(File pic) UEM Sunrise managing director and chief executive officer Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib. Pic by NSTP/Saifullizan Tamadi

DESARU, Johor: UEM Sunrise Bhd is optimistic that the property market will gradually rebound despite concerns among developers over the global economy and persistent sluggish performance in real estate.

UEM Sunrise managing director and chief executive officer Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib said the market would be recovering soon but for now, it is about consolidation.

“If I put myself as an observer, and not the CEO of this company, it (consolidation) should happen. We have too many (listed property players). I think there are about 100-plus.

“For example, within The Edge property awards this year, there are many (listed) real estate players there. The awards received over 50 submissions this year,” Anwar told reporters at a media familiarisation trips to UEM Sunrise’s The Maris project here last Friday.

Anwar said such consolidation is pertinent for industry sustainability.

“The good thing is that everybody is passionate (about) this industry and people are benefitting from it. We all benefit with beautiful townships, nice designs and so forth.

“All of these are good but sustainability is not there. The government should really look back before they can easily give Housing Developers Licence and Sale and Advertising Permit to a developer. Because if not, we will be killing each other eventually,” he said.

Anwar said sustainability will also play a significant role in the consolidation of the highly fragmented packaging industry, where smaller companies without sufficient scale and financial resources may look to join larger packaging outfits or risk being left behind.

“I don't have a nice figure on how many players we should have in the industry at this point of time. But, this is all a delicate balance because you know, one of the things people say is that we don't want the big institutions or the government-linked companies to crowd out the market. It will stifle entrepreneurship.

“We want to support the small companies to grow. Thus, it is finding that balance which I think only the policymakers can actually do that,” he said. 

He also said these collaborations can be best worked out when there is a proper amount of synergy between the two collaborating parties. 

According to Anwar, the success can be seen through the merger of UEM Land Holdings Bhd and Sunrise Bhd in late 2010 to become Malaysia’s largest property company then with a market capitalisation of nearly RM10 billion and a 12,000-acre landbank.

“UEM Land and Sunrise, we have done it well but it was not easy. We had to integrate the culture and it took us several years. I think only the last one or two years, we have seen real integration within the organisation. 

“It is just a simple things like working together, standardising operating procedures and trusting each other. It is a long process but at the strategic level, we have to be very clear that it makes sense and it does not limit the ability of that organisation to become agile and grow,” he added.

Anwar declined comment on rumours that UEM Sunrise and Eco World Development Group Bhd were merging. It was reported that UEM Sunrise might buy over Eco World in a share swap deal that could see the latter’s substantial shareholder Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin ending up with a 15 to 20 per cent stake in the former.

As a combined entity, it will have total landbank of 7,284ha with a potential gross development value of RM190 billion.