Berjaya’s $3.5 billion project in second city faces possible revocation

August 16, 2016 | 09:24
The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has just requested the city’s Department of Planning and Investment to review Berjaya Corporation Bhd.’s Vietnam International University Township (VIUT) project in the northwest urban area.

Accordingly, the department has to either resolve any difficulties that the Malaysian company is having in implementing this project or revoke the investment certificate.

The project, which received its certificate in July 2008, is located at Tan Thoi Nhi commune in Hoc Mon district. It has an area of 925 hectares and investment capital of $3.5 billion.

According to design, Berjaya is going to set aside 100 hectares for a university. The township is going to have 20 schools offering education from kindergarten to high school. The remaining 15-hectare area is going to be a multi-purpose complex with a commercial area, residential area, administrative and cultural area, and a healthcare centre that will operate in conjunction with the university, as well as a gym and a park.

Ten years after receiving the investment certificate, the project is still a field of grass. At the point of receiving the certificate in 2008, VIUT was the largest foreign direct investment project in Ho Chi Minh City. The city authorities placed a lot of hope on the project, giving credit to Berjaya’s renown as a big real estate developer.

The northwest urban area is 19 kilometres from the centre of Ho Chi Minh City. Recently, the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee asked the Department of Transport to list out roads that need to be built in order to call for investors for construction under the Build-Operate-Transfer format, offering payment in land to the investors.

In Vietnam, Berjaya has a series of real estate projects that came along slowly after receiving their investment certificates. Besides VUIT, there is Vietnam Financial Centre, also in Ho Chi Minh City. In 2013, the authorities of the southern province of Dong Nai revoked Berjaya’s investment certificate for the Nhon Trach New City Centre project because the company failed to start implementation. In addition, sales were lacklustre at the Bien Hoa City Square apartment complex in Dong Nai, and Hanoi Garden City urban area in Hanoi.

Last month, Berjaya, through its subsidiary Berjaya Gia Thinh Investment (Berjaya GTI), launched the first phase of its Vietnamese lottery business. Berjaya is the first foreign investor to tap into Vietnam’s lottery market.

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By By Ha Duy

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