LAST YEAR, a majority of Malaysian property developers struggled to stay afloat due to market uncertainties and weak demand from house buyers.
Many firms saw their profits dip by a meaningful amount and sold smaller projects with fewer units.
However, I-Berhad — the developer of i-City in Shah Alam, Selangor — again managed to weather the storm.
The property developer-cum-hospitality group held up well, making significant improvements in net profit and revenue for fiscal year 2017.
I-Berhad recorded a net profit of RM75.48 million on the back of RM465.1 million revenue last year, representing 13.27 and 21.25 per cent growth, respectively, over the previous corresponding year.
Public Investment Bank expects more to come from I-Berhad.
“The group’s earnings growth has been on a consistent and upward trajectory, with its strong fundamentals still largely unrecognised by the investment fraternity, which we believe
“We continue to like I-Berhad’s value proposition and attractive location in benefiting from the urbanisation of the outer Klang Valley region,” it said in its latest research note.
I-Berhad founder and executive chairman Tan Sri Lim Kim Hong told NST Property that the growth path for the group was only starting.
He hinted that I-Berhad could double in size in the next five years as the group signed on new local and international partners for its RM9 billion i-City development.
It has Hilton Worldwide Group and Central Pattana Plc on-board as strategic partners for i-City. This is to develop DoubleTree by Hilton and Central i-City Mall.
I-Berhad has grown fivefold since 2012 despite an increasingly challenging operating environment.
In fact, the 29.16ha i-City development had only 24 per cent of the approved gross floor area completed as at the end of last year.
This suggests that the remaining land for development at i-City is likely to contribute further to group revenue and net profit as it develops more residential, commercial and tourism products.
A light rail transit station at i-City would enable the transformation of the project into a transit-oriented development with a higher plot ratio for the balance of its development.
Lim said I-Berhad is planning to launch more luxury apartments in i-City to meet demand.
Its flagship luxury project, Hill10 Residence, launched less than a year ago is fully sold.
“Location and product price point is very important. Majority of those who bought units at Hill10 Residence were upgraders... people who want to be part of the i-City success story,” said Lim.
The successful take-up of Hill10 Residence at benchmark prices gives i-City great encouragement amid choruses of doubt over high-end high-rise properties.