BAssets looks to defend gaming business in Sarawak

: Berjaya Assets Bhd (BAssets), which is looking to defend its gaming business in curtailed by rampant illegal gaming activities, sees potential in the property investment and development segment, in particular with the development of reclaimed land in front of its Berjaya Waterfront property in Johor Baru.

Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun owns a 39.35% direct stake in BAssets, while Berjaya Corp Bhd owns an indirect 19.56% stake.

BAssets owns Berjaya Waterfront a free trade zone that sits on 14-acre land and the rights to reclaim 50 acres of seabed for development.

According to BAssets executive director Koh Huey Min, the company is awaiting planning approval for the area to be turned into a mixed development. Impact Assessment approval has already been secured.

She expects the area which is to have a , residential and commercial units and a hospital to be developed over a 10- to 15-year period.

Koh said a near-term target is to achieve 70% occupancy rate at the duty free zone, from 50% currently, by the end of year.

For Berjaya Times Square, she said it owns most of the prime floors where it can drive the footfalls in the mall.

“We’re in talks with one or two parties to monetise the Berjaya Times Square shoplots that we have,” said Koh.

BAssets’ property investment portfolio consists of Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur, Berjaya Waterfront in Johor Baru, Menara MSC Cyberport in Johor Baru and Islington on the Green in London. The segment contributed about 42% of revenue for the year ended June 30, 2016 (FY16).

BAssets’ gaming business in Sarawak licensed under Natural Avenue Sdn Bhd contributed 49% to revenue for the ended June 30, 2016.

Natural Avenue is the exclusive agent for Sarawak Turf Club’s Special Cash Sweep Number Forecast Lotteries. It operates, promotes and manages the 1+3D Big/Small, I-Cash and 3D Big Series games in Sarawak with three draws weekly. It has three regional offices and 74 outlets.

“We’re working closely with the state government and police to mitigate the illegal lottery component and we’re trying to stabilise the revenue. We believe things will improve,” Koh told a corporate briefing for fund managers, analysts and media yesterday, even as she acknowledged that its property investment and development segment, may well surpass contribution from gaming.

BAssets is reviewing whether it should take gaming out of BAssets in its effort to become syariah-compliant.

Another potential growth area for the company is its automotive segment, which came with the entry of Oriental Assemblers Sdn Bhd last June which is involved in vehicle assembly, manufacturing and sale of engines and transmission. The subsidiary is looking to announce a venture with a major Asian automotive brand in in six months.

Koh said it signed a non-disclosure agreement with the brand to represent it in Malaysia.

Source: The Sun Daily

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