SP Setia is tops for the fourth year

The Top 10 developers of The Edge Top Property Developers Awards 2008 are names which are becoming increasingly familiar. Into their sixth year, the awards have become even more significant with the participation, for the first time, of non-listed builders. Already, a few of the non-listed entities have made their mark in the Top 10 and Top 30 rankings.

Staying at the top is S P Setia Bhd, holding the position for the fourth straight year. This developer affirmed its position even further by coming up tops in both the qualitative and quantitative sub-rankings (based on FY2007).

S P Setia had in its FY2007 ended Oct 31, achieved an all-time high profit after tax of RM260 million on the back of revenue totalling RM1.1 billion. The group sold 3,303 units of properties in 2007 with a total sales value of RM1.2 billion. It was active in acquiring land in Kuala Lumpur, Cyberjaya and Johor while its debut in Penang, with Setia Pearl Island, received positive response.

In June 2007, it went into a joint venture with Becamex IDC Corp, one of Vietnam's top conglomerates marking its first overseas foray to develop an eco-themed township 40km north of Ho Chi Minh City. Despite the present economic turmoil in Vietnam with inflation rates climbing and its currency depreciating, S P Setia has announced that it is forging ahead with the township project there.

IGB Corp Bhd, the developer of Mid Valley City in Kuala Lumpur, retained its overall second position for the third year. It emerged fourth in the qualitative sub-rankings with non-listed Bandar Utama City Corp Sdn Bhd causing an upset to take third place which was where IGB stood last year. As for the quantitative sub-rankings, IGB came in second to S P Setia, helped by the strongest shareholders' fund while maintaining a very healthy cash position. One of the highlights for IGB in FY2007 was the opening of The Gardens Mall in Mid Valley City.

Moving up the ladder into third place overall is Sunway City Bhd after being in fourth position since 2005. Sunway City is third in the quantitative but seventh in the qualitative sub-rankings. It also boasts the best cash position among all the Top 30 developers. The developer of Bandar Sunway has stamped its name in the high-end market as well and recently soft-launched one of its latest luxury highrise residences, Sunway Vivaldi in Mont'Kiara at a benchmark RM900 psf.

One of the largest developers in terms of landbank, Island & Peninsular Sdn Bhd (I&P), formerly Island & Peninsular Bhd, was voluntarily delisted in July last year following a corporate exercise. I&P moved up to fourth position from fifth. IOI Properties Bhd, which was third last year, slipped into the fifth spot. I&P improved its qualitative standings from 12th to 10th position while IOI fell from sixth to 11th.

Bandar Raya Developments Bhd (BRDB) rose to sixth placing this year from eighth last year. The developer of Troika, the Foster & Partners-designed highrise residence on Jalan Binjai near KLCC and One Menerung in Bangsar, improved both its qualitative and quantitative standings from seventh to fifth and from 10th to seventh place respectively.

Non-listed Bandar Utama City Corp Sdn Bhd, the developer under the See Hoy Chan Holdings Group which has made Bandar Utama in Petaling Jaya a household name, came in at a respectable seventh overall position on its debut at the awards. Its achievement is mainly due to its strong third position in the qualitative standings. This developer impressed judges with its qualitative attributes, especially in terms of value creation and image.

Sunrise Bhd jumped to eighth overall position from 10th last year while maintaining its No 2 position in the qualitative standings. According to its 2007 annual report, in FY2007 ended June 30, Sunrise achieved a 55% growth in revenue to RM558 million. Sunrise, known for its luxury condominium developments in the Mont'Kiara area had also during FY2007 successfully launched Mont'Kiara Banyan, Meridin, 10@Mont'Kiara and more phases at Solaris@Dutamas.

Last November, Sunrise soft-launched its most iconic condominium development to date, 11@Mont'Kiara at RM727 psf, and this has been 80% sold to date. More exciting days lie ahead for the developer, which recently made headlines with its acquisition of the 24-storey Wisma Angkasa Raya near the Petronas Twin Towers in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre. It paid RM179 million for the 69,171 sq ft site on which the building is situated, or an equivalent of RM2,588 psf.

E&O Property Development Bhd retained its ninth position although it must be noted that its qualitative ranking went up from ninth position overall to sixth while its quantitative rankings rose to 10th position from the 11th spot last year. Sales of its Seri Tanjung Pinang project on reclaimed land in Penang have been commendable. E & O was delisted voluntarily on Aug 8, marking the completion of a merger exercise between E & O Prop and Eastern & Oriental Bhd.

Boustead Properties Bhd, the creator of the very successful address of Mutiara Damansara, rounded off the Top 10 list. Boustead was also taken private the same day as E&O. (Note: Sime UEP Properties Bhd, which was ranked sixth last year, has since been delisted as well, following the merger of Sime Darby Bhd, Golden Hope Plantations Bhd and Kumpulan Guthrie Bhd in January 2007. The merged entity is now known as Sime Darby Bhd, with its own Sime Darby Property Division created through the integration of the property arms of the former Golden Hope Plantations Bhd, Kumpulan Guthrie Bhd and Sime Darby Bhd.)

We can expect keener competition as more non-listed property companies take part in the awards. Other non-listed or private-limited property players which made it to the Top 30 are Naza TTDI Sdn Bhd and WCT Land Sdn Bhd at 21st and 26th place respectively.

Other newcomers include listed companies Eastern & Oriental Bhd, United Malayan Land Bhd, Selangor Dredging Bhd and Mulpha Land Bhd. Meanwhile, Bolton Bhd returned to the Top 30 list after slipping out last year.

Mah Sing Bhd was among the most improved developers, boosted by its remarkable showing in the quantitative rankings by rising from 27th to 11th quantitatively while maintaining its 14th spot qualitatively. FY2007 saw Mah Sing recording double-digit growth in profit after tax for the fifth consecutive year. It registered RM81.13 million net profit attributable to shareholders, which is a 24% increase on the back of a revenue of RM573.37 million.

The Group sold its Grade A offices at benchmark prices to institutional investors in 2007, including The Icon Jalan Tun Razak, where The West Wing was sold to Koperasi Permodalan Felda Bhd for RM174.4 million, and the East Wing to Kuwait Finance House and Autron Corporation Ltd for RM255 million in July and November last year respectively. There was also the the en-bloc sale of The Icon Mont' Kiara to Kuwait Finance House and Autron Corporation Ltd for RM305 million in November 2007.

This is the sixth year of the awards. The ranking is based on quantitative and qualitative attributes based on the FY2007 results. Data on the quantitative attributes of listed companies in the property sector of the Main and Second Boards of Bursa Malaysia are based on published sources compiled by Interactive Data Systems Sdn Bhd, while non-listed companies were required to submit copies of signed audited accounts. The five quantitative attributes are: shareholders' funds, group pre-tax profit, revenue, gearing, and cash plus cash equivalents.

The qualitative attributes are product quality, innovation and creativity, value creation for buyers, image and expertise. The qualitative attributes were judged by industry experts and veteran property developers, namely, Datuk Alan Tong, Datuk Richard Fong, Datuk Jeffery Ng, Datuk Teo Chiang Kok, Kumar Tharmalingam, Datuk Eddy Chen and The Edge executive editor Au Foong Yee.

Five of the judges abstained in the deliberation and judging of companies in which they have direct or indirect interest (see "Awards Methodology" below). The results have been audited by Deloitte Kassim Chan.

By Sharon Kam (The Edge Daily)

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