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CORRECTED-Malaysia's Iskandar Waterfront targets $1.2 bln IPO in first half of 2021

(Corrects to say project was reinstated April last year, not 2020)

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Malaysian developer Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) is planning to list in the first half of 2021 to raise at least 5 billion ringgit ($1.2 billion) after getting the go-ahead to start work on a mega project, its executive vice chairman said.

A 1.24 billion ringgit deposit and advance payment completed on Tuesday fulfilled its initial contractual obligations to the government to allow the group and its partner China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC) to start work on Bandar Malaysia.

The mega-project on the fringe of Kuala Lumpur city centre was initially announced in 2011, scrapped in 2017 and reinstated in April last year.

IWH’s IPO plan has been contingent on the multi-billion city development project progressing, and after scrapping plans for a backdoor listing in 2017, it revived a plan to list on its own last year.

Executive Vice Chairman Lim Kang Hoo said in an interview that infrastructure construction and earthworks are planned for early next year.

IWH intends to submit its IPO application by the end of this year, and is targeting long-term institutional investors like pension funds, Lim said.

He said IWH is valued at 20 billion ringgit, based on valuations of more than 4,000 acres of land it owns in the south of the Malaysian peninsular. Plans are to raise a minimum 25% of that value in the listing.

“This is a fully asset-backed IPO. Buying one share is like buying one square foot of the land,” he said.

Lim said 3.7 billion ringgit of the proceeds will be used to clear debt incurred from acquiring 60% of the Bandar Malaysia project alongside CREC from the Ministry of Finance.

The project is suppose to serve as the terminus for a planned Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail link.

The company also plans to expand to other parts of Malaysia and in Southeast Asia.

IWH has appointed CIMB to lead its listing, while ICBC, Bank of China and CITIC are bookrunners, Lim said. ($1 = 4.1280 ringgit) (Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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