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06.08.2004 Business & Finance

Malaysia Firm in Ghana propety development deal

By .theedgedaily

Metro Ikram Sdn Bhd, a Malaysian company controlled by Tan Sri Halim Saad, has gone into property development in Ghana with a RM2 billion housing project. It will form a 50:50 joint venture company with the government of Ghana to finance and develop 100,000 houses there.

This is the second time the company has bagged a large-scale project overseas in two months. In June, it sealed a similar deal in Turkey to build 100,000 houses through a joint venture with the Turkey Mass Housing Administration.

The latest Ghana project could see Seloga Holdings Bhd, which is also controlled by Halim, being given the construction job.

Ghana's High Commissioner to Malaysia J Bentum-Williams said Seloga had indicated its “keen interest” to act as a contractor for the pilot project involving the construction of 2,000 homes in Accra, the capital of Ghana, which was scheduled to start by year-end.

He said Metro Ikram and the National Insurance Trust of Ghana (SSNIT) had signed a heads of agreement in late June, and would sign their JV deal soon after finalising the terms and conditions.

SSNIT is an agency of the government of Ghana and is the largest institutional investor in the country.

Speaking at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on August 5, Bentum-Williams said SSNIT would be responsible for the procurement of the primary infrastructure needed for the project.

For the construction of the other 98,000 homes, which would start next year, he said the financing would be raised from the international financial market.

“Metro Ikram has also committed to assisting in raising the necessary financing for the 98,000 homes at competitive interest rates,” he said.

Metro Ikram development director Md Anwar Mamood said the entire project would last for five to seven years, adding that prospects for residential properties in Ghana were good.

He said 50% of the houses to be built would be in the low-cost range, while the other 30% and 20% would be medium-cost and premium houses respectively.

He added that the company was still talking to Seloga and several other Malaysian construction companies regarding their involvement in building the first 2,000 homes.

Asked if Seloga might be appointed as a contractor for the other 98,000 homes, he replied: “It depends on Seloga's appetite. We may also include some local firms in Ghana for the project.”

In June, Halim increased his stake in Seloga from 11.6% to over 18% and subsequently became its chief executive officer. Many believe Halim is making a comeback to the corporate scene after his exit from the UEM Renong group three years ago.

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