|The road to the project VIUT of Berjaya at Tan Thoi Nhi commune, Hoc Mon, HCMC, photo Hong Son |
The Malaysian-backed Berjaya Vietnam International University Town LLC continues seeking permission to reduce land reserved for education and training and increase space for residential areas in its $3.5 billion township project located in the north-western urban area of Ho Chi Minh City.
In a report sent by Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee to the Ministry of Planning and Investment this January on reviewing foreign-invested projects in 2020, the committee claimed that this project has been delayed since 2008 and currently remains in the process of land compensation and clearance.
“The investor is proposing to revise this project to increase the space for residential areas while reducing that for education services,” the report said, without stating how exactly the developer wants to revise.
The representative of Berjaya in Vietnam meanwhile was not available for commenting when contacted by VIR.
With an area of more than 900 hectares, Berjaya aimed to develop an international university and residential area, consisting of primary, secondary, and high schools, as well as vocational training and universities.
Moreover, the original development plan also included commercial, entertainment, and leisure services, as well as healthcare and sports centres, gardens and an IT centre. The whole project was previously expected to accommodate 75,000 residents and function as a new township to help decentralise Ho Chi Minh City’s centre.
However, Deputy Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Vo Van Hoan previously warned that revising the proposal may impact to structure of land use of the whole north-western urban area. “This proposal is not appropriated as the current land is reserved for training and scientific research activities, which was allocated with more than 900ha following the master plan for the entire area which was approved by the prime minister in 2010,” according to Hoan.
At the same time, Hoan raised concerns that the revision may not be appropriate with the land use and population scale which was pointed out previously and already approved by the committee.
The new proposal meanwhile is now forwarded to the ministries of Planning and Investment and Construction to collect their opinions, before possibly receiving the final approval from the government.
In Malaysia, Berjaya is a large group; however, the business in Vietnam is not comparable to this. In 2018, the company was reported to transfer 97.9 per cent stakes of Berjaya Vietnam International University Town LLC to Vinhomes, the real estate arm of Vingroup, with a total value of VND11.7 trillion ($510 million).
During the same year, Berjaya transferred 32.5 per cent of its stakes in the Vietnam Financial Centre project to Vinhomes, which was valued at $39 million.
Licensed in 2008 with the total investment of $930 million, the Vietnam Financial Centre project is located in a 6.64-ha area in District 10 and constitutes a complex of high-rise buildings for different functions such as offices, a 5-star hotel, serviced apartments, and a shopping mall.
However, like with the university town project, this one has also been delayed due to difficulties in land clearance and compensation and the incapability of the Malaysian developer.
Apart from these two projects, Berjaya has been developing other projects and stakes in several other ones. As such, the company owns 75 per cent stakes in the D2D Industrial Urban Development JSC which is now developing the Bien Hoa City Square. With an investment capital sum of $230 million, this project consists of a 5-star hotel, the Bien Hoa City Mall, and the Topaz Twins and Amber Court residential towers.
Berjaya has also been involved in the hospitality sector with projects like Berjaya Long Beach hotel on Phu Quoc.
In the residential sector, Berjaya has acquired 80 per cent stakes of the Handico 12 joint venture to develop Garden City in Hanoi’s Long Bien district with the total investment capital of $500 million.
In finances, Berjaya is holding 49 per cent of SaigonBank Berjaya Securities JSC and is an investment partner of Vietlott.