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E&O, Mitsui to jointly develop properties in Malaysia [16-06-2011]  
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Lifestyle property developer Eastern & Oriental Bhd (E&O) and Japan's largest property developer Mitsui Fudosan Co Ltd are looking at opportunities to jointly develop residential properties in Malaysia and the region.

“This is a significant start,” said E&O deputy managing director Eric Chan after signing a marketing collaboration agreement with Mitsui Real Estate Sales Co Ltd, the real estate brokerage arm of Mitsui Fudosan.

Mitsui Fudosan is one of Japan's corporate giants whose parent company, Mitsui Group, goes back to the Edo period. Mitsui Fudosan is listed on the First Section of the Tokyo and Osaka Stock Exchange and as at March this year, its total assets stood at US$47bil.

“With a market cap of US$15bil, they are not here for the (brokerage) commission,” said Chan.

“There will be other collaborations later on. We have been looking at various opportunities in the (residential) development business. It can be in Malaysia, Singapore or Japan, but it is too early (to announce) anything right now,” he said.

Future joint residential developments may involve E&O's existing projects or may include new ones, but yesterday's marketing partnership was project specific, that is to sell St Mary Residences in Kuala Lumpur and the Quayside Seafront Resort Condominiums in Penang.

The partnership would last until everything was sold, said Chan.

E& O has several projects, the largest of which is the 980-acre seafront development Seri Tanjung PInang in Penang. The first phase comprising 240 acres has been completed. It also has pockets of land in Jalan Kia Peng and Jalan Yap Kwan Seng in Kuala Lumpur and 365 acres at Gertak Sanggul in Penang plus bungalow lots in Damansara Heights.

Chan said about 20% of its buyers for both its Seri Tanjung Pinang and St Mary Residences in Penang were foreigners, with British being the largest group and Japanese the second largest group.

The percentage of foreign buyers for its Kuala Lumpur properties is smaller.

Ishihara Shotaro, the managing director of Tropical Resort Lifestyle Sdn Bhd, a Japanese support company that will be facilitating the cross-border collaboration said the number of Japanese buyers was expected to grow after the March 11 tsunami and earthquake.

“They invest in properties priced between RM1.5mil and RM2mil with built-up of 700 to 1,500 sq ft. They have found that investing here has been pretty rewarding compared with their investments in Japan. In Singapore, property prices are very high. We see greater possibilities here. After the March 11 tragedy, they are also looking for a country with no natural disasters,” said Shotaro.

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