KUALA LUMPUR: Pemodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) group chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar debunks sceptics on the potential acquisition of Phase 2 of the Battersea Power Station (BPS) project, stating that it has all the makings of a future hotspot for London.
“This is potentially the ‘future happening place’ in London,” he said in response to the joint announcement by PNB and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) of its plans to acquire ownership in Phase 2 of the project, known as ‘The Power Station Building’, which is the anchor project consisting mainly of retail and office spaces.
The EPF and PNB had also signed a Heads of Terms (HoT) with Battersea Phase 2 Holding Co Ltd to initiate preliminary negotiations to buy commercial assets in the project for an estimated £1.61 billion.
Wahid said PNB and the EPF will be buying the building upon completion with ready tenants and decent yield.
Among others, the main commercial BPS building includes a shopping mall and office that will be tenanted by tech giant Apple that has signed up for a 500,000 sq ft lot, he said.
As for the residential phase, known as Phase 1, he said it had already been completed with a sizeable profit.
The American Embassy, Wahid said, had also moved into the adjacent Nine Elms neighbourhood.
Wahid pointed out also the Thames water taxi service was already operational, while the Northern Line extension was under construction and that Battersea underground station will be in Zone 1.
“One should know (that) you can’t compare a derelict land and a developed real estate with good tenancy.
“The reference to 1,000 times the original price is mischievous.
“I believe the piece was propagated by some people in UK (United Kingdom) who are unhappy with the iconic Battersea Power Station regeneration being successfully developed by Malaysian consortium of Sime Property, SP Setia and EPF.
“There were other interested parties who wanted to buy the iconic building from the consortium developers but we wanted it as an investment,” he said.
Wahid reiterated it was a pure investment consideration initiated by the BPS Board and management team, PNB and EPF.
He stated that there was no connection to nor instructions from the Finance Ministry.
“We at PNB and EPF will always uphold the trust of our investors and contributors who are the people of Malaysia.”
In a joint statement, EPF and PNB too had dismissed claims there was government intervention and that the move was purely based on commercial consideration, in line with the funds’ diversification plan to actively expand their real estate and infrastructure assets globally.
“The EPF has been actively expanding its real estate and infrastructure assets both domestically and overseas to deliver long-term sustainable income for the benefit of its members.
“The proposed transaction is also in line with PNB’s Strategic STRIVE-15 Plan which outlines a long-term strategy of portfolio diversification and judicious expansion into global assets,” they noted.