a gap of at least 600MW to be filled as Bakun is not providing the power.
“So, there is a need for a second plant,’’ he said.

This second plant can be a greenfield project which would take longer to plan,’’ he said, adding that it would involve site investigations and compliance with environmental requirements.

San Miguel in talks on Clark airport project

Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corp said it was in talks to join a locally-owned consortium that will bid for a state contract to upgrade an international airport north of the capital, reported Reuters.

The company told the stock exchange it was looking at joining the Philco Aero Group in seeking the contract for the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA), a former US military airbase at Clark.

It was earlier reported Korea Airports Corp would acquire a five percent stake in Philco Aero Group. It said the consortium also included Posco Engineering and Construction, Samil PricewaterhouseCoopers and Korea Development Bank.

The government wants to expand the capacity of DMIA, which currently caters mostly to budget airlines, but has yet to decide whether to make it the country's main international gateway, replacing Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

In April, San Miguel agreed to buy a majority stake in Caticlan International Airport Development Corp, which operates the airport nearest to Boracay island in central Philippines, a popular tourist destination.

The 120-year old San Miguel has been aggressively diversifying into heavy industry, including power, mining, oil refining and telecommunications and infrastructure.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Malaysia lokasi loji tapis minyak Putrana

15 disember 2008 utusan online

KUALA LUMPUR 14 Dis. - El-One Resources Sdn. Bhd. (El-One Resources), pemilik utama loji penapisan minyak Putrana telah melabur sebanyak n 6.5 bilion (RM30.16 bilion) bagi memastikan kejayaan projek loji penapisan itu.

Pengerusi Eksekutifnya, Mohammad Saraei berkata, selain menyediakan modal atau dana syarikat juga telah memeterai perjanjian dengan Hampa Engineering Corporation (Hampa) bagi menyediakan teknologi terkini loji penapisan minyaknya.

''Hampa merupakan syarikat kejuruteraan terkenal Iran akan menyediakan teknologi terkini berkaitan loji penapisan itu dan juga akan bertindak membantu sepenuhnya dalam menentukan reka bentuk, penyelidikan sehingga loji tersebut siap sepenuhnya.

''Setakat ini, kami telah mengenal pasti dua lokasi yang akan menempatkan loji penapisan minyak ini iaitu di Johor Bahru dan Terengganu. Kami masih lagi menunggu keputusan pihak berkuasa tempatan kedua-dua negeri itu,'' katanya.

Saraei berkata demikian kepada pemberita selepas majlis menandatangani perjanjian antara El-Resources dan Hampa di sini, baru-baru ini.

Tambah Saraei, loji penapisan minyak Putrana direka bentuk dengan kapasiti untuk mengeluarkan 230,000 tong minyak sehari.

''Dengan menggunakan teknologi terkini dalam reka bentuk kejuruteraan dan kaedah pembinaan, loji ini dijangka siap pada tempoh masa yang singkat dan dengan kos optimum,'' jelasnya.

Katanya, projek loji penapisan tersebut bakal menyediakan peluang pekerjaan secara terus sebanyak 1,800 dan 4,000 peluang pekerjaan secara tidak langsung.

''Loji tersebut juga akan menyediakan kompleks jeti dan terminal minyak yang sesuai untuk mengimport dan eksport produk kami.

''Fasa pertama projek itu akan melibatkan 10 juta meter persegi dan akan ditambah kepada 20 juta meter persegi pada masa hadapan,'' katanya.

Selain itu, lokasi loji penapisan minyak itu turut menyediakan kawasan kediaman pekerja termasuk pusat membeli belah, hospital, sekolah kompleks sukan serta kemudahan hiburan, katanya.

PTP, Johor port merger plan fails

10 August 2010

The failed rationalisation of the Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) and Johor Port may not affect the performance of MMC Corp much, but it does bring up the question of what will happen to PTP and its expansion plans, reported Business Times.

Combined operations of the two ports contributed about 14 per cent of the group's revenue last year.

MMC Corp made a net profit of US$75.46 million on revenue of $2.67 billion in the financial year ended December 31, 2009.

