Fo­cus on af­ford­able homes

> Pro­tasco to con­cen­trate on build­ing units priced at RM300,000-RM350,000

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ - BY EVA YEONG

KAJANG: Pro­tasco Bhd, whose prop­erty di­vi­sion has been hit by soft mar­ket con­di­tions, will fo­cus on build­ing af­ford­able homes in the next two to three years, said group manag­ing direc­tor Datuk Seri Chong Ket Pen ( pix).

“In or­der to buck the mar­ket trend, we have to con­cen­trate more on af­ford­able hous­ing. In fact, from the re­cent Bud­get, that is also in line for us to sup­port gov­ern­ment pol­icy, to build more af­ford­able hous­ing. That is the trend to go, at least for the next two to three years, as af­ford­able hous­ing de­mand is still there,” he told re­porters af­ter Pro­tasco’s EGM yes­ter­day.

Chong said it will fo­cus on build­ing smaller units priced at RM300,000 to RM350,000. Its next launch, slated for the sec­ond quar­ter of 2017, will of­fer units of 500 to 600 sq ft each.

Lo­cated within its De Cen­trum City project in Kajang, the af­ford­able units will be de­vel­oped in two phases of four acres each, with gross devel­op­ment value (GDV) of up to RM700 mil­lion.

Chong said plans for the af­ford­able units are al­most fi­nalised and Prostasco has re­ceived many en­quiries.

Next year, the group will also launch a RM150 mil­lion project in Ke­lan­tan. The project, which was an­nounced last year, is a joint ven­ture with the Ke­lan­tan gov­ern­ment and will take up 4.5 acres.

Chong said it has ob­tained al­most all ap­provals and con­struc­tion will be­gin lat­est by the sec­ond quar­ter next year. The take-up rate for the project is at 60-70%.

How­ever, the con­struc­tion of its villa and apart­ment project named Rim­bawan has been de­layed. Also lo­cated within De Cen­trum City, the units are priced be­tween RM800,000 and RM1.5 mil­lion each.

“We were sup­posed to launch in June this year but we scaled back. Looks like we need to scale back at least six months to one year. We will still carry on with the project but we will only start build­ing when book­ings touch 40%. Now it is at 20-30%,” said Chong.

Due to the de­lay in the RM350 mil­lion Rim­bawan project, he said, its un­billed sales are at RM30 mil­lion, although it is due to im­prove when it launches the af­ford­able units next year.

Chong said Pro­tasco has 130 free­hold land in Jo­hor, Sabah and the Klang Val­ley. It plans to de­velop shoplots in Jo­hor and is study­ing the mar­ket in Sabah. Of the 100 acres at De Cen­trum City, 40% has been de­vel­oped and the rest will take 1520 years acres of to com­plete. “We are on the look­out for more land. We are con­tem­plat­ing venturing into mass hous­ing, so we are look­ing out­side the Klang Val­ley. We are look­ing at a few of­fers now,” Chong said. He added that Pro­tasco is in “in­tense dis­cus­sions” for land ac­qui­si­tion and hopes to an­nounce a deal next year. The group is eye­ing large land­banks of 100-150 acres that are suit­able for town­ship projects. Mean­while, Pro­tasco’s con­struc­tion di­vi­sion is “sus­tain­able” with an or­der book of RM1 bil­lion and a ten­der book of RM3 bil­lion. Chong said it re­plen­ished its or­der book by RM500 mil­lion this year and is con­fi­dent of main­tain­ing the re­plen­ish­ment rate ev­ery year. Yes­ter­day, share­hold­ers ap­proved a one-for-four bonus is­sue that will raise Pro­tasco’s paid-up cap­i­tal to be­tween RM212.18 mil­lion and RM212.41 mil­lion. The bonus shares are ex­pected to be is­sued and listed by the end of this month.

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