8990 Holdings looking to bring expertise to Malaysia, Tanzania
Mass housing developer 8990 Holdings plans to foray into overseas markets, beginning with a big housing project in Malaysia and another venture in Tanzania, East Africa.
8990 Holdings president Januario Jesus Atencio said he met with the Malaysian conglomerate led by Prime Minister Najib Razak and top officials of Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional on the sidelines of the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit held in Manila.
Khazanah is one of 8990 Holdings’ cornerstone investors, having acquired an 8 percent stake last year when the local mass housing developer conducted a follow-on stocks offering. The Malaysian Prime Minister sits on the board of the fund.
“I committed one million units of low-cost affordable housing to Malaysia,” Atencio told reporters yesterday.
Khazanah has long broached to 8990 Holdings the idea of investing in the Malaysian mass housing development, but the commitment to build one million units was only made when Atencio met with the high-level Malaysian delegation during the Apec conference.
“I’ve said I’m willing to help,” Atencio said. “It’s all about the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nation) integration.”
During that meeting, Atencio said he told the Malaysian team that he would be more comfortable with a local partner.
Atencio said he would like to find out more about the regulatory environment, labor policy as well as pricing of construction materials in this Southeast Asian neighbor. The project will likely be “horizontal,” or subdivision-type development outside the capital city of Kuala Lumpur.
Aside from Malaysia, 8990 Holdings is likewise evaluating a housing project in Tanzania through a prospective partnership with a Singapore-listed company. The partnership has yet to be finalized but initial discussions point to the development of 50,000 to 100,000 housing units in a property controlled by the Singaporean firm in Tanzania.
Tanzania, which has a population of 50.8 million as of 2014, is the largest of the East African countries but one of the poorest countries in the world. It has a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of around $998 or about 35 percent of the Philippine’s. But Tanzania is also a tourist spot in Africa, with its rich wildlife and outdoor attractions like Mount Kilimanjaro, the Great Lakes, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park.
This January, Atencio said he would personally go to Tanzania to evaluate the project. If the deal materializes, part of the package was for the Singaporean company to come in as a minority investor in 8990 Holdings, which said was open to diversifying its shareholder base.