"I doubt that any analyst has factored in the rationalisation of the two ports into MMC Corp's valuations. So it does not really affect the stock," said an analyst, who declined to be named.

According to OSK Research head of research Chris Eng, PTP has started dredging work for berths 13 and 14 as part of moves to increase the port's capacity. Currently, it has 12 container berths.

However, with only about 78 per cent of the capacity utilised and no added containers or shipping lines to be expected from Johor Port through the rationalisation, there does not seem to be a need for the expansion.

PTP is handling some 6.6 million boxes at present. It has a capacity of 8.5 million TEUs.

"They will have to hold back on expansion plans as there is still some spare capacity to work with now," Eng told Business Times.

He said that this could mean some capital expenditure in Johor Port instead, previously held back pending a decision on the rationalisation of the two ports to ease congestion.

"There are still a couple of bulk berths that can be converted into container berths (for expansion). There is a little bit of room to play for Johor Port," Eng said.

MMC Corp owns 70 per cent of PTP and all of Johor Port. Ever since it bought over Johor Port in 2006, talk of rationalising MMC's port operations has been ongoing.

The plan had been to have PTP focus on containerised cargo, while Johor Port would handle bulk traffic.
It faced fierce opposition, however, from manufacturers who worried about higher transport costs.

1MDB, Malton to redevelop RMAF base

The Edge
Thursday, 13 May 2010 12:23

KUALA LUMPUR: The cabinet has agreed in principle to entrust the task of redeveloping the Sungai Besi Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base to a consortium of companies that include 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), sources say.

The other members of the consortium are Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) and Datuk Desmond Lim of Malton Bhd, they say. It cannot be ascertained if Malton or Lim, through his private company, has a stake in the consortium.

It is learnt that the mandate of the consortium is to develop the 162-hectare site into a multi-billion-ringgit Islamic financial centre. This is in line with the government’s plans to enhance Malaysia as a regional Islamic financial centre.

The sources say the government will also ink an agreement with the Qatar government that will commit an undertaking for major investments in Malaysia. The investments will be jointly undertaken with 1MDB and may likely include the redevelopment of the Sungai Besi RMAF base.

It is said that 1MDB would hold 30% interest in the consortium while Lim or Malton would hold 40%. LTAT would hold the remaining 30%.

The Sungai Besi airport, which served as the country’s first international airport from 1952 to 1965, was eyed by many parties as it is probably the last major tract of land that is located close to the city centre and has the potential for a multi-billion-ringgit redevelopment. It borders the Sungai Besi Highway at one end and Taman Seputeh and Istana Negara at the other.

“The decision to develop the base into an Islamic financial centre was made by the cabinet recently. It was with the view of promoting Malaysia as an Islamic finance hub in this region. It will ultimately create a platform for all Islamic finance-related institutions to set up base,” said a source.

It is learnt that the runway will be maintained so that private jets can fly in corporate big-wigs to do business in the financial district. There will also be a helipad.

“The other areas inside the base such as the nine-hole golf course and existing quarters housing RMAF personnel will be redeveloped,” said a source.

Last month, it was reported that plans to redevelop the Sungai Besi airport had resurfaced but both Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal claimed they were not aware of any such plans.

However, it is learnt that members of the golf club and the RMAF officials have been told to look for alternative sites. The cost of relocating the base and the golf course will be borne by the consortium undertaking the redevelopment of the base.

It is not clear if the project was tendered out but according to officials in the property development industry, they were not aware of any exercise by the government calling for expression of interest in the redevelopment of the base.

One of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s plans to increase government revenue is to redevelop land held by government agencies. In this respect, he announced the development of the Rubber Research Institute land in Sungai Buloh by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) last month.

He had said that this was to pave the way for the EPF to be directly involved in the economic activities of the country.

It has been reported that apart from the RMAF, the Sungai Besi base also houses the police air wing, the air unit of the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) and the Royal Selangor Flying Club. The RMAF units housed in the base include the 10th Squadron, which maintains the Nuri and Blackhawk helicopters for utility and other purposes. The other RMAF operations there are the Aerospace Medical Institute as well as the RMAF museum.

