Johor Sultan buying stake for RM250m cash in Berjaya Times Square

PHOTO: Johor Sultan buying stake for RM250m cash in Berjaya Times Square

PETALING JAYA - Fresh from selling six plots of land in Johor Baru for a whopping RM4.5bil (S$1.7 billion), the Johor Sultan has entered into an agreement to buy a 20 per cent stake in Berjaya Times Square Sdn Bhd (BTS), which among others, owns the Berjaya Times Square Mall in Jalan Imbi, for RM250mil cash.

This is not the first investment the ruler of Johor has made in recent months, as he is seen to be picking up assets and emerging as shareholder in companies.

Yesterday, Berjaya Assets Bhd told Bursa Malaysia that it had inked an agreement to dispose of 150 million shares of RM1 each, or a 20 per cent equity stake, in BTS to Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar.

A unit of Berjaya Assets, BTS owns and manages Berjaya Times Square Mall which has a gross built-up area of 7.5 million sq ft on 4.05ha in Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur.

The building comprises a 12-level shopping mall, two 46-storey towers of serviced suites and hotel, five levels of basement and 10 floors of annexed carparks.

Besides that, BTS is also involved in the operations of carparks and theme park, and its other subsidiary owns and manages Berjaya Waterfront, Johor Baru (formerly known as The Zon in Johor) with properties spreading over 7.28ha of prime land in Johor.

Berjaya Assets said the sale allowed it to raise immediate cash and that the Sultan's entry into BTS would enable him to participate more actively in the future direction and developments of the BTS Group.

Berjaya Assets intends to use the proceeds for working capital and future investments.

Just over a week ago, China-based developer Guangzhou R&F Properties Co Ltd bought six plots of land totalling 47ha in Johor Baru from the Sultan for a whopping RM4.5bil or RM891 per sq ft. It is a record deal as just months earlier another developer from China, Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd, had bought 22.26ha in Danga Bay for RM376 per sq ft from another developer.

It is said the estimated sellable floor area of about 3.5 million sq m for the R&F deal worked out to a plot ratio of 7.5 times and that is seen as high, given that the land is worth about RM891 per sq ft.

In comparison the Danga Bay plot ratio is 5.22 times.

That aside, Berjaya Assets is part of Berjaya Group which is ultimately majority owned by Tan Sri Vincent Tan. He is a long time investor in REDtone International Bhd and in July bought more shares to raise his stake to 13.86 per cent, making him the second largest shareholder in the telco and WiFi infrastructure builder.

Earlier in May, the Johor Sultan ended with a 51 per cent equity stake in REDtone Network Sdn Bhd (RN) via a transaction with REDtone International, whose stake in RN has been reduced to 49 per cent from 70 per cent.

RN is one of the three companies that was shortlisted by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission in November last year for the digital terrestrial television broadcast (DTTB) infrastructure contract.