IJM Land: Call us a property supermarket

IJM Land Bhd will rebrand itself this Thursday as a new corporate entity that aims to be a top tier local developer with geographically diversified projects in Malaysia.

The rebranding exercise comes as IJM Land has completed its rationalisation of IJM Properties into the former last Friday.

"With a streamlined and focused business now, we can call ourselves a property supermarket as we have high-end products in KLCC and low-cost products in other townships," IJM Land managing director Datuk Soam Heng Choon told Business Times in an interview.

IJM Land currently sits on an enlarged landbank of 4,253ha with a gross development value (GDV) of RM26 billion, after holding company IJM Corp Bhd combined property units RB Land Holdings Bhd and IJM Properties Sdn Bhd into one entity.

As a softening property market looms ahead, Soam said, IJM Land will focus on its positive markets such as Sandakan and Penang.

"In Sandakan, the market is still bullish as its driven by crude palm oil while in Penang, we are launching new projects like The Light which will propel us into bigger developments there," he said.

The Light development is divided into four phases including residential, commercial and mixed developments plus seafront facilities.

The first residential phase, the Light Linear and Light Point projects, will be launched by year-end. "This project will see a blend of the new and old Penang," said Soam.

For a challenging market like Johor Baru, Soam said, the company will work harder at selling units while tweaking its products to meet the current market needs. "We will focus on the medium to medium high-end markets and slow down on (developing new) mass housing projects under RM250,000," he added.

Soam said, to contend with rising material costs and a softening property market, IJM Land will target housing needs of specific market segments. "We are focusing on the Malaysia My Second Home programme and marketing our Penang Pearl Regency project overseas. We are doing a sales launch overseas targeting Koreans over the next two months and if the response is encouraging, we will then do this for our other products," he said.

On overseas development, its maiden project will be an upmarket residential and retail project in China's automotive city, Changchun, with a GDV of RM500 million.

"We are looking at other second tier cities in China while considering other emerging markets such as Vietnam. However, we have not set a timeframe," Soam said.

By Jeeva Arulampalam (Business Times)

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