USI Holdings and its parent Wing Tai Group of Singapore plan to strengthen their property interests in Hong Kong with a bid for the latest MTR property project on offer. Fred Ng Tak-wai, chief operating officer of USI Holdings, said they were teaming up with other companies to compete for the second-phase residential development in the Kowloon Station. He said the make-up of the consortium was similar to that which bid successfully for the first-phase development in Kowloon Station. But Lai Sun Development, which was in the previous consortium, would not be included. USI and Wing Tai will lead the consortium. The first-phase development in Kowloon Station was awarded last year to a consortium dominated by Singapore companies, including Wing Tai Holdings, USI Holdings, Temasek Holdings, Singapore Land and Straits Steamship Land. Mr Ng said USI would be more aggressive in property development in the territory as the profit margin for property was higher than for its garment operation. He said the group had up to 300,000 square feet of land bank. He expected property sales to contribute revenue to the group next year. A 50-50 joint venture with Lai Sun Development in a Shamshuipo residential project was expected to be launched for pre-sale by the end of the year. The project could generate a gross floor area of 52,419 sq ft but he declined to disclose the development cost. The company was also planning to enlarge the development area of another site in Kowloon City, in which it had a 25 per cent stake, through acquiring adjacent properties, he said. The balance was held by Lai Sun Development. He believed the site would benefit from a potential lifting of building height restrictions after the closure of Kai Tak international airport. At the same time, the company was trying to expand another joint-venture residential project with Sun Hung Kai Properties at Po Shan Road, Mid-Levels, and negotiations with the Government to increase the site's plot ratio were under way. He said USI had a 15 per cent stake in the project while Sun Hung Kai Properties held the balance.