• 19 Feb 2019 11:57 AM | Kiff Arifin (Administrator)

    MCLEAN, VA—DoubleTree by Hilton is set to expand its footprint around the world, with nearly half of its 200 planned hotels located in the Asia Pacific region. Fourteen new DoubleTree by Hilton properties are slated to open this year across China, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand, adding to the close to 560 existing DoubleTree by Hilton properties currently in its global portfolio that spans across 45 countries.

    To accommodate the region’s thriving economic centers and growing tourism industries, DoubleTree by Hilton looks to provide an upscale solution to those in or traveling to the region.

    “As DoubleTree by Hilton celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019, we are eager to continue providing guests in the Asia Pacific region and around the world with our outstanding DoubleTree hospitality,” said Shawn McAteer, SVP and global head, DoubleTree by Hilton. “By opening hotels such as DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila Rajawarna Resort, our first property in Sri Lanka, our brand continues to maintain its commitment to innovation and the gold standard for hospitality for guests around the world.”

    From exploring the vibrant cultural hub of Perth, Australia at DoubleTree by Hilton Perth – Northbridge, to experiencing the eclectic metropolis of Surabaya, Indonesia at DoubleTree by Hilton Surabaya, each DoubleTree property will provide both leisure and business travelers access to key cultural and business centers across the Asia Pacific.

    “Hilton is leading the hotel construction pipeline in China, with DoubleTree by Hilton being our second fastest-growing brand in the region with more than 100 planned projects and an aggregate of close to 27,000 rooms,” said Sean Wooden, VP of brand management, Asia Pacific, Hilton. “While we reached a tremendous milestone of 50 DoubleTree by Hilton properties in Asia Pacific in 2018, we look forward to continuing our upward trajectory of growth with 14 DoubleTree by Hilton properties opening this year. These properties further our mission to be the most hospitable company in the world as we demonstrate our commitment by being where our guests want to travel across the region.”

    The brand’s global growth continues with the expansion of DoubleTree by Hilton across the Asia Pacific, opening the following hotels in 2019:


    DoubleTree by Hilton Perth – Northbridge: Launched in the heart of Perth in January 2019, this hotel is the first DoubleTree by Hilton in Western Australia and the first new-build DoubleTree by Hilton property in the country.


    DoubleTree by Hilton Shanwei: The seafront hotel is the first Hilton and only international hotel in Shanwei.

    DoubleTree by Hilton Yangzhou: The property will offer views of the Yangzhou skyline from stylish guestrooms, provide close access to local shopping and offer an array of on-property dining outlets.

    DoubleTree by Hilton Suzhou Wujiang: Overlooking the Jinghang Canal, this newly-constructed hotel will open as the only international hotel in Suzhou Wujiang’s business development zone.

    DoubleTree by Hilton Foshan – Nanhai: Located in central Nanhai District, the hotel will have a modern interior design, special art lighting systems and host the largest ballroom in its market.

    DoubleTree by Hilton Quzhou: The hotel will debut as the first Hilton-branded property in Quzhou located within the administration center and new Central Business District of the city.

    DoubleTree by Hilton Shenzhen Nanshan Residence: Located near Qianhai Free Trade Zone and High Tech Park, the property will be the very first DoubleTree by Hilton Residence in China.

    DoubleTree by Hilton Shanghai Jing An: The hotel is located in downtown Shanghai, which sees a strong and mature demand for both business and leisure hotel accommodation.


    DoubleTree by Hilton Surabaya: Located in Surabaya’s city center on historic Jalan Tunjungan Road, the property will have the city’s largest ballroom, a large exhibition floor, 16 meeting rooms and a 360-degree rooftop meeting room.


    DoubleTree by Hilton Putrajaya Lakeside: A conversion hotel, it will be Hilton’s first hotel in Putrajaya, Malaysia’s administrative capital, when it opens.

    New Zealand

    DoubleTree by Hilton Napier Hotel & Suites: Situated in the coastal city of Napier, the property will offer a modern Art Deco-inspired aesthetic.

    Sri Lanka

    DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila Rajawarna Resort: As the first Hilton property in Weerawila, this contemporary resort will be near three of the top 10 most visited Wildlife National Park and Sanctuaries in the Sri Lanka.


