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Friday February 15, 2013

Iskandar Waterfront IPO hopes to lock in some global property, investment names

By WONG WEI-SHEN
weishen.wong@thestar.com.my


PETALING JAYA: The impending mega initial public offering (IPO) of Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) is hoping to lock in some global names in the property and investment world as cornerstone investors, people familiar with the process told StarBiz.

Among possible candidates are Singapore's Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd as well as its associate company CapitaLand Ltd, one of Asia's largest real estate companies.

Also being wooed are Hong Kong investors in the likes of Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok and other players there.

The Kuok group has diverse business interests as well as a significant property division under Kerry Holdings Ltd that has projects in Hong Kong, Macau, China and Australia.

Aside from these, IWH is also wooing big funds in the United States such as BlackRock Inc and Franklin Templeton.

BlackRock is a fund-management company based in New York with more than US$3 trillion (RM9.27 trillion) under management. Investment firm Franklin Templeton is headquartered in California and has more than US$800bil worth of assets under management.

The IWH IPO, slated for a listing in the middle of this year, is set to raise close to RM1bil. However, some reports have indicated that the figure could be much higher.

Insiders also said that some familiar names from the list of IHH Healthcare Bhd investors may potentially emerge in IWH's listing as well, such as Vanguard Group Inc, Bank of New York Mellon Corp and Morgan Stanley.

Both the Employees Provident Fund and Khazanah Nasional Bhd have indirect stakes in IWH, held via Iskandar Investment Bhd.

IWH's vision is to create an international waterfront destination. It has some 1,619ha in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor, which comprises three main areas: Danga Bay, Johor Baru City Centre and Tebrau Coast.

IWH is 60% owned by tycoon Tan Sri Lim Kang Hoo via Credence Resources Sdn Bhd. The Johor government, through Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor, holds the remaining 40% stake.

However, sources told StarBiz that this structure could change in the process of readying IWH for its mega listing.

IWH's waterfront project will have a reported gross development value of about RM80bil. When completed, Iskandar Waterfront will be a waterfront city fronting Singapore.

The listing of IWH will see it joining about 10 master developers worldwide that are public listed, such as the Philippines' Ayala Corp and Japan's Mitsubishi Estate Co Ltd.

Some sceptics are questioning the attractiveness of IWH to investors on the basis that it is seen as a “one-project real estate company”.

On the other hand, bankers who are more bullish about the deal reckon that there are many reasons investors would be keen to have a slice of IWH. These include IWH land's proximity to land-starved Singapore and the high plot ratios that IWH has in comparison to companies like UEM Land Holdings Bhd.

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