Inta Bina bids for Forest City contract

Inta Bina Group Bhd, the building contractor was formed in 1987 as a family business, and became an indirect 60%-owned subsidiary of PJ Development Holdings Bhd in 1997, when the region was in the throes of the Asian financial crisis.

From residential projects with a contract value of below RM1 million, Inta Bina  now takes on large-scale projects worth some RM200 million.

Group managing director Paul Lim Ooi Joo and deputy managing director Teo Hock Choon spearhead Inta Bina, and The Edge reports that  Lim says Inta Bina is now looking to become one of the main contractors for Forest City — the multibillion-ringgit project developed by Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd in Johor.

“Country Garden recently approached us to tender for their bungalow projects in Forest City. If we win the bid, they will be the first international client in our corporate history,” he said to the publication.

The contract to build bungalows and landed villas near the golf course in Forest City is worth over RM300 million in total, and will be divided into three packages, with each package being worth about RM100 million.

“Different packages may have different main contractors. We don’t know how many bidders there are, and we don’t want to speculate about our chances. But obviously, anyone who made a submission before the deadline stands a chance to win,” says Lim.

Inta Bina submitted a tender last month, and the outcome will be revealed mid-April, says Lim.

“Country Garden has had a few rounds of interviews with us. They visited our landed and high-rise projects in Johor and the Klang Valley. So far, they are very impressed with our quality,” Lim said to the publication.

Inta Bina has completed over 110 building construction projects with a total contract value of more than RM2 billion, mainly in the Klang Valley and Johor.

Following headlines last year, when Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia would not allow foreigners to buy residential units in the Forest City project, which was then clarified by the Prime Minister’s Office that the purchase of a property did not guarantee automatic residency in Malaysia, Country Garden decided to engage more with local main contractors instead of state-owned ones from mainland China.

“To me, it is a positive move to localise the main contractors. Previously, there was no level playing field. If you visit Forest City, you would be ‘frightened’ by them. The amount of money they pour in as well as how fast they build high-rise buildings,” Lim said.

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“We can learn a lot from Country Garden. We want to know why the Chinese firms are so good in the world right now. They are very fast, they are very hardworking, they can see very far, they are the real deal.”

Should Inta Bina garner a contract from Country Garden, the aim is to take on as many functions as it it able to, but will likely appoint local subcontractors for specialised works, such as mechanical and electrical, plumbing and painting.

In the financial year ended Dec 31, 2018, Inta Bina’s revenue grew a third to RM383.05 million from RM288.59 million a year ago, mainly due to the higher value and number of residential and non-residential projects completed.

Gross profit increased by 23% to RM39.52 million and net profit by 34% to RM21.2 million.

Lim says Inta Bina aims to achieve double-digit revenue and profit growth in FY2019 as it hopes to secure at least RM400 million worth of new job orders this year. “We are optimistic of the company’s performance in 2019 as we still had an unbilled order book of about RM650 million as at Dec 31, 2018. Last year alone, we secured about RM470 million of new projects.”

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