    DoubleTree by Hilton Phuket Banthai Resort: Located in the heart of Patong, it is directly opposite the white sandy beach and turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea.

    DoubleTree by Hilton Bangkok Ploenchit: Conveniently located in the heart of vibrant Bangkok, this hotel has views over the city from its 251 guestrooms, including four suites.

    Source: Hotel Business

  • 18 Feb 2019 2:39 PM | Kiff Arifin (Administrator)

    PETALING JAYA: Australian-listed Lendlease, which is participating in a RM9bil mixed integrated development at the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) project in Kuala Lumpur, is in talks with several developers to jointly develop other large-scale projects in the country.

    Lendlease Malaysia chairman Dinesh Nambiar said with financing for the TRX project now secured, the group could focus on other developments.

    “We’ve had a number of approaches from developers with sites which we are evaluating,” he said at a recent precinct launch and development financing signing ceremony.

    “The plan is for Lendlease to secure new projects which will be of scale and continue to grow the business in Malaysia.”

    Last Tuesday, joint-venture (JV) partners Lendlease and TRX City Sdn Bhd (TRXC) secured a RM2.15bil financing facility for The Exchange TRX.

    The financing facility was secured from the consortium of HSBC, Maybank, Standard Chartered and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. The Exchange TRX is a mixed integrated development and is a 60:40 JV between Lendlease and TRXC.

    The 17-acre development comprises residential, office, entertainment and leisure, a public park, hotel and retail components.

    Dinesh said Lendlease was attracted to the prime location of the development.

    “Lendlease has been investing in Malaysia since 2009. TRX, with its location, has been a terrific site for us to acquire and develop.

    “Now that we have secured financing and work is underway, we’re exploring other opportunities,” he said.

    Lendlease’s previous projects in Malaysia include Petronas Twin Towers, Platinum Park development and Bank Negara’s Sasana Kijang and Lanai Kijang buildings in Kuala Lumpur; Alamanda Shopping Centre in Putrajaya; Setia City Mall in Shah Alam; and Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios in Johor.

    Lendlease Asia chief executive officer Tony Lombardo said the group saw good growth opportunities in Malaysia.

    “This (TRX) is a project that Lendlease has been focusing on since 2013. We’ve had a strong interest in Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur is one of the key cities that we want to grow our platform. Our investment in TRX is one of the largest on our group’s balance sheet today.

    “We’re investing RM2.1bil over the project’s life and it’s great to have the backing of the banks. The government, meanwhile, is committing RM1.2bil.

    “We were attracted to it because of the connectivity. The infrastructure that’s gone in were some of the critical things, but the defining thing for us is the 10-acre park,” he said.

    Lombardo is optimistic that the retail component of The Exchange TRX will do well in spite of the current retail market glut.

    “When you look at Malaysia, there are some malls that are struggling. But retail’s changing. People come for the experience and our mall will offer the latest generation in products.”

    According to the Malaysian Shopping Malls Association’s (PPK Malaysia) recent Malaysia Shopping Mall Industry Survey 2018, there are currently 671 malls with a net lettable area ranging from a minimum of 50,000 sq ft to 2.2 million sq ft.

    The survey, which comprised 47 respondent malls, revealed that the average occupancy rate stood at 92%, with an average monthly gross rental rate of RM7.87 per sq ft.

    Retail Group Malaysia in its recent report said it expected a 4.5% growth in retail sales for 2019.

    The Exchange TRX’s retail component will be completed in 2021.

    TRXC is the master developer of TRX. Because TRXC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Finance Ministry, this means the government owns 40% of The Exchange TRX.

    The TRX project has come under heavy scrutiny due to its association with scandal-ridden 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

    Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the willingness of the four financial institutions to provide financing facilities for the project demonstrated how far TRX had progressed since the new government came into power.

    “We are slowly, but surely, exorcising the ghosts of 1MDB, which has tainted Malaysia and allowed us, once again, to be touted as the destination for both business and investment,” he said.

    When the Pakatan Harapan government came into power in May last year, among the ongoing mega projects that came under scrutiny was the TRX. Not only was it linked to 1MDB, the ongoing property glut also raised concerns on whether the development was even viable.