This article appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, May 13, 2010.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Malaysia shortlists 3 sites for coal-fired plant

BTImes 10/8/2010

Three power plants have been identified as the possible choice to house a coal-fired plant that will be built to add 1,600 megawatts to the Peninsular Power Grid by the first quarter of 2015.
They are the

Tanjung Bin Power Plant owned by MMC Corp Bhd subsidiary Malakoff Corp Bhd;
Jimah Power Plant located in Port Dickson, Negri Sembilan; and
the coal-fired power plant in Manjung, Perak, managed by Tenaga Janamanjung Sdn Bhd.

There are no clear indications yet as to which of the three will be entrusted to develop the additional capacity.However, it is understood that the three power plants were shortlisted because of their existing facilities.It is also understood that an announcement will be made soon on the plant selected to start the project.

Energy Commission chairman Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali said that construction of the coal-fired plant would take about 42 months."The additional plant is necessary considering that the power plant in Bakun, Sarawak, is not forthcoming. Initially, it was supposed to provide the power."However, the decision on this (new coal plant) has to be done soon as it takes 42 months to construct a coal power plant," he told reporters after presenting a paper at the Energy Forum 2010 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Ahmad Tajuddin said the Energy Commission, the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water, and the Economic Planning Unit should decide fast on the implementation of the coal-fired plant to avert the risk of a power shortage in the next five years.He added that there was a need for the new plant as electricity demand was increasing by the day, especially from the large industries.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

KYM, Vale agree to extend deadline for property sale

The Star 3/8/2010
PETALING JAYA: KYM Holdings Bhd has mutually agreed with Harta Makmur Sdn Bhd and Vale Malaysia Manufacturing Sdn Bhd to extend the cut-off date for a sale and purchase agreement (SPA) involving 13 parcels of leasehold properties to Aug 31.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, KYM said the parties had signed a conditional SPA on March 31 pursuant to Vale exercising its option to purchase the properties, totalling 305.94ha, from KYM’s 54%-owned unit Harta Makmur for RM93.76mil cash.

Harta Makmur last year sold 485.6ha of leasehold land in Teluk Rubiah to Vale for RM195.7mil.

In a separate statement, KYM said its wholly-owned unit KYM Built Sdn Bhd had on July 29 accepted a contract from Vale Malaysia for the refurbishment of a building for the use as a site office and upgrading of the main entrance at Teluk Rubiah, Perak for RM300,265.

“The contract is expected to commence next week and will be completed within a month.

“None of the directors or major shareholders or persons connected to the directors or major shareholders of KYM has any direct or indirect interest in the award of contract,” it said.

Electricity glut in Sarawak

Bakun & Murum will result in considerable oversupply by 2013 in absence of firm commitments
The Star 3/8/2010

PETALING JAYA: There is likely to be a major power glut in Sarawak with the coming on stream of two major hydro power projects by the end of 2013 and the lack of firm commitments from investors to take the power up, industry players said.

There will be
2,400MW of capacity from the RM7.3bil Bakun Dam by the end of 2012 while a further
944MW will be added from the RM3.5bil Murum Dam by the end of 2013.

About 300MW of hydropower from the first turbine at the RM7.3bil Bakun Dam is expected to be generated by the middle of next year and 600-900MW by end of next year; by 2012, all eight turbines are expected to be in place. Murum Dam is currently 27% completed with the RM3.5bil job awarded to China’s Three Gorges Project Corp and sub-contracted to Sinohydro Corp Ltd.

Total installed capacity from these two dams is 3,344MW but firm power that is available for use at anytime will be about 2,420MW (1,770MW from Bakun and 650MW from Murum).

Sarawak’s current capacity of 1,300MW
already considerably exceeds peak demand of 900MW (excluding power to Press Metal’s aluminium smelter, which will initially take up 90MW).

Apart from organic demand, industries from the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) are projected to start taking about
500MW in 2012 and close to
2,000MW by 2014,
according to projections by Sarawak Energy Bhd, the state electricity utility.

