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Date : 18 Jun 2008
Title : Crest Builder order book at RM1.3b (Financial Daily)
KUALA LUMPUR: Construction and property player Crest Builder Holdings Bhd has seen its order increase to RM1.3 billion after securing about RM580 million worth of jobs so far this year, said its managing director Yong Soon Chow.

"We are still confident of the prospects of the construction industry and hope to secure at least one more deal by the end of this year, in addition to the RM100 million government project secured recently," he told reporters after its AGM here yesterday.

He said the order book included RM500 million in government jobs. Yong said the total gross development value of its projects stood at RM750 million, including the RM130 million Tiara Crest office block in Kelana Jaya. The groundwork for this project is expected to start next month.

Its Alam Hijau projects at phase one and two in Shah Alam were recently sold to Syarikat Perumahan Negara (SPN) for RM147 million and work on phase three is expected to start in the fourth quarter.

Yong said Crest Builder was looking at en bloc sale of Tiara Crest and had received good response from investors for its recently completed project, the 3 2 Square commercial centre in Petaling Jaya, with over 95% sold.

He said the company was retaining ownership of 3 2 Square's seven-storey corporate tower and parking lots for recurring rental income, which amounts to about RM500,000 per month currently but would add another RM300,000 monthly once the building was fully occupied.

Notwithstanding the fact that there would be lower margins from its projects in view of the soaring costs of raw materials and other related costs, Yong said the company was confident of coping with the challenges, with constant improvement in operational efficiencies and internal cost-cutting measures.

Yong added that the price of cement, for example, had increased by about 20% since the government announced the market liberalisation of the construction material recently.

"We have anticipated the price factor in our new projects this year, so we are anticipating higher margins from our future projects,"said Yong. The stock closed at RM1 yesterday, down one sen, with 31,500 shares traded.