    Given how the project was already quite advanced in its development stage and a lot of money had already been pumped in, the government chose not to scrap it.

    To date, seven plots of land in TRX totalling RM2.88bil have been sold. 1MDB acquired the TRX land from the federal government for RM302.38mil in 2010.

    With an estimated gross development value of RM40bil, the TRX development will have about 30 buildings located on 70 acres of prime land in Kuala Lumpur.

    The entire TRX project is slated for completion by 2024.

    Source: The Star

  • 12 Feb 2019 11:24 AM | Kiff Arifin (Administrator)

    KUALA LUMPUR: Australian-listed Lendlease and TRX City Sdn Bhd (TRXC), which are co-developing the Lifestyle Quarter development at the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), have secured a RM2.15bil financing facility for a period of five years.

    The financing facility was secured from the consortium of HSBC, Maybank, Standard Chartered and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

    At a financing facility signing ceremony today, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said that the arrangement between the joint venture parties and the bank is a unique financing structure for such a complicated asset.

    The Lifestyle Quarter is a mixed integrated development and is a 60:40 joint venture between Lendlease and TRXC.

    The 17-acre development comprises residential, entertainment, leisure, public park, hotel and retail components.

    The Lifestyle Quarter is expected to be completed in 2020/2021.

    TRXC is the master developer of TRX.

    Because TRXC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Finance Ministry, this means the government owns 40% of The Lifestyle Quarter.

    With an estimated gross development value of RM40bil, the TRX development will have about 30 buildings located on 70 acres of prime land in Kuala Lumpur.

    The entire TRX project is slated for completion by 2024.

    Source: The Star

  • 06 Feb 2019 10:58 AM | Kiff Arifin (Administrator)

    KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia, with a score of 95 out of 100, ranked first in the Best Healthcare in the World category of the 2019 International Living Annual Global Retirement Index.

    According to the International Living website (, among the top six countries that obtained the best ratings in the category of Best Healthcare in the World for this year, Malaysia ranked first with its world-class healthcare services and sophisticated infrastructure.

    It said that 13 hospitals in the country were accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI).

    Almost all doctors — the majority of them trained in the United Kingdom, the United States or Australia — were fluent in English, making communication easy.

    “There are both private and public hospitals for expatriates to choose from to suit one’s needs.

    “The private hospitals tend to be a bit more expensive but are more up to Western standards than the public hospitals.”

    But it said even at the private hospitals, the treatment was affordable for minor visits.

    “In Malaysia, you don’t need to make an appointment to see a specialist and you don’t need a referral from a general practitioner. It’s as simple as registering at a hospital of your choice and waiting in line to see your specialist of choice,” it said.

    “The prescriptions in Malaysia cost a fraction of what you pay at home. But it’s not just the cost that is attractive – it’s the service.

    “Pharmacists, similar to other medical staff in Malaysia, are well-trained and informed.

    “The Malaysians are friendly people, but it’s the genuine interest they take which impresses,” it said.

    Source: Free Malaysia Today

  • 01 Feb 2019 10:26 AM | Kiff Arifin (Administrator)

    by Vincent Fong January 30, 2019

    Recently I had the pleasure of joining the ASEAN Tech Challenge which was organised by The Australian Trade and Investment Commission and the New South Wales Government.

    Held in Sydney the ASEAN Tech Challenge is a platform for Australian startups and scaleups to pitch solutions to ASEAN investors like Red Beat Ventures (Air Asia) , Kickstart Ventures (Ayala Corporation) and Petronas Venture Capital.

    While I was there, I took the opportunity to spend the week meeting some of the local players to get a sense of the fintech ecosystem in Australia.

    Touring the Sydney Startup Hub

    My first stop was the Sydney Startup Hub, spanning over 17,000 square feet and 11 floors — it’s strategically located in the heart of Sydney’s commercial business district.

    The Sydney Startup Hub is a NSW Government initiative led by Jobs for NSW, a NSW Government-backed agency established in August 2016 to support the growth of new jobs across this state.

