Published October 23, 2008

Sime Darby Prop to boost portfolio through selective purchases


SIME Darby Property Berhad (SDP), a unit of Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby, is looking to grow its portfolio in Singapore through selective buys.

'We are looking at all sectors (for acquisitions),' said Ang Lip Chor, general manager of the property division in Singapore. 'The property sector here still seems to be holding up. We are looking at things on a case-by-case basis.'

The company held a news conference for journalists from Singapore and Malaysia to update them on its portfolio in Singapore.

Right now, SDP has two sites in Singapore - a small site in Orchard and another in Tanjong Rhu. A warehouse is on the latter, which SDP intends to redevelop into a residential project in a few years.

The company has developed and sold several residential properties in Singapore, including the upmarket Balmoral Hills in District 10 and The Orion in the Orchard area. Apartments at the 46-unit The Orion, which SDP said was its flagship residential project in Singapore, sold for an average $2,500 per square foot (psf).

SDP also manages $470 million of property assets in Singapore. In the last financial year, its Singapore portfolio accounted for 15 per cent of the company's bottom line.

Malaysia, by far SDP's largest market, accounted for 80 per cent of earnings.

The company is in a strong position amid the current credit crunch, said Tunku Putra Badlishah, managing director of SDP's property division.

'In think that in Singapore, we are very fortunate,' he said. 'Our residential projects have all been completed and sold, and we were able to get premium prices for units.' SDP will now adopt a 'wait-and-see' approach in Singapore and look out for good deals.

But the credit crunch has hit the company in one way - rents for at least one property have come down. Mr Ang said leases for some tenants are being renewed at rents about 5 per cent lower.