Leveraging on its expertise in infrastructure works, Main-Board listed Ireka Corporation Berhad (Ireka) sees this as an opportune time to take the company into a new business area of urban transportation. In December 2017, Ireka signed a Share Subscription Agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding with CRRC Urban Traffic (Europe) Co Ltd (CRRC UT), a member of the China based CRRC Group to invest in Ireka and to establish a joint venture relationship between them.
CRRC Group is the world's largest manufacturer of rolling stock and rail related products and systems. Together, they are exploring business opportunities in urban traffic solutions across Malaysia and especially to upgrade the country's public transportation and infrastructure system. This important initiative provides a platform for both parties to leverage on each other's technical knowledge, expertise and experience; and also provides the ideal opportunity to diversify into the exciting new area of urban traffic solutions.
The CRRC Group already has a presence in Malaysia and is an active player in the country's rail industry through its supply of contracts for the LRT System, Express Rail Link and KTM Komuter. Ireka is ideally positioned to take on this new challenge because it has a fifty year track record in building a number of major national infrastructure projects from the North-South Highway, KLIA International Airport, Cheras-Kajang Highway and the most recent MRT1 Package V7.
On the property development front, Ireka's push to develop medium-end residential homes in Rimbun Kasia, Nilai in line with the national agenda for more affordable housing, has led it to enter into an agreement with Hankyu Hanshin Properties Corp ("Hankyu Hanshin"), one of the largest affordable housing developers in Japan, to jointly develop the project for the Nilai community and beyond. Hankyu Hanshin will take a 45% share in Meadowfield Sdn Bhd, whilst Ireka will hold the remaining 55%.
Osaka-based Hankyu Hanshin is a wholly-owned subsidiary of one of Japan's most prolific conglomerates, Hankyu Hanshin Holdings, Inc., with core businesses in real estate, urban transportation, entertainment and communications, travel, international transportation and hotels. The joint venture between Ireka and Hankyu Hanshin will initially focus on the development of Dwi@Rimbun Kasia project, consisting of 382 residential units (203 of them dual-key units) in a 9-storey block, and another parcel of land which will have 465 residential units in two blocks of 29 and 19-storeys developed on it.
These projects will have a combined Gross Development Value of over RM400 million. These properties will be developed under the zenZ brand, the sister brand to Ireka's iconic i-ZEN brand, and also leveraging off Hankyu Hanshin's highly successful Geo brand of properties. The Rimbun Kasia, Nilai development will be their first project in Malaysia.
The busy year for Ireka continues with its official launch in June 2018 of KaMi, Mont' Kiara, under its successful i-ZEN brand. This is in fact Ireka's eighth development in Mont' Kiara. The entirely Japanese-inspired development in this upscale locale features 168 apartments with a choice of sizes ranging from 840 sq. ft. to 1,600 sq. ft. and is expected to be completed in 2021.
Ireka owns a 23% stake in Aseana Properties Limited (ASPL)* and its prestigious current development, The RuMa Hotel and Residences in the heart of KLCC, is set to hand over before the end of the year. Plans are underway to launch KL's latest luxury hotel to be operated by renowned international luxury hotel operator, Urban Resort Concepts (URC).The RuMa Hotel is designed with plenty of character, offering specially-crafted furnishing details heavily anchored in Malaysia's rich heritage. The RuMa Hotel will push the capital's luxury hospitality offering to the next level.
"I am proud that Ireka has a good track record of delivering what we have promised to do and also in diversifying our operations. Over the last 50 years, we have successfully diversified and expanded from being in construction, to property development and to information technology. We are excited about diversifying into urban traffic solutions. I am also very proud that CRRC and Hankyu Hanshin, both of them financially strong partners, have selected Ireka as a trusted partner to grow their presence in Malaysia. This is part of our continued and committed strategy of bringing together lives and communities; and in fact our recent venture into urban transportation further enforces Ireka's contribution towards connecting lives. This is a very exciting phase in our Company's growth," says Datuk Lai Vooh Hon, Group MD, Ireka Corporation Berhad.
*Note: Aseana Properties Limited is a London-listed property developer initiated by Ireka in 2007, to undertake property development activities in Malaysia and Vietnam. Ireka's subsidiary, Ireka Development Management Sdn Bhd is the exclusive Development Manager.