    I learnt that the NSW Government will invest $35 million into Sydney Startup Hub over the next five years, which I found really interesting. While there are a number of global peers with startup hubs of a similar nature, none have government investment.

    The ground floor of the hub features an open layout with a cafe as its centerpiece. The space is open to public, anyone can pop-in and use the Wi-Fi for free.

    One could immediately sense the energy in the space once you walk in. When i was there several days of the week to meet-up with local players, the space was always filled with people hot-desking for several hours and having their meetings there.

    When we caught up with Joshua Flannery, Director, Sydney Startup Hub, he shared since its launch in February 2018, the Sydney Startup Hub initiative have since created over 980 jobs and raised over $AUD 80 Million.

    Interestingly, the Sydney Startup Hub consists several anchor residents that ranges from early stage incubators to corporate accelerators each with its own dedicated floor.

    The incubators include Stone & Chalk, Fishburners, Tank Stream Labs and The Studio. Whereas the corporate and government residents include some big names like Microsoft’s ScaleUp accelerator program, Caltex’s C-lab, Transport for NSW’s Future Transport Digital Accelerator and the Department of Finance.

    Joshua also explained that cost pressures brought by rapidly rising real estate prices has made it increasingly difficult for these incubators to support the startups, which will inevitably lead to the costs being passed to the startups. A scenario as such, would make it prohibitive for early stage startups to be part of the ecosystem.

    The hub provides subsidised rates for the incubators which in turn enables them to continue running programmes to boost the startup ecosystem.

    Beyond just economics, hosting these accelerators and incubators together is certainly a strategic move, as it helps to weave communities from various stages and verticals to mingle with each other to learn, grow and collaborate together.

    The hub could also provide benefits to Malaysian fintech companies eyeing the Australian market. David Albaiceta, who works for the NSW Government based in Kuala Lumpur as Director Trade and Investment, accompanied me during my visit to the Sydney Startup Hub.

    David mentioned that back in Kuala Lumpur local Malaysian fintechs had already expressed an interest in the Australian market and were looking at the Sydney Startup Hub as a potential landing pad.

    At the same time, I also realized that some of the Australian startups based at the Sydney Hub were also very interested on what the Malaysian and other ASEAN markets could offer. I could sense some synergies in both ways.

    Out of the 9 residents, two of them have a fintech skew to it namely; Stone & Chalk a well-known Australian fintech hub and Tank Stream Labs who won the best Best Co-working Space in Australia at the inaugural Fintech Awards.

    Being a fintech geek, I wouldn’t be doing myself a favour if I didn’t take a chance to tour the two spaces.

    Tank Stream Labs

    Started in 2012, Tank Stream Labs primarily works with growth stage startups and scale-ups. It is currently home to 150 tech companies, of which 30% are fintech startups.

    Yaron Rudman, COO Tank Stream Labs told Fintech News Malaysia that the dominant make up of fintech companies at its space is more of a reflection of Sydney’s startup landscape than it is a conscious effort from Tank Stream Labs.

    The space also features areas where residents can organically interact which includes a swanky coffee machine, a pool table as you would expect from a co-working space.

    Yaron told Fintech News Malaysia that despite having organised multiple events to have people interact with each other, sometimes the best ideas come from organic interactions that happen while waiting for their coffee or over a relaxing game of pool.

    Stone & Chalk

    My next stop was Stone & Chalk, who some have described as both the largest fintech hub and centre of gravity for fintech in Australia. Based in several locations, its Sydney Startup Hub arm is home 109 startups with over AUD$218 Million Raised, 26 large corporates.

    Beyond just being a space where fintech founders to plug in the laptops and work, Stone & Chalk also functions as conduit for their corporate partners to work with innovative fintech startups. The large corporate partners feature familiar names like KPMG, AIG, Australia Stock Exchange, and HSBC.

    Some of notable graduates include promising companies like Brighte, a fintech firm focuses on giving Australians access to sustainable removing the upfront cost of owning solar panels for end consumers.

    Another alumni that is worth mentioning is AgriDigital, which is a blockchain powered platform that is designed to manage supply chain from the farmers all the way to the consumers. To date it has transacted over $AUD 255 Million in value.

    Lessons For Malaysia ?