Sarawak Energy owns Murum Dam while Bakun Dam is owned by Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd which is in turn wholly-owned by the Government’s Minister of Finance Inc.

“By 2015, Sarawak expects a commitment of 2,590MW which exceeds the combined firm capacity of Bakun and Murum (2,420MW),” an industry source said.

However, industry players are not convinced that commitments will materialise to increase the power demand by 2,600 MW a year, nearly three times Sarawak’s current demand.

Sarawak Hidro still does not have an agreement to sell its electricity although the dam is going to be flooded soon. Sarawak Energy can’t make a firm decision to buy from Sarawak Hidro because it in turn does not have firm commitments by anyone to purchase the power. There is no agreement on tariffs as yet.

There are said to be 25 negotiations going on with 12 potential purchasers at an advanced stage of working out the details on the term sheet, sources indicated.

“It is a Catch 22 situation,” said an industry source. “Investors want to know how Sarawak Energy is strategising its position in relation to the Bakun Dam project. Sarawak Energy needs to get the financial commitment from Sarawak Hidro in terms of their financial models (upon which the tariffs will be calculated).”

In the interim, Sarawak Energy is likely to be take power from Bakun to maintain its gas turbines and coal fired plants. “Sarawak Energy needs to do maintenance,” said the industry source. “It will probably shut down these plants and draw down the power from Bakun.”

There has been talk that Sarawak Energy is eyeing the purchase of the mammoth Bakun project at an indicative price of RM6bil (minus compensation costs for a previously botched job as well as resettlement costs) compared with the asking price of RM8bil.

The issue of tariffs is also another thorny matter with Sarawak Energy looking at just below 8 sen per KwH while their heavy offtakers – the aluminium smelters – are only talking of slightly less than four US cents (13.6 sen on an exchange rate of RM3.40 to the dollar) per KwH. At Sarawak Hidro, various costs are imputed, making the tariff range acceptable at 10 to 15 sen per KwH.

Current talks with two potential aluminium smelters are focused on the commercial terms in the initial power purchase agreements.
These are:
·The smelter project by Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd (CMS) and Australia-based Rio Tinto Alcan, which requires between 900MW and 1,200MW for an initial annual capacity of up to 720,000 tonnes; and
·Smelter Asia with an initial annual capacity of 330,000 tonnes requiring 600MW. Smelter Asia is jointly owned by Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary’s vehicle GIIG Holdings Sdn Bhd and China’s Aluminium Corp.

At the same time, there are ongoing talks with smaller users of 150-200MW such those in poly silicon, manganese and ferro silicon industries. They do not use as much power as smelters and cost of power is not a significant part of their overall costs.

The power glut does not stop at Bakun and Murum. Plans to build another five smaller dams are likely to commence later.

A 245MW dam can be built in Limbang if Sarawak Energy succeeds in pushing the Sarawak grid from Miri to Limbang, something which will involve passing through Brunei. “Sarawak Energy hopes to get strong commitment from Brunei before the end of this month for up to 400MW by 2015; the first phase of offtake is for 100MW in 2012,” said the industry source.

The 100MW dam at Lawas may be built in one or two years as Sarawak Energy is expected to engage with Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd and Tenaga Nasional Bhd on supply of power to the state, pending their decision to proceed with the 300MW Liwagu hydro dam in Sabah.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

MISC in RM1.4bil deal

The Star 21-07-2010

Purchase of 4 tankers part of unit AET’s plan to expand its fleet size

PETALING JAYA: MISC Bhd’s wholly owned subsidiary AET Inc Ltd yesterday signed a contract to purchase four new 320,000-deadweight tonne (dwt) very large crude carriers (VLCCs) from Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd of South Korea for about US$430mil (RM1.38bil).

MISC said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia that the tankers would be delivered between December 2012 and October 2013.

“The contract is entered into as part of AET’s growth plans to expand its fleet of VLCCs,” it said. The total consideration of US$430mil, which is based on the price of the vessels, costs of modifications and enhancements to meet with AET’s requirements, will be paid fully through AET’s internally generated funds.

