Naim plans industrialised building system plant

KUCHING: Property developer Naim Holdings Bhd will invest some RM30mil in an industrialised building system (IBS) plant in Miri, Sarawak.

The project is part of its plan to accelerate the development of affordable and intelligent houses in major towns, according to group managing director Datuk Hasmi Hasnan (pic).

He said Naim would use technology from an established China IBS manufacturer in setting up the plant, which is expected to be operational early next year.

The Chinese firm, which has a representative office in Kuala Lumpur, has already marketed its IBS products in Malaysia.

Once operational, he said the plant would enable the company to fast-manufacture standard and quality building components in a less labour-intensive way.

“Funding for the IBS plant project will come from part of the proceeds from the sales of our industrial land in Bintulu, ” Hasmi told StarBiz.

On July 17, Naim’s wholly-owned subsidiary Petrochemical Hub Sdn Bhd inked a sales and purchase agreement with Sarawak Economic Development Corp to dispose of two parcels of vacant land measuring about 405.6 hectares in Kidurong Industrial Estate for RM340mil cash.

Naim is expected to make a gain of RM115.81mil from the land disposal. Naim will utilise the money to reduce its bank borrowings, for dividend payment and working capital.

Hasmi said with its own supply of IBS (prefabricated) components, Naim could go into the development of affordable housing in a bigger way, with the target of constructing 2,500 houses in five years, mainly in Miri and Kuching.

“We will price these new affordable houses around RM300,000 each, ” he said, adding that there is strong demand for such houses despite the current soft property market.

Naim has a land bank of some 1,567 acres in Sarawak: Miri (857 acres), Kuching and Kota Samarahan (578 acres) and Bintulu (132 acres). Most of the land are acquired 20 to 25 years ago.

Hasmi said Naim, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, has completed some 23,000 residential and commercial properties in Sarawak’s major towns. The company’s landmark development – Naim Bandar Baru Permyjaya in Miri – is now home to about 20% of Miri population.

Currently, Naim has two ongoing flagship property projects – Kuching Paragon and Bintulu Paragon integrated development.

The Kuching Paragon’s Phase 1 project features “Sapphire on The Park” high-rise condominium. There are three towers, which would house a total of 427 units.

According to Hasmi, more than 80% of the units in the completed first tower have been sold while the second and third towers are in advanced construction stage.

Under the Bintulu Paragon project, Naim has recently completed the 34-storey condominium, Sarawak tallest, with about 60% of its 261 units taken up by house owners.

“For the unsold units, we may rent them out as there are a lot of enquiries from international firms implementing big projects in Bintulu, ” said Hasmi.

Bintulu is expecting another inflow of expatriates and workers with the implementation of mega projects, including the multi-billion-ringgit methanol plant and Wenan steel plant. The state-owned methanol project is under construction for scheduled commissioning in 2023.

The Wenan steel plant project that involved Chinese investors will be the region’s biggest steel mill with a production capacity of 10 million tonnes per annum.

The Sarawak government is planning the development of a petrochemical hub in Bintulu, which, according to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, is expected to create some 74,000 jobs and could potentially contribute additional RM16bil to RM20bil per annum to the state’s gross domestic product when fully operational.

The Sarawak State Planning Unit is currently undertaking a joint study with Petroliam Nasional Bhd on the formulation of the petrochemical hub masterplan.