    There’s no shortage of co-working spaces in Malaysia, ranging from broadly focused to vertical specific ones. Names like WORQ, Common Ground, NEM Blockchain Center, Orbit and ADAX (ASEAN Data Analytics eXchange) are familiar names to those who are in the startup scene.

    Malaysian founders are spoiled for choice when it comes to co-working spaces and incubators, however much of these exists within their own vacuum. Fintech does not exist in isolation neither should it community, an initiative as such could help various startup communities to stop existing in isolation.

    Cross-pollination of these community can help founders better understand how their solution can fit outside of their own current market and could perhaps even spark brilliant ideas that weren’t previously thought of.

    There are already a few areas in which a concentration of co-working/incubator spaces exists, in Bangsar South there Orbit and ADAX which are both initiatives by MDEC, with the former being fintech focused and the latter data focused.

    Whereas Glo Damansara is home to both NEM Blockchain Centre and WORQ. There’s also plenty of unrented retail spaces in that mall which I’m sure if there’s a large enough scale, a substantial discount can be negotiated.

    Perhaps if the Startup and VC Commission previously mulled by Minister Gobind comes to fruition this could be one of the first initiatives to be considered?

    Source: Fintech Malaysia

  • 15 Jan 2019 1:57 PM | Raymond Philip (Administrator)

    KUALA LUMPUR: With the sluggish property market in Malaysia, it is not surprising to see local property players expanding their presence to other countries, notably Australia and the UK.

    But stepping into another country means being exposed to foreign exchange (forex) risk. Revenues and expenses in that country are not denominated in ringgit and as such are subject to currency fluctuations. Thus, any weakening of that country’s currency could result in a lower revenue upon conversion into ringgit.

    This is the situation now for Malaysian developers in Australia in the wake of the dropping Australian dollar. Another cause for concern is the slower property market Down Under.

    Among Malaysian listed property developers undertaking projects in Australia, Mulpha International Bhd stands out when it comes to revenue contribution from that country. Some RM1.15 billion, or a whopping 97.92% of its total revenue, came from its Australian projects in 2017, according to the company’s annual report for that year.

    Another property player, UEM Sunrise Bhd, saw RM963.89 million, or 33.2% of its total revenue contribution, come from Australia in 2017, according to its annual report.

    But, as noted by AmInvestment Bank analyst Thong Pak Leng in a report last Thursday, UEM Sunrise had said there were no defaults on its Melbourne apartment projects Aurora and Conservatory, and it was on track to settle the units which had been handed over.

    “Aurora is fully sold while Conservatory had a take-up rate of 96% as at end-December 2018,” said Thong.

    As for other property developers such as S P Setia Bhd, Gamuda Bhd and Sime Darby Property Bhd, their Australian contributions are relatively minimal.

    Kenanga Investment head of equity research Sarah Lim said that with the weakening Australian dollar, Malaysians could probably also consider buying properties there. This, she said, will boost the sales of Malaysian companies with projects in Australia, enabling them to clear their unsold units faster.

    “The weakened Aussie dollar may actually encourage more people to buy [properties in Australia],” Lim told The Edge Financial Daily. “But for those who [have] already [booked properties there], the question is whether they are going to complete the sale.”

    She explained that in Australia, buyers can pull out from a sale, adding that they would only do so if their total ringgit investment value has dropped by more than their initial deposit. They would not react badly to “short-term foreign exchange hiccups”.

    From the developers’ standpoint, Lim said they are not as forex-sensitive in general because the completion of the project has a longer gestation period, resulting in the forex impact to be averaged out during the period.

    “This could affect their cost, but this could average out year-on-year, because it takes about a minimum three to four years to complete one project,” said Lim, adding that the cost impact is difficult to see from a forex point of view and could only be seen when the project is completed.

    “The cost impact on the forex is very hard to determine because you don’t know when the developers have brought in or taken out the money,” said Lim.

    Furthermore, she noted that property developers are allowed to leave their money or earnings from their completed projects there to be deployed for their future investments, which means making them less sensitive to the volatility of the currency.

    Affin Hwang Capital Research senior associate director Loong Chee Wei concurred, saying the weakening Australian dollar would not be much of a concern to property developers. He said the developers will focus on selling the remaining unsold units.

