Aspen calls off deal in Selangor, buys another site

Dato Murly A/L Manokharan, Executive Director, President and Group CEO of Aspen Group Holdings Limited signs on the IPO prospectus and speaks to media at News Centre, on July 19, 2017.
Dato Murly A/L Manokharan, Executive Director, President and Group CEO of Aspen Group Holdings Limited signs on the IPO prospectus and speaks to media at News Centre, on July 19, 2017. PHOTO: ASPEN (GROUP) HOLDINGS

Catalist-listed Aspen (Group) Holdings has halted the acquisition of two freehold plots in Selangor and is eyeing instead an adjacent site for RM66.7 million (S$21.6 million).

The vacant freehold parcel, which is part of a masterplan development by Malaysia's Tropicana real estate group, has been approved for two blocks of "small office, home office" units and serviced apartments, carpark space and retail lots. The gross development value of the project is pegged at RM500 million.

An Aspen subsidiary last week entered into a sale and purchase agreement for the 247,075 sq ft site, in Kajang township, about 30km from downtown Kuala Lumpur.

The move comes after Aspen decided to revoke an earlier sale and purchase agreement, also with the Tropicana Kajang Hill unit, for 814,042 sq ft of land across two parcels in the same district.

It will be refunded its 10 per cent deposit free of interest.

Wholly owned subsidiary Aspen Vision Realty had inked the RM10 million deal in August last year in the hopes of amending the planning permission for the land, which was approved to develop around 1,300 units of affordable housing.

Under the original conditions of the public housing scheme, the apartments' maximum selling price would have been capped in a range from RM42,000 to RM250,000. But Aspen wanted to both raise the maximum price to as much as RM400,000 and increase the development density of the land.

As it had yet to receive an update or approval from the authorities, it has decided that the proposed development is "not viable".

This has prompted its acquisition of the neighbouring site, which "will provide better flexibility for the company to develop according to its business model", the firm said.

Annabeth Leow

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2017, with the headline 'Aspen calls off deal in Selangor, buys another site'. Print Edition | Subscribe