January 29, 2007, 1.45 pm (Singapore time)

CapitaLand says projects not hit by higher sand costs

SINGAPORE - CapitaLand, South-east Asia's biggest property firm, said on Monday that its business had not been hit by higher sand costs after Indonesia last week banned sand exports to Singapore.

Singapore is among the biggest importers of Indonesian sand, once used for land reclamation and now in strong demand as Singapore's construction industry recovers after years in the doldrums.

'Over the past couple of years we had anticipated that construction cost would rise. In addition, we had also earlier sealed the construction contracts for all our ongoing projects,' Patricia Chia, chief executive of CapitaLand Residential Singapore, said in a presentation to journalists.

Neighbouring Indonesia has banned all sand exports, citing environmental concerns and the need to protect its borders.

The Singapore Government said it does not expect the ban to have a significant impact on the construction sector thanks to other suppliers.

CapitaLand plans to launch 1,000 to 1,200 residential units this year, after selling 954 units worth $1.23 billion (US$800 million) last year, Ms Chia said. The firm sold 882 units worth $1.09 billion in 2005. -- REUTERS