United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand) is exploring opportunities to acquire land in Iskandar Malaysia as part of its future plan, said Chief Executive Officer, Charlie Chia.
He said company was in the midst of talks to buy a piece of land, between 80.937 hectares to 121.406 hectares (ha), in the Iskandar region.
“We are looking for other opportunities and will announce them soon because currently we are still talking to the other parties,” he said on the sidelines of the ceremony to sign the memorandum of understanding by Johor Biotechnology and Biodiversity Corp (J-Biotech) recently.
To date, UMLand’s landbank stood at 809.37ha.
On the group’s future plan for the land, he said, it planned to use it for landed property, affordable houses and industrial park development.
“At the moment we will concentrate on our first pilot project, J-Biotech Park … we have no plans to have another one but when the time comes and the land is available, we will be moving towards that direction (industrial park development project).
“Industrial parks also have affordable houses because some people prefer to live nearby to their working area due to travelling time … therefore there will be the element of residential,” he said.
Chia said the market in Johor was more on landed properties and industrial park, while the demand for apartments has slowed down.
On industrial development’s contribution to the group, he said, J-Biotech Park project was expected to contribute 10 per cent to the group earnings.
“We will see positive contribution from this new segment as Johor will enjoy spillover effect as industrial park in Jurong, Singapore is running out of lease,” he said, adding that the necessity to cater to industrial park spillover from Singapore and factories shifted to Johor has triggered UMLand to venture into the segment.
He said the Singapore government was building a second Central Business District in Jurong so the industrial park located there needed to be relocated.
“Therefore we prepare ourselves to accept this influx or spillover and we can see this starting to happen,” he said.
On the capital allocation for the new segment, Chia said UMLand was still on the lookout for land acquisition and after that it would be ready to put a sizeable allocation for industrial development.