The company had earlier anticipated to launch the project last month, but delayed it due to weak market sentiment.

Chief executive officer Lim Yew Hoe, who only recently joined F&N, said the company was also taking the time to review the project to enhance its product offering.

“We have been looking at what products we, in this softening property market, could come up with that would provide comfort to buyers that they are buying into something that is really good. This is why we have to deliberate a little bit longer,” he told reporters at a briefing.

The project, called Fraser Square, is a joint venture with Singapore-based Frasers Centrepoint Ltd. It consists of five phases comprising 900 serviced apartment units on top of a shopping mall, small offices home offices, a corporate office and hotel components.

“We are a different kind of developer. We don’t have a property division with 500 people, we are quite lean,” Lim said.

He added that F&N was not in a hurry to launch the Section 13 project, and considers the land to be very valuable.

“We are not slowing down our construction. By the time we launch, hopefully, we would have done some work and the buyers would very clearly know what they are getting,” he said.

Chief financial officer Soon Wing Chong added that once the project commenced, it would be developed over a six-year period. “The land belongs to us, that is why we have a little bit of luxury in terms of timing our launch,” he said.

Meanwhile, Soon expects to keep revenue growth at “current levels” for the second half ending September 30, 2015, despite uncertainty in consumer spending following the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) in April.

He added that interest rate hikes by Bank Negara would also affect consumer sentiment.

On Tuesday, the company announced a 3.5% increase in net profit to RM70.49 million for the second quarter ended March 31, 2015.

Revenue was marginally higher at RM939.89 million against RM935.4 million in the same quarter a year ago. Soft drinks revenue saw a 11.8% decline despite Chinese New Year trade and promotional activities.

The company attributed its performance to the heavy pre-GST destocking by its distributors and retailers. However, Soon said F&N was already seeing some restocking activities and expected the destocking activity to reverse between April and June.

Dairies Malaysia also saw flat revenue during the quarter due to cautious spending. Sales recorded by Dairies Thailand were 15.6% higher due to increased outlets penetration, improved trade and consumer off-take, as well as a higher level of promotional and trade management activities.

For the first half, F&N saw net profit grow 2.6% to RM140.43 million against RM136.86 million in the previous year. Revenue was 4.9% higher at RM1.976 billion from RM1.883 billion in the first half in 2014.

– News source: The Star, 7 May 2015

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