“The contract is not expected to have any material impact on the earnings of MISC for the financial year ending March 31,” MISC said.

It said the contract was not subject to the approval of any authority or its shareholders. “To the best of our knowledge, none of MISC’s directors, substantial shareholders and persons connected to them has any direct or indirect interest in the contract,” it added.

It was reported last week that AET aspired to build up a fleet of 150 tankers, including VLCCs and medium-range product tankers, with the aim of expanding its lightering business in the US. (Lightering involves the transfer of cargo between vessels of different sizes to facilitate the berthing of large oceangoing vessels at a shallow port.)
MISC, whose major shareholders are Petroliam Nasional Bhd and the Employees Provident Fund Board, said on its website that it has an existing fleet of 11 VLCCs with a total of 3.328 million dwt. “In line with our aspiration to be a total logistics provider, our fleet is expanding aggressively, along with the rapid growth of our business,” it said on the site.

KL-Ipoh electric train to run soon

The Star 21-070210 By JAGDEV SINGH SIDHU
Delay in services should not be repeated for remaining portions of rail project

PETALING JAYA: The RM6bil Ipoh-Rawang rail track, which was completed in 2007, is set to see its maiden electric train service to Kuala Lumpur soon.

However, critics have warned against any delay in kicking off operations along the rest of the electrified rail artery in Peninsular Malaysia once construction is completed by the end of 2013.
They said electric train sets (ETS) should be ready for deployment once the Ipoh-Padang Besar stretch is completed by 2013 and the link between Gemas and Johor Baru expected to be ready around the same time, so that billions of ringgit of infrastructure funded by taxpayers did not lay idle and under-utilised.

The embarrassing delay in the start of the new train services along the upgraded Ipoh-Seremban stretch was the result of improper planning but this should not occur again once the remaining double-tracking project in the peninsula is completed. A source said money for new ETS had been allocated under the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) and their construction would take about two years.“The lesson from that mistake has been learnt,” he said, referring to the late utilisation of the completed Ipoh-Seremban track. Given that it takes 24 months for the ETS to be built, orders would theoretically go out by the end of next year for the trains to be used on the electrified double tracks once built in three years.

Currently, the MMC Corp Bhd-Gamuda Bhd consortium is upgrading the 329km Ipoh-Padang Besar stretch for RM12.5bil. The RM3.45bil Seremban-Gemas electrified double-tracking project was awarded to Ircon International Ltd and is scheduled for completion in 2012.

The RM8bil Gemas-Johor Baru electrified double-tracking project has been slotted for award under the 10MP.

The understanding is that the project for the Gemas-Johor Baru route, which could be awarded soon, would be completed by 2013. The value of the ETS order should be large, considering that many train sets would be needed to ply along the spine of the peninsula once all three components of the electrified double-tracking project are completed.

Reports indicated that KTM Bhd (KTMB) is set to launch a rail service using ETS soon which would cut the current travel time from Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur to two hours. That service, which is now due to start 2½ years after the electrified tracks were completed, would be extended to Seremban. KTMB was reported to have ordered five six-car ETS for RM250mil in 2007 to service the 300km route between Ipoh and Seremban. The travel time would be reduced by an hour and the ETS can carry 350 passengers, which is 100 more than the current trains do.

KTMB could not be reached for comment.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

SPNB to call for LRT project tenders by June

STATE-owned public transport operator Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd (SPNB) will call for tenders for Package A of the light rail transit (LRT) line extension in the Klang Valley by end of this month and award the contracts in November.

Package A includes contracts for main civil works for the Kelana Jaya line from the Kelana Jaya station to Summit USJ (9.2km) and for the Ampang line from the Sri Petaling station to Kinrara (7.4km). It also includes sub-contracts for facility works for the supply of segmental box girders for both the lines, SPNB group managing director Datuk Idrose Mohamed said.

Following that, SPNB will call for tenders for 24 sub-contract works to build stations and park & ride facilities for each line.