    “They will be less aggressive in terms of launching new projects at this stage and will be focusing more on clearing the unsold inventory,” said Loong.

    Nonetheless, he said the weaker Australian currency means that when earnings are translated into ringgit, they will be lower.

    The more important impact, he said, would be if the developers could still sell the units or if the project itself is making good profits in Australian dollar. The completion of sales will be affected by the slower property market there as well as weaker selling prices, he added.

    Opportunity to increase land bank?

    The depreciating Australian dollar could also offer property developers the opportunity to increase their land bank down under.

    Kenanga’s Lim stressed, however, that forex is not the “main decider” for developers to build on their land bank in Australia.

    She noted that while Australia is seeing a slowdown in the property market, and in the Melbourne central business district, high-rise condominiums are mushrooming.

    “So if they want to increase their land bank, the question is can they launch fast enough,” she said.

    Additionally, she noted that developers, in general, do not store a lot of Australian land bank, and are “quite prudent” when it comes to land-banking there.

    While buying land Down Under could be cheaper for property developers currently, Affin Hwang’s Loong said the developers will still be cautious about buying new land for development as cash flow is still a challenge.

    He explained that the developers will complete the sale of their unsold units before looking for new land bank, unless their financial position is very strong. He added that most developers will reinvest their earnings collected from the completed projects.

    “At this point, unless the property developers are doing really well in Malaysia — a lot of them are stuck with inventories here — wanting to put in new money in Australia is a challenge,” said Loong.

    “Or if land prices drop so much, then it’s very opportunistic to buy it, and [provided that] the developers have a very strong balance sheet, which at this point, I don’t see many,” he added.

    Likewise, RHB Research Institute Sdn Bhd senior analyst Loong Kok Wen said developers have to be really careful as the property market in Australia has slowed down and the Australian government has tightened rules for foreign property buyers, especially in restricting the mainland Chinese buyers.

    “It is not easy just because the Aussie dollar is cheaper now. Property developers have to be careful given that there is a slowdown in the region,” she said.

    The source: The Edge Markets

  • 15 Jan 2019 1:51 PM | Raymond Philip (Administrator)

    MONASH University, Australia’s largest university, launched their Global Immersion Guarantee (GIG) programme in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 9, as it welcomed the inaugural cohort of GIG students to Malaysia.

    The GIG programme is a Monash University, Faculty of Arts initiative that offers a guaranteed, funded overseas placement for every Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Global Studies student.

    The GIG programme will play a valuable role within Monash University’s broader engagement in Malaysia and the South-East Asia region. The initiative reaffirms Monash University’s commitment to ensuring that students graduate with a deep appreciation for Malaysia, its culture, dynamic business and innovation sector.

    Monash University along with its partners aspires to mobilise a generation that is globally-focused, culturally conscious, creative, bold, and has the ability to work collaboratively for the advancement of Malaysia and Australia.

    As part of the GIG programme, between November and February every year, students travel to one of four countries, including Malaysia, India, Indonesia, and Italy, for a two-week experience. When in Kuala Lumpur, students will engage with local leaders, businesses, NGOs, community and youth groups about innovative and sustainable solutions to address human impact on the environment.

    In his welcoming speech, Australian High Commissioner Andrew Goledzinowski said he hoped the students would be excited to be part of the GIG programme in Malaysia.

    “You came to Malaysia at a very important time. It is the most interesting time in Malaysian history as there was a historic change in the government,” said Goledzinowski.

    “Although, we are different countries, we have some extraordinary parallels. We are both Commonwealth countries, we are multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and we are both an open trading society,” he said.

    During the two weeks stint, the students will explore a number of sustainability challenges that are confronting contemporary Malaysia. They will also learn about Penang’s heritage sustainability challenges.

    Monash Malaysia’s president and Pro Vice-Chancellor Prof Andrew Walker, who spoke to theSun, said sustainability is a challenge all over the world.

    He said the students made a trip to Carey Island, earlier that day, to look at sustainability from the perspective of the Mah Meri Orang Asli community.

