Thursday, December 08, 2005

Metro Ikram's huge housing project in Indonesia, elsewhere

Malaysia's Metro Ikram Sdn. Bhd., a company controlled by businessman Tan Sri Halim Saad, Wednesday said it has launched the first phase of its affordable-housing project in Indonesia.
On Aug. 18, Metro Ikram and Perumnas, Indonesia's national urban development corporation, signed a deal to build about 100,000 affordable homes throughout Indonesia. The homes are targeted to be completed within a 10 year period. Metro established Indonesian subsidiary PT Metro Ikram Indonesia for that purpose.
Under the deal, Metro Ikram would finance the working capital, while Perumnas take care overhead costs. No explanation on how and why Perumnas chose Metro as its partner. Never heard of bidding process on this. But Metro Ikram's mode of operation is typical i.e. work with state-owned companies.
Early this year, Metro Ikram clinched another major deal to build 70,000 houses in Senegal with total sales of around US$2 billion in next to seven years. Pursuant to the agreement, Metro Ikram would have a 51% shares and the Senegal government at 49% in the JV company, La Pierre SA, to build affordable medium and premium cost homes.
Last year, it sealed similar multi-billion dollars JV deals to build 100,000 homes each in Turkey and Ghana. In Ghana, Metro is building houses on behalf of Ghana's Social Security.
Early this year, Metro Ikram proposed to construct 100,000 low-cost houses in Pakistan provided a local public sector entity joins hands as joint venture partner. Total project development cost is about US$2 billion.
How Metro Ikram would finance all of these projects?
Tan Sri Halim Saad is the former boss of the Malaysian equipment group Renong. His business empire includes some energy ventures.
In March 2005, Sterling signed a farm-out deal with Markmore Energy (L) Ltd, a private oil and gas company wholly owned by Tan Sri Halim Saad for the Dome Flore offshore petroleum license held by Sterling.
The Dome Flore block is located in West Africa, offshore Senegal and Guinea Bissau, in the area administered by the Agence de Gestion et de Cooperation (AGC). The Dome Flore block contains an estimated 800 million barrels of heavy oil in place. Thirteen wells have been drilled into the block, and several have penetrated 10-13 API heavy oil deposits, with thickness of 20-35 metres, in shallow Oligocene reservoirs.



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