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YTL Land Bhd: Land of Opportunity

   
Malaysian Business, April 16th-30th 2002
Stories by Joanna Sze

YTL Land, though relatively small in turnover, shows encouraging potential.

YTL Land Bhd seems to be the uncut gem in the YTL Group. At present, it contributes only six per cent to YTL Corporations Bhd's earnings. But its landbank of prime property in the vicinity of Kuala Lumpur city puts it in good stead to be a major income-generator for the group.

'Property development will be an exciting segment in the group,' YTL's deputy managing director Datuk Yeoh Seok Kian was recently quoted as saying. 'Earnings from the property segment will do well.' He expects earnings to come from the strong demand for residential properties, driven by ample liquidity in the financial system.

YTL Land is best known for its Pantai Hillpark project, first launched seven years ago, which elevated the Pantai Dalam area's social landscape. It recently launched its latest phases – the 220-unit Spanish-styled Pantai Hillpark Andalucia – in March 2002 to 'overwhelming' response.

Another area of growth for the company is its Sentul Raya development project, which it assumed after taking over debt-laden Taiping Consolidated Bhd in 1999. (YTL Land assumed Taiping's listing status.) The RM1.6 billion, 10-year project is a joint venture with Malayan Railway and is expected to be a major boost to the group's future earnings.

Not everyone is enthusiastic about it, however. 'While the Pantai Hillpark was in a well-developed location, the accessibility of Sentul Raya is still a concern,' says an analyst at a local stockbroking company. 'I'm not particularly thrilled about it.

Buyers of the project are also miffed that they will not be getting the golf course promised by the previous developer, as YTL Land intends to convert the land into a private park. While a legal suit may be filed, observers note that since the project was a rescue, things may swing in favour of the company.

As industry observers have noted, the Sentul Raya landbank may well 'prove to be a gold mine over time'.

YTL Corp now owns 79.98 per cent in YTL Land. It has until June 30 to meet the minimum 25 per cent public shareholding spread. YTL Land's shares traded at RM1.89 on a historical PE of 36.3x on April 8, 2002. But it should see some excitement until the public shareholding spread requirement is fulfilled.




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