"We will award the contracts to the most competitive bidders. We have pre-qualified 15 contractors for the main line and 17 sub-contractors for the facilities work," he told a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday."For the remaining sub-contract works, it will be opened to Class A contractors," Idrose added.

It is learnt that the contracts under Package A are worth some RM3 billion. Idrose declined to comment.The whole LRT extension project is estimated to cost about RM9 billion.Companies like Sunway Construction, IJM Construction, Muhibbah Engineering, MRCB Engineering, Gamuda, Ahmad Zaki, Loh & Loh Construction, MTDC-Persys, Mudajaya Corp Bhd, MMC-Zelan, WCT-Sinohydro, Ranhill-CCCC, UEM Builders-Intria Bina, Zabima-Leighton, Trans Resources Corp and Fajarbaru Builder-Signatium Construction are expected to bid for the main lines.

SPNB had earlier launched a RM4 billion bond programme to finance the initial stages of the project, of which RM2 billion has been drawn down, Idrose said.It has so far awarded sub-contracts worth RM88 million to relocate telecommunications and TNB low voltage (underground) cables.

Idrose said it may launch a second bond programme for Package B, or look for other sources of funding.Contracts for the system work under Package A will be called later when the whole alignment for the Ampang and Kelana Jaya LRT lines, which cover a total of 17.7km and 17km respectively, are approved, Idrose said.

SPNB now has sectional approval of the final railway scheme from the Department of Railways, covering a distance of 12km from the Kelana Jaya station to USJ Subang, while the approval for the Ampang line covers a distance of 15.2km from the Sri Petaling station to Taman Puchong Prima.On talks that the LRT lines may be extended to Kota Damansara, Sungai Buloh and Cheras, Idrose said SPNB has a plan for it and will be ready when there is approval from the government.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Prince Court CEO resigns

The chief executive officer of internationally accredited private healthcare facility Prince Court Medical Centre (PCMC), Stuart Rowley, has tendered his resignation, sources say.

Rowley was one of three key management staff of the hospital that was asked to go on leave on June 22 2010, pending an outcome of an audit review.

It is understood that the audit findings are currently being reviewed.

The other two key personnel told to go on leave are the chief medical officer (CMO) and the legal adviser. It is not known if the CMO and legal adviser have resigned.

In a press statement to Business Times last week, PCMC had said that the three were requested to take leave in the interest of objectivity and to enable the audit to be concluded satisfactorily.

PCMC is owned by Petronas Hartabina Sdn Bhd, a unit of state-owned oil company Petroliam National Bhd (Petronas), and managed by Vamed Healthcare Services Sdn Bhd and its partner, the Medical University of Vienna International Hospital Operations GmbH.

Business Times was unable to confirm if Rowley, who is also listed as a director of Petronas Hartabina since 2005, has resigned from this post.

The hospital has assured that changes have not affected the day-to-day operation or the level of patient care, and interim personnel had taken over relevant functions.

Vamed Healthcare Services managing director Stuart Pack is said to have stepped in to take over some responsibilities and will stay on until the audit is completed.

Pack could not be reached to confirm the developments as he was in a meeting. It is understood that the management has briefed the hospital's staff about Rowley's resignation.

Rowley could not be reached for comment.

PCMC had been a subject of much discussion since its opening in late 2007 over the lavish amount spent to build and equip it.

While the official price tag for the 300-bed hospital is reported as RM544 million, many say that the price has crossed the RM1 billion mark, including for the leasehold land (for current and future development) and equipment.

In a 2008 interview, Rowley said he expected the hospital to be operationally profitable by the end of the second year and will achieve net profit in eight years.

Last year, it was reported that the hospital, which focuses on health tourism, was looking to achieve sales of RM120 million in the financial year ended March 31 2010.

In 2009, the hospital posted a loss before tax of RM203.25 million on the back of RM24.12 million revenue.

(Blogger's comment: A medical college which went for listing recently makes more than RM100 million per annum. Better turn Prince Court to a teaching hospital)

About Me

A seeker of success (whatever that means) treading on a path, searching, to return to the wholesomeness that was him when he was launched into this big school called Earth.