    “What we are interested in is how Malaysians preserve and protect nature in a very busy city like Kuala Lumpur,” he said, adding that the students would be exploring parks in Kuala Lumpur.

    He said this would be the first time some of the students have travelled to Asia, adding that the programme would give them a real advantage in learning about new issues and perspectives.

    Souce: The Sun Daily

  • 17 Dec 2018 2:58 PM | Raymond Philip (Administrator)

    KUALA LUMPUR: The Eco World group is targeting to achieve RM12bil worth of sales for its Malaysian and international operations over financial years 2019 and 2020.

    For its financial year ended Oct 31, 2018 (FY18), local and international sales exceeded RM6bil.

    Eco World Development Group Bhd (Eco World Malaysia) chairman Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, the man behind the group, was in his element at the group’s FY18 results briefing. “Finally, we are making money in London. It has been a tough year (2018) but it has been a good year for us. We expect 2019 to be equally tough,” said Liew.

    Moving away from year-to-year projections as is normally the case, Liew said he was stepping out of the ordinary to project collective sales over a combined two-year period for both Eco World Malaysia and Eco World International Bhd because of Brexit, the stamp duty issue in Australia and the current local climate.

    “But we can do RM12bil through both companies over a two-year period,” he said, adding that he would like a 50:50 split bearing in mind that Britain’s built-to-rent (BtR) market would be Eco World International’s key growth driver.

    Liew said the BtR market is a trillion-dollar business in the United States, but a million-dollar business in Britain.

    “We want to help turn it into a billion-dollar business.”

    Eco World International turned profitable in FY18 with RM35.5mil in profit after tax versus a loss of RM87.5mil a year ago.

    It recorded total sales of RM3.3bil in FY18, above its set target of RM3bil and over 60% higher than the RM2bil achieved in FY17.

    Eco World International’s share of unbilled sales to be carried forward to FY19 reached a record high of RM6.62bil. Although it has projects in Australia, Liew said the high points achieved by the company were due to Britain, where it is involved in open market sales for its three projects in London City Island, The Wardian and Embassy Gardens. However, it is the BtR segment that he is thrilled about.

    Eco World International president/CEO Datuk Teow Leong Seng said: “Our decision to enter the extremely resilient Britain mid-mainstream market with its fast-growing BtR subsector has proven correct. We are indeed humbled to have managed to win the confidence of Invesco Real Estate, a global property investment management firm, for the sale of more than 1,000 BtR homes to one of its international separate account clients recently.

    “At more than RM2bil in value, this sale is the largest BtR deal ever concluded in Britain – that it was achieved in less than six months after we completed our acquisition of 70% of the Willmott Dixon residential development business makes it especially notable,” Teow said.

    Eco World London – Eco World International’s 70% joint venture with Willmott Dixon – already has existing sites with the potential to deliver over 3,000 BtR units, which the group intends to realise over the next two to three years. It aims to build a total of 10,000 BtR units over the longer term.

    On the home front, Eco World Malaysia’s core profit after tax grew 46% from RM113.1mil in FY17 to RM165.6mil in FY18.

    Its share of results from joint-ventures increased by RM86.3mil, from a loss of RM30.9mil in FY17 to a profit of RM55.4mil in FY18.

    Despite cuts in marketing, overheads and administrative expenses, the company managed to achieve the same amount of sales, and this helped with the overall numbers.

    Total sales form Malaysian projects exceeded RM3.1bil in FY18, with more than RM2.2bil achieved in the second-half of 2018. Its share of unbilled sales to be carried forward to FY19 stands at RM6.44bil, a record high for Eco World Malaysia.

    Eco World Malaysia president/CEO Datuk Chang Khim Wah, said the company would be embarking on a new home ownership campaign in January 2019 called HOPE – Home Ownership Programme with Eco World.

    It incorporates two innovative solutions to help customers own their homes and is targeted at owner-occupiers aged 40 years and below in search of a lifestyle, landscaped environment with amenities and digitally connected.

    Source: The Star Malaysia

  • 06 Dec 2018 10:56 AM | Raymond Philip (Administrator)

    AVALON, Australia: AirAsia became the first airline to touch down at Melbourne’s newly opened international airport at Avalon on Wednesday (Dec 5) morning.

