KUALA LUMPUR: The world-renowned Harrods department store has set its eyes on Malaysia as the site of a Harrods Hotel.
An invite sent to the media said Qatar Holding LLC would be signing a memorandum of understanding with Jerantas Sdn Bhd today to explore Malaysia, specifically Bukit Bintang, as the ideal site for the next Harrods Hotel development.
According to sources, Qatar Holdings will be working with Tradewinds Corp Bhd (TCB) on the venture.
TCB holds the franchise for the Harrods retail stores in Malaysia and had indicated as early as 2008 in its annual report that it could collaborate with Harrods in future residential, commercial and hotel projects, especially in Kuala Lumpur.
According to a source, there is also a possibility of Harrods Residences opening together with the Harrods Hotel.
“The Harrods Residences will be sold at a higher price than The Banyan Tree Residences,” the source said.
In September last year, the then Kuala Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail revealed that a consortium of three developers was proposing to build the Harrods Hotel.
Apart from Qatar Holding and TCB, sources identified the third interested party as Datuk Desmond Lim.
Qatar Holding and Lim both are the major unitholders of the Pavilion Real Estate Investment Trusts.
Ahmad Fuad had at the time identified a piece of land in Jalan Conlay near Restaurant Seri Melayu as a suitable site for the hotel.
The restaurant, which is owned by Amcorp Group Bhd, sits on land that is leased from Lembaga Kraftangan Malaysia.
Lembaga Kraftangan comes under the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry and acts as the custodian for the Federal Lands Commissioner.
It is understood that the government had put out a tender for the sale of the said land.
It also understood that Lim owns the lease on the strip of land where the Chulan Square restaurants are located.
The signing of the MoU, to be held at the Pavilion Mall, here, will be attended by Qatar Holding vice-chairman Dr Hussain Ali Al-Abdulla and Jerantas corporate representative Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Ismail.
A search on the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) revealed that Jerantas' main shareholders are PS Trading Sdn Bhd (33.99 per cent), Gagasan Simfoni Sdn Bhd (65.99 per cent), with Saharuddin Abdullah and Sumami Kiman each holding one share.
The directors of the company, appointed in March 2012, include Datuk Manan Md Said, Raja Sa'adi Raja Amrin and Shaharul Farez Hassan. Shaharul is group chief executive officer of TCB.
Manan and Raja Sa'adi have an equal share in Gagasan Simfoni and are directors of the company.
The Harrods department store in Knightbridge, London, was sold in 2010 by Mohammed Al Fayed to the Qatari royal family's investment firm Qatar Holding, which is also the investment arm of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).
It was reported previously that a Harrods Hotel was planned on the rooftop of the department store. The status of this project is unknown.
-- BUSINESS TIMES