Iskandar Investment Berhad sees opportunity during global economic downturn

United Arab Emirates: Monday, April 20 - 2009 @ 13:24

Three times the size of Singapore, Iskandar Malaysia spans over 2,217 sq km and is a mixed use development planned for completion in 2025.

The mega-development project has been in its planning and mobilization stages for the past two years and is now in its Catalytic Development stage. Iskandar Malaysia has nearly met its overall foreign direct invest target of $13bn for the phase ending in 2010.

To date, collectively amongst all players in Iskandar Malaysia, more than $11bn, or 92%, has been invested. Of this total, IIB’s Middle Eastern partners, Mubadala, Millennium, Kuwait Finance House and Aldar, have invested $1.2bn, or more than 10%, of the capital raised to date.

“Iskandar Investment Berhad believes that Iskandar Malaysia still remains as an extremely viable investment destination,” said Arlida Ariff, Managing Director of IIB.

“Despite the current economic downturn, there is still sound evidence of recent investor interest, from the likes of LEGOLAND and NUMed (Newcastle University of Medicine from the UK) as has been announced in recent months. Our view is also bolstered by the confidence felt by our partners in the Middle East and their significant investment made in IIB’s flagship mixed-use development, Medini Iskandar Malaysia,”

continued Ariff.

IIB has recently welcomed a new partner, Merlin Entertainments, in Dec 2008, to build the first LEGOLAND Park in East Asia, where the joint-investment amounts to more than $200m.

Additionally, EduCity and Iskandar, the integrated education hub for Iskandar Malaysia, has also recently tied up with a world-class partner, Newcastle University of Medicine from the UK, to build its first branch campus. The university has pledged more than $100m over 30 years to the development.

“We expect to capitalise on the exposure provided by the Cityscape platform to highlight our products and the competitive advantages of Iskandar Malaysia. IIB believes that Iskandar Malaysia has a myriad of opportunities to offer including its strategic location amidst Asia and also the flexible incentives provided to tend to each investors need,” added Arliff.

Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB) is an investment holding company which promotes and coordinates development to support Iskandar Malaysia. As a catalytic player in part of Iskandar Malaysia’s infrastructure projects, IIB’s primary goal is to seek world-class investors to bring best practice to the development.

It is the holding company’s vision to be the catalytic driver of the mega-project and achieves this by investing in selected strategic initiatives as well as through the contribution of land through sale, lease, granting of concessions or development rights.

Iskandar Malaysia is fully supported by the federal government of Malaysia which will be offering special incentives to investors such as tax breaks, ease of talent recruitment, lifted foreign ownership restrictions and business facilitated though a regulatory authority.

Located in the southernmost tip of the Malaysian peninsula, the new development is looking to build synergies with neighboring countries. Considering its proximity to such major transportation centers as Port of Tanjung Pelepas, Pasir Gudang Port, Singapore’s Changi Airport, and the local Senai Airport, Iskandar Malaysia is in the hub of ASEAN’s trade triangle and will effectively handle the anticipated trade boom resulting from the rapid and dynamic growth expected in the coming years.

Within easy reach of a growing market 3bn people strong, the region’s effective position geographically makes it strategically located as an international metropolis located at the cross-roads of East-West trade lanes and midway between two market giants little affected by the global downturn, India and China.

Iskandar Malaysia aims to be a sustainable region of international standard. A beacon of new growth, Iskandar Malaysia will spur economic developments that actuate Malaysia’s global potential, recognizing the need to address sustainable development, social and environmental issues.

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Monday, April 20- 2009 @ 13:24 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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