    It also marked the launch of the first international service by the low-cost carrier to and from Victoria’s second airport, located 40km southwest of Melbourne.

    With the start of flights to Avalon Airport, AirAsia will cease operating from the city's main airport at Tullamarine.

    AirAsia X Malaysia CEO Benyamin Ismail said the inaugural flight to Avalon sealed a 10-year deal between the airline and Melbourne’s Avalon Airport, built with an about RM150 million (US$36 million) investment by the airport operator and the Australian and Victorian governments near the City of Geelong.

    Operated by AirAsia’s long-haul affiliate, AirAsia X, Flight D7218 touched down at 8.20am local time with an 80 per cent load factor.

    “This purpose-built no-frills facility has today become one of the most important international hubs AirAsia flies to outside of Southeast Asia,” Benyamin said.

    He added the airline aims to fly 500,000 passengers annually via this route.

    "AirAsia will operate 28 flights per week between Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne Avalon. We aim to increase our load factor from 80 per cent (at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport) to 85 per cent via this new airport next year, " he said.

    According to Benyamin, the long-term deal provides lower operating costs for AirAsia, will increase passenger volumes, non-aeronautical revenue for Avalon Airport and ultimately an opportunity for millions of people to fly affordably.

    "AirAsia guests who fly to Melbourne Avalon will benefit from a range of ‘Avalon Advantages’ including cheaper parking, no Tullamarine freeway tolls, convenient access to Melbourne city centre via SkyBus, new airport infrastructure and a hassle-free arrival and departure process,” he added.

    He said the airline also plans to fly to Avalon from Bangkok and Bali in the near future.

    Also present at the launch were Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia Andrew Goledzinowski AM, Group CEO AirAsia X, Nadda Buranasiri, Executive Chairman Linfox Airports, David Fox and CEO Avalon Airport, Justin Giddings.

    To celebrate the inaugural flight, AirAsia has launched a Welcome to Melbourne Avalon Sale with promotional fares (until Dec 9) starting from RM499 each way between Melbourne Avalon/Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Lumpur/Melbourne Avalon for travel now through to May 2019.

    In Australia, AirAsia also operates services between Kuala Lumpur and Perth, Sydney and the Gold Coast.

    Source: Channel News Asia

  • 31 Oct 2018 4:32 PM | Kiff Arifin (Administrator)

    Australia has today ratified the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) trade agreement giving our farmers access to more markets, greater opportunities for our businesses, more jobs and increased investment.

    Australia is the sixth country to ratify the agreement, meaning it can now enter into force on 30 December this year. We join Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore as part of the first group to ratify.

    Our ratification means we are guaranteeing maximum benefits for our farmers and businesses, with the bonus of two tariff reductions within 3 days - one on 30 December and another on 1 January 2019.

    The TPP-11 is one of the most comprehensive and ambitious trade agreements in Australia’s recent history. It will help support Australian businesses to grow and see annual benefits of up to $15.6 billion to our national economy by 2030.

    Australian farmers and businesses will particularly benefit from new high-quality free trade agreements with Canada and Mexico, our first ever with these two of the world’s top 20 economies.

    For example, the Agreement will provide new access to the Canadian market for our grains, sugar and beef exporters. It will open up the growing Mexican market for our pork, wheat, sugar, barley and horticulture producers.

    Australian exporters of industrial products such as iron and steel, leather and paper products and medical equipment, who currently sell $19 billion worth of products to TPP-11 markets, will be able to grow their businesses without facing a tariff disadvantage.

    The TPP-11 also improves our market access into Japan for our beef, wheat, barley and dairy exporters beyond the bilateral Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement.

    It’s hard to believe Labor would have walked away when the US walked out on the TPP rather than staying and getting the best possible deal for our farmers and businesses.

    More concerning is that in recent weeks we’ve also seen Labor yield to union demanded policies on trade that will substantially weaken if not completely eliminate the capacity of any future Labor government to get better market access for our exporting farmers and businesses.

    Our Government’s record speaks for itself and only we can be trusted to deliver agreements that open new markets for Australian exporters, create certainty for Australian businesses, strengthen our economy and create more jobs.